California Specific Incentives:

  • The National Board Certification Incentive Program in California went into effect July 1st, 2021, and grants up to $25,000 to teachers who have achieved National Board Certification and who agree to teach at a high priority school for at least five years
  • $2,500 can also be granted to teachers who initiate the process of pursuing National Board Certification while teaching at a high-priority school
  • More information about the program can be found from the California Department of Education
  • Universities frequently provide graduate credit to teachers pursuing National Board Certification. Check with your local university to see if graduate credit is a possibility for you.
  • Board certification can enable teachers to take on leadership roles—such as mentoring, leading professional development efforts, and advocating for policy changes—that allow them to advance their careers while staying in the classroom
  • Information from the California NBPTS Candidate Subsidy Informational Webinar can be found here

Why Certify?

Direct Impact on Students 

  • Over a decade of research supports the fact that Board-certified teachers have a positive impact on students. Students of Board-Certified teachers learn more than their peers without Board-certified teachers. Studies have also found that these positive impacts are even greater for BIPOC and low-income students.

Relevant and Impactful Professional Development

  • A national survey of effective teachers’ views on Professional Development found that 96% of respondents felt that National Board Certification was among the top three most impactful PD experiences for advancing their teaching practice. 

Created by Teachers, for Teachers

  • Too often, professional development opportunities are not shaped by the wisdom and expertise of practicing educators. That is not the case with National Board Certification. Our Standards and the 5 Core Propositions are developed by committees of educators who are broadly representative of professionals in the teaching field. 

“I felt that it was teachers speaking directly to me. It was because teachers helped write that book. Within the first part of the book that talks about core proposition one – that teachers are committed to their students. The book talks about equity and how teachers are committed to enacting equity in our schools. I was immediately hooked. I knew that this was going to be the right sort of challenge for me because the whole process was written and designed by teachers for teachers.”

Juliana Urtubey, NBCT, 2021 National Teacher of the Year

Changes and Improves Teacher Practice 

  • 91% of teachers engaging with the National Board standards reported that it had a direct impact on their instructional practices. These shifts include adjusting lesson plans and to meet the needs of individual students, using data in new ways to assess student progress and learning goals, deepening their content knowledge. 

State Incentives and Support Networks 

  • State incentives and support networks across California make it easier for teachers to start and complete their National Board journey!  Check out the section below for more information on how California policies incentivize Board Certification and help remove barriers to access and success in achieving. 

Board Certification At a Glance

Understand the Process

Confirm your eligibility and create an account. To pursue certification, you must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree* 
  • Three years of classroom or school counselor experience 
  • A valid state license (or meet the licensure requirements set by your state or school)

Creating an account can help you further determine what certificate area is right for you, and gives you access to more resources to make your decision! 

Know the important dates and available financial support 

  • Many states and districts provide financial support for certification. Check what options are available in your state and deadlines for applications. Please be aware that local deadlines are often different from the National Board registration deadlines, so be sure to check as soon as possible. There are additional funding sources listed here and payment plan options listed here.

Choose the Certificate Area and Timeline that works best for you 

  • There are 25 different areas you can choose to certify in. It’s important you reflect on which area is right for you, as you will be asked to demonstrate and collect evidence related to the certificate you choose to pursue.
  • Take a look at the Choosing the Right Certificate Guide for the 25 different areas.


  • You have the flexibility to work towards certification in a way that suits you and your professional and personal responsibilities. Completing your first attempt of all four components can take as little as one year, or up to three. 
  • You have up to two retake attempts for each component and have a five-year window to achieve certification. 

Register and Pay your Registration Fee.

Select which certificate area is right for you and pay your $75 registration fee before the deadline

Select and Pay for your Components

  • Decide which components you want to complete this cycle. You can start with one, or attempt all four in the first year! Remember, you must attempt each of the four components within the first three years of your candidacy, and you have a five-year window in total to attempt retakes and achieve certification.
  • Put everything into practice

You are now on your journey to become a National Board Certified Teacher! 

  • All of your official instructions and guides can be found accessed through the candidate center. 

For further guidance and supports for putting this all into practice, view or download our National Board Certification: Candidate Resource Guide