What is National Board Certification?

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification is a voluntary credential for educators. Learn about the National Board and how this certification may benefit both teachers and their students.

National Board Certification Overview

Experienced educators may voluntarily pursue certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to illustrate their teaching skills and abilities beyond the basic licensure requirements in their states. The certification was developed by, and applications are peer-reviewed by, a board comprised primarily of educators. Teachers with at least three years of professional experience may apply for National Board certification, which is available in 25 individual teaching areas. More than 100,000 teachers in the United States were certified as of 2016.

National Board Standards

Certification requirements are built upon National Board standards that identify the characteristics of superior educators. Certification is based on both performance on computerized tests and portfolios demonstrating in-classroom teaching abilities. National Board standards, and the resulting certification process, derive from five established propositions explaining that teachers must be:

  • Dedicated to students and the educational process
  • Knowledgeable in both subject matter and pedagogical techniques
  • Responsible leaders and learning managers
  • Systematic in their approach to teaching and learning
  • Engaged in ongoing education and learning

Certification Benefits for Teachers and Students

While no states require teachers to be certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, many recognize the credential and financially incentivize certified teachers via bonuses and higher salaries. This recognition is based, in part, on multiple research studies that have shown improved academic performance by students taught by National Board certified teachers.

Tools to Help You Earn Certification

Because educators must be able to demonstrate their hands-on teaching skills in order to earn National Board certification, ongoing professional development is key for those seeking the credential. Study.com's self-paced professional development courses, featuring short and easy-to-follow video lessons accessible online 24/7, may help educators earn their certification. Courses include:

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