Recognizing the many demands on teachers’ time, the certification process is designed to be flexible, efficient and affordable. Get certified and take your teaching career to the next level.
National Board Certification is available in 25 certificate areas representing 16 different disciplines and four developmental levels and is applicable to most teachers in U.S. public schools.
To become a Board-certified teacher, eligible candidates must demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and practice in their individual certificate area by completing four components: three portfolio entries and a computer-based assessment.
Throughout the certification process, teachers will be able to apply the National Board Standards to their classroom practice and connect with other teachers pursuing certification.
Review Standards and Certificate Areas
The standards for all Board certification areas are founded on the Five Core Propositions that represent a professional consensus on the unique aspects of practice that distinguish accomplished teachers. Candidates should view the available certificate areas and then select a certificate area associated with their classroom specialty.
Are You Eligible?
To be eligible for certification, teachers must meet the following education, employment, and licensure requirements prior to starting the certification process. Candidates will be asked to verify these during registration.
- Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. NOTE: 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.
- Have completed three years of successful teaching in one or more early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary school.
- Hold a valid state teaching license (or meet the licensure requirements established by your state for a school counselor if applying for the ECYA/School Counseling certificate) for each of the three years of employment you verify.
- Provide official American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) certified ratings of Advanced Low or higher from ACTFL speaking and writing proficiency assessments if registering as a World Languages candidate. For more information on this prerequisite for World Languages candidates, refer to the Guide to National Board Certification.
The Four Components of the Certification Process
The certification process is designed to collect standards-based evidence of accomplished practice. In all 25 certificate areas, candidates are required to complete an assessment comprised of four components. The content knowledge component is a computer-based assessment taken at a testing center; the other three components are portfolio-based and submitted through an electronic portfolio system.
Component 1: Content Knowledge
A computer-based assessment asks you to demonstrate your understanding of content knowledge and pedagogical practices for teaching your content area. You must demonstrate knowledge of developmentally appropriate content, which is necessary for teaching across the full age range and ability level of your chosen certificate area.
Component 2: Differentiation in Instruction
This portfolio entry requires that candidates gather and analyze information about individual students’ strengths and needs and use that information to design and implement instruction to advance student learning and achievement. You will submit selected work samples that demonstrate the students’ growth over time and a written commentary that analyzes your instructional choices.
Component 3: Teaching Practice and Learning Environment
This portfolio entry requires video recordings of interactions between you and your students. You will also submit a written commentary in which you describe, analyze and reflect on your teaching and interactions with students.
Component 4: Effective and Reflective Practitioner
This portfolio entry requires you to demonstrate evidence of your abilities as an effective and reflective practitioner in developing and applying knowledge of your students; your use of assessments to effectively plan for and positively impact your students’ learning; and your collaboration to advance students’ learning and growth.
To access component instructions for your certificate area, see the candidate resources page.
Our timeline makes it easy to get certified. The four components can be submitted in any order. Candidates can complete from one to four components a year.
Candidates must submit all four components within the first three years of their candidacy. While it is possible to complete the process in as little as one year, there is a five-year window to achieve certification.
Note: Although candidates are provided with five years to complete the certification process, all purchased components must be completed during the assessment cycle in which they are purchased. Read Guide to National Board Certification for important dates and deadlines for completing the certification process.
Scoring of components occurs each summer and component scores are released by the end of that year. Board-certified teachers or teaching professionals are responsible for the scoring in each certificate area; they are trained extensively.
The scoring system is an indication of the degree to which assessors are able to locate clear, consistent and convincing evidence that a candidate has met the National Board Standards in the specific certificate field.
Measurement experts rate National Board assessor reliability among the highest reported for such a complex performance assessment, which is a direct result of the focused and rigorous training National Board assessors undergo.
Taking Action and Becoming a Candidate
Take time to review the Guide to National Board Certification, paying close attention to important dates, deadlines, and policies. When you’re ready to get certified, create an account in the National Board Candidate Management System (NBCMS) to register and purchase components. For each assessment cycle you plan to take components, a $75 nonrefundable and nontransferable registration fee is required and must be paid before purchasing a component.Components must be selected and purchased separately prior to the registration deadline for each assessment cycle.
Purchase only the components you plan to complete during the assessment cycle for which you are registered.
The initial cost for each of the four components is $475 (the total cost for the initial attempt of all four components is $1,900). Retake attempts require an additional fee.
In our ongoing efforts to streamline the certification process, we’ve moved to a paperless delivery system. Standards and other assessment documents are available on our resources page. Be sure to check our website and your email regularly for updates and information. Everything you’ll ever need to know about how to get certified can be found throughout this website.
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