National Certification for Teachers
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
The California Department of Education
(CDE) actively supports teachers in their efforts to achieve advanced
certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching
The NBPTS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and nongovernmental agency governed by a 25-member board of directors, the majority of whom are classroom teachers. The NBPTS mission advances the quality of teaching and learning by:
The National Board seeks to elevate the status, voice, and role of accomplished teachers in shaping a true profession. This includes: 1) raising public awareness with respect to the cognitive complexity, collaborative, and expertise-driven nature of teachers' work; 2) setting higher standards for entry, advancement, and leadership in the profession; and 3) recognizing accomplished teaching through a rigorous professional certification process comparable to those found in other professions such as medicine, engineering, and law.
National Board Certification
Following the development of certificate standards, the National Board collaborated with a skilled team of psychometricians to create the process by which a teacher could be fairly and reliably assessed as meeting those standards.
This new certification was the first of its kind in education. Built and overseen by the profession, the process of becoming National Board Certified was performance-based, multiple-measure, peer-reviewed, anonymously submitted and built on the highest standards of measurement to assure the results were valid and reliable. There was now a process for asserting when teachers had successfully moved through their novice years and had reached a level of accomplishment, similar to what had existed in other major professions.
By 1993, only six years after its founding, the National Board was ready to welcome the first teachers who elected to pursue certification. Within a few years, National Board Certification became the most rigorous, coveted and respected professional certification available in education.
For more information on becoming a candidate for National Board Certification, visit the Candidate Center .
For information regarding NCLB compliance, see the CDE Web page Improving Teacher and Principal Quality.
The prerequisites for National Board Certification are highlighted below and are detailed in the Guide to National Board Certification (PDF). You will be required to submit one or more of the forms found in the Eligibility Verification Forms and Instructions (PDF) to verify you meet these prerequisites. To be eligible for National Board Certification you must:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree
- Have completed three full years of teaching/school counseling
- Possess a valid state teaching/school counseling license, or, if teaching where a license is not required, have taught in schools recognized and approved to operate by the state
If you have questions about your eligibility, please call the NBPTS at 1-800-22TEACH.
For additional information, see Eligibility and Policies .
National certification is available in a variety of areas based on the subject matter taught and student ages. An overview of each certificate area is available at the NBPTS For Candidates .
The assessment center portion of the certification process requires candidates to demonstrate content knowledge in response to six exercises that were developed by practicing professionals in each certificate area. Candidates are expected to demonstrate knowledge of developmentally appropriate content necessary to teach across the full age range and ability level of the certificate area in which they applied. Assessments are administered at over 300 computer-based testing centers across the United States.
For more information about the assessment, review the following resources and information:
- Exercise Descriptions and Retired Prompts found in the Assessment at a Glance
- Rubrics found in the Scoring Guide
- Online Tour of a Pearson Professional Center
- Assessment Center Tutorial (Instructions for Accessing the Tutorial [PDF])
- Assessment Center Policy and Guidelines (PDF)
Support for National Board Candidacy in California
While there is no requirement that candidates attend a support program, most teachers find it helpful to work with others throughout the process. Support is found in a variety of formats ranging from working informally with a colleague to enrolling in a university degree program. Support is available both online and through face to face meetings. Some programs are free and others charge a fee. Information about the major support programs in California is listed below.
California State University, Northridge
San Joaquin County Office of Education
San Francisco Unified National Board Support Group
Sources of Financial Support
Financial support can be had to achieve advance certification with no or little out-of-pocket expense. Local Service Organizations, such as Rotary or Lion's Club, or even an individual small business, may be willing to sponsor your candidacy, a letter or a short presentation to explain the program and why you are pursuing National Board Certification may lead to financial help. NBPTS scholarships may also be used to supplement or offset cost. For help putting a presentation together, contact one of the support programs or persons listed above.
Finding National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) in California
More than 5,000 California teachers have earned National Board Certification. To learn who these accomplished teachers are, please visit the NBCT Directory where you can search by name, certificate, state, district, and year.
NBCTs and California Teaching Credentials
National Board Certification can be used to clear a preliminary credential as well as add a credential in a new subject area.