What are the National Board Certification Areas for Teachers?

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards offers voluntary certification to educators who want to demonstrate their teaching expertise. Explore the certification areas and learn what's required to earn these credentials.

National Board Certification Categories

There are 25 areas in which an educator may seek certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Certification areas include 16 academic specialties in one of seven different student age ranges.

Academic SpecialtyAge Range
Art 3-12; 11-18+
Career and Technical Education 11-18+
English as a New Language 3-12; 11-18+
English Language Arts 11-15; 14-18+
Exceptional Needs Specialist Birth-21+
Generalist 3-8; 7-12
Health Education 11-18+
Library Media 3-18+
Literacy: Reading-Language Arts 3-12
Math 11-15; 14-18+
Music 3-12; 11-18+
Physical Education 3-12; 11-18+
School Counseling 3-18+
Science 11-15; 14-18+
Social Studies - History 11-15; 14-18+
World Languages 11-18+

Certification Requirements

To earn certification in a desired area, teachers must be licensed and have at least three years of teaching experience.

They must also submit a portfolio containing such items as samples of student work and a video of classroom instruction. Additional portfolio requirements for many of the certification areas are under development by the National Board, which anticipates having a description ready for applicants during the 2016-2017 certification cycle.

The final certification requirement is a passing score on a computer-based test of content knowledge and pedagogical skills appropriate for the individual certification area. The test includes a combination of constructed and selected response questions. The duration of an exam varies depending on the certification area, but all tests are at least two and a half hours long.

Prep Resources for Your Certification Area

High school math teachers preparing for their National Board Certification exam will find a complete test prep resource through's Mathematics - Adolescence & Young Adulthood: Practice & Study Guide course.

Teachers preparing for certification exams in other areas can also find education resources to help them refresh their pedagogical knowledge. Courses are available on the following topics:

Instructional Strategies

Special Education

Reading, Writing and Math Instruction

Curriculum Development and Assessment

Classroom Management

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.