Q:What is the policy change?
The National Board the eligibility requirements to begin the process of National Board Certification. Beginning with the 2022-23 assessment cycle, educators interested in the Board certification may begin the Board certification process before completing three (3) years of successful teaching (or counseling for the School Counseling certificate area). While this change allows candidates to begin the process earlier, educators must complete three years of teaching employment by June 30th of the third year of candidacy to be eligible to become Board-certified.
Q:Why did the policy change?
The Eligibility Policy Change impacts the requirements educators must meet to start their National Board journey. This policy opens access and removes barriers to educators by allowing them to begin the process of Board certification before completing three (3) years of successful teaching.
We’re turning our attention to how we can be responsive to the changing demographics of the teaching profession, as the average years of experience teachers have trended lower, by creating opportunities for them to begin their pursuit of Board certification earlier in their careers. We’ve found that better-supported early career teachers (ECTs) mean increased retention, which means more experienced and effective teachers working with students.
This is our effort to provide states with more options for educators on their Board certification journey–one being the traditional route (completing three (3) years of teaching experience before they begin their journey) and the new route (starting before they complete three (3) years of teaching).
Q:What did not change?
National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education and remains the profession’s way to identify accomplished teachers.
The National Board believes that any teacher should be able to begin demonstrating accomplished practice as soon as they can. While the policy update changes how many years of experience a teacher must have before they begin, the following aspects of National Board Certification are not changing:
- All candidates for National Board Certification must still possess a bachelor’s degree and a valid state teaching license prior to registering in their first cycle and purchasing their first component(s) (see here for definitions and exceptions for Career and Technical Education and School Counseling certificate areas).
- The Five Core Propositions, Standards, and Architecture of Accomplished Teaching remain and will always describe accomplished practice.
- The components for certification and Maintenance of Certification are not changing due to this eligibility requirement change.
- The scoring process remains the same. Candidate submissions are evaluated against the standards-based rubrics alone; years of experience are not considered.
- Completing National Board Certification may take anywhere from one to five years, depending on your approach. The rules in the Guide to National Board Certification will still apply, for example:
- You must still attempt each of the four components within the first three years of your candidacy.
- You will still have a five-year window to achieve certification.
- You will still have up to two retake attempts for each component.
Q:What are the eligibility requirements to start the Board Certification process?
To be eligible to achieve National Board Certification, you must meet the education, licensure, and employment requirements described below. If you are a candidate in World Languages, you must also meet the language proficiency requirement.
The guidelines for meeting eligibility for candidacy are described in the Guide to National Board Certification. However, teaching situations across the country vary widely, and the rules may not address your particular circumstances. Please contact Customer Support for assistance if you are unsure whether you meet the eligibility requirements. The score requirements for achieving National Board Certification are in the Scoring Guide.
The chart below provides the certification eligibility requirements for beginning the National Board Certification process and when each requirement must be met.
|Eligibility Requirement||Timeline for Meeting Requirement|
|Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. (Candidates for the Career and Technical Education certificate are required to hold a bachelor’s degree only if their state required one for their current license.)||Before a candidate registers and purchases their first component for National Board Certification.|
|Candidates must hold a valid state teaching license or meet the licensure requirements established by their state.||Before a candidate registers and purchases their first component for National Board Certification.
Note: A candidate must also hold a valid license for each of the three years they verify towards the employment requirement.
|Candidates must have successfully completed three years of teaching at one or more early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary schools to achieve Board certification. (Applicants for ECYA/School Counseling must have successfully completed three years serving as a school counselor.)||No later than June 30 of a candidate’s third year of candidacy. *This requirement must be met for a candidate to be eligible to achieve certification.
When a candidate meets the score requirements and all eligibility requirements, including the teaching employment requirement (if not already met), the candidate will achieve National Board certification.
|World Language candidates: ACTFL language proficiency requirement.||No later than June 30 of the assessment cycle in which a candidate completes initial testing on all four National Board components. When a candidate meets the ACTFL and score requirements and the teaching employment requirement (if not already met), the candidate will achieve National Board certification.|
Q:Why do I need three (3) years of teaching or counseling experience (depending on the certificate area) to become certified?
All requirements for National Board Certification are integral to the National Board’s standard of accomplished practice. Requiring three years of successful teaching or counseling helps to ensure all candidates possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions associated with effective teaching and experience over time as defined by the standards in each certificate area.
Q:How do I determine my years of employment? Does substitute and part-time teaching count toward the three-year requirement?
Part-time and long-term substitute teaching do count towards the three-year employment requirement. To calculate your actual years of employment, please refer to the instructions located on page three of the Eligibility Verification Forms and Instructions.
Q:I teach overseas. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. Visit our Candidate Center section and review the Guide to National Board Certification; download the Eligibility Verification Forms to see if you meet the education, employment, and licensure requirements. Please note that the computer-based assessment (Component 1) is only administered in the United States, some U.S. Territories, and Puerto Rico.
Q:I haven’t completed three (3) full years of teaching. Am I eligible to begin the certification process and start taking components?
Teachers with bachelor’s degrees and a valid state teaching or school counseling license may begin the certification process before completing three years of full-time teaching/counseling. (NOTE: Candidates for the Career and Technical Education certificate must hold a bachelor’s degree only if their state requires one for their current license).
Q:When will I need to have met the three (3) years of employment requirement?
You must have met the three-year employment requirement by June 30 of your third year of National Board candidacy. If you don’t meet the three (3) years of employment requirement by that date, you will not be eligible to certify.
Q:I am already an active candidate who has registered and purchased component(s). Will I have to resubmit forms [or something along those lines]?
No. If you are already a candidate who has registered and purchased components, this policy change will not affect you.
FAQ from Program and Policy Leaders
Q:What are the implications for our candidate support program?
While this policy change is open to all educators, you have the autonomy to decide what is best for your program and the candidates you support. We encourage you to consider the following questions:
- Do you want to retain or change your current programs?
- Do you have the ability to change your programs this year?
- Do you have the ability to change your programs but need more time to do so?
What other stakeholders may be important to share this message with?
Q:Our local policies or regulations require educators to have three (3) years of experience to receive funding or support. What are the implications for our local policies?
While this policy change is open to all educators, you have the autonomy to decide what is best for your local context. We encourage you to consider the following questions:
Do you want to retain or change your current policies?
- Do you have the ability to change your policies this year?
- Do you have the ability to change your policies but need more time to do so?
- What other stakeholders may be important to share this message with?
Q:Does a candidate with 1-2 years of experience who submits all four components and meets all the score requirements need to wait until they have three (3) years of experience to achieve Board certification?
Yes. A candidate must meet all eligibility and scoring requirements, including the three-year employment requirement, by June 30 of their third year of candidacy in order to be eligible to achieve National Board Certification. Requiring three years of successful teaching or counseling helps to ensure all candidates possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions associated with effective teaching and experience over time as defined by the standards in each certificate area.
Q:Are there additional audits in place for teachers who begin the process with fewer than three full years of teaching employment?
The National Board routinely audits first-time candidate records and requests proof of meeting eligibility requirements. Teachers who begin candidacy prior to completing three (3) years of successful teaching or counseling will be subject to the same audits. Still, instead of being audited for all eligibility requirements simultaneously, they will be eligible for audit twice: Upon first-time registration and component purchase for their education and license eligibility and again upon attesting to having completed three (3) years of employment. A detailed explanation of audit procedures can be found in the Guide to National Board Certification.
Q:Do the new policy changes allow alternatively-licensed teachers to begin the Certification process before satisfying the requirements to earn a teaching license?
All candidates for National Board Certification must still possess a bachelor’s degree and a valid state teaching license prior to registering in their first cycle and purchasing their first component(s) (see here for definitions and exceptions for Career and Technical Education and School Counseling certificate areas). You can review a list of acceptable licenses here.
Q:For candidates who submit all four components during their first or second year of teaching and meet all three (3) score requirements, will that candidate pay the $75 candidate fee each year until they can attest to having completed three (3) years of teaching or school counseling employment? When will the candidate be notified of score and NBCT status?
Candidates only need to pay the $75 registration fee during the cycles they are submitting components. All candidates will receive certification decisions on score release day.
Q:What support will we receive to track early career teacher data?
The National Board team will adjust NB Connect to support that need. We will add reports for early career teachers.