BECOMING A NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED TEACHER

 In Teacher Certification

If you want to earn the highest level of teacher certification, you should consider ‘National Board Certification’. We researched all the details and put together this simple overview to tell you about how to get this certification and how it can help you in your teaching career.

What is National Board Teacher Certification?

In 1987, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was created to address ‘accomplished teaching’. Their mission was to improve the quality of teaching and learning by:

  • Maintaining high standards for what accomplished teachers should know and do
  • Providing a national voluntary system that certifies teachers who meet the standards
  • Advocating education reforms to integrate National Board Certification into American education

These standards are based on 5 core propositions about what teachers should know and do.

  1. Commit to your students and their learning.
  2. Know your subject matter and how to teach it to students.
  3. Manage and monitor your students’ learning.
  4. Think systematically about your teaching and learn from experience.
  5. Participate in your learning community.

Who is eligible for this certification?

Teachers with . . .

  • a 4 year degree from an accredited institution
  • a minimum of 3 years of teaching experience
  • a teaching license/teaching certification, if required in that state

What are the requirements of this certification?

Component 1: Content Knowledge

This is a computer-based assessment to demonstrate your understanding of knowledge and pedagogical practices in teaching your content area.

Component 2: Differentiation in Instruction

This is the portion of your portfolio in which you gather and analyze information about individual students’ strengths and needs and use that information to design and implement instruction (work samples with commentary).

Component 3: Teaching Practice and Learning Environment

This is the portion of your portfolio that requires video recordings of interactions between you and your students (written commentary with your descriptions, analyses and reflections).

Component 4: Effective and Reflective Practitioner

This is the portion of your portfolio that requires demonstration of your ability to develop and apply knowledge of your students, your use of assessments to plan, to impact your students’ learning and to collaborate.

In what subject areas and age groups can you get National Board Certified?

There are 25 possible certifications across 4 developmental levels and 16 areas of study.

Developmental Levels (some ages overlap)
  1. Early Childhood (3-8)
  2. Middle Childhood (7-12)
  3. Early Adolescence (11-15)
  4. Adolescence through Young Adulthood (14-18+)
Subject Areas
Art (3-18)
Career/Technical Education (11-18)
English as a New Language (3-18)
English/Language Arts (11-18)
Exceptional Needs (3-18)
Generalist (3-12)
Health Education (11-18)
Library Media (3-18)
Literacy: Reading/Language Arts (3-12)
Mathematics (11-18)
Music (3-18)
Physical Education (3-18)
School Counseling (3-18)
Science (11-18)
Social Studies/History (11-18)
World Language (11-18)

What is the time and cost to become National Board Certified?

The total cost is $1900 ($475 per each of the 4 components). You can pay as you go and the timeline for completion is 1 to 3 years. In some cases, the timeline can extend up to 5 years. The National Board Teacher Certification must be renewed every 10 years.

Why should you become a National Board Certified Teacher?

  • You will become a better teacher and your students will learn more.
  • Your district may pay for all or part of the certification cost.
  • National Board Certified teachers often receive a salary increase, stipend, bonus or scholarship.
  • This certification may contribute toward continuing education and/or graduate-level credits.
  • You will be eligible to teach in many other states, without going through reciprocity procedures.
  • National Board Certification opens doors to leadership and prestigious teaching positions.
  • You may be exempt from having to periodially renew your state license.
  • You demonstrate a commitment to excellence and may receive local, state and national recognition.
  • You may participate in NBTC conferences, publications and other training opportunities.


“I taught for a long time and wanted to fine tune my teaching craft. The videotape that you have to do is revealing and you see yourself in a different light. You have to be ready to take the heat. It made me identify things in my teaching that needed tweaking. It took me the better part of a school year and I had to pay all up front, which may be different now. My school district gave me some money to help defray the cost and sent me to the Governor’s Mansion for a recognition reception. My best advice is to make sure you have a growth mindset, tough skin and take the feedback the right way. I became a better teacher and made sure my students were learning to their maximum capacity.”

-Dr. Sarah Miller, National Board Certified Teacher

It takes time and financial planning to become a National Board Certified teacher. Many teachers feel that it is well worth the effort and will make you a rock star teacher for your students.
Check out the state map to see the percentages of teachers who have achieved this gold standard!

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