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
| District Support | Higher Education Support | Incentive Award |
| Incentive Frequently Asked Questions | Support Groups |
| National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) Directory | Take One Option
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
A National Board certificate attests that a teacher was judged by his or her peers as one who is accomplished, makes sound professional judgments about students, and acts effectively on those judgments. It allows teachers to gauge their skills and knowledge against objective, peer-developed standards of advanced practice. Offered on a voluntary basis, National Board certification complements, but does not replace, state licensing. While state licensing systems set entry-level standards for novice teachers, National Board certification establishes advanced standards for experienced teachers.
National Board certification raises the quality of the teaching profession. It creates a high standard for the profession and the process itself offers high quality professional development. It is based on teacher self-reflection and inquiry, linked to the teacher's own teaching situation and practice. Accomplished teachers form the core of the teaching profession. Their knowledge and leadership are central to any effort to educate each of our students to high academic standards.
For information regarding NCLB compliance, see the CDE Web page Improving Teacher and Principal Quality.
To seek National Board Certification candidates must meet the following requirements prior to applying:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree
- Have completed three full years of teaching/counseling experience
- Possess a valid state teaching/counseling license for that period of time, or, if teaching where a license is not required, have taught in schools recognized and approved to operate by the state
Applicants who use teaching experience in the state of California must be able to submit proof that they held, at a minimum, a California Preliminary Credential for each of the years of experience. Employment under intern or emergency credentials does not meet the employment or licensure prerequisites established by the NBPTS. 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 .
For each of the certificate areas, the NBPTS offers a performance-based assessment that takes approximately one year to complete. The assessment process includes two components:
- Candidates submit a portfolio comprised of three classroom-based entries, including two videos, to document the candidate's teaching practice. The fourth portfolio entry documents the candidate's work with students' families and the community as well as work within a professional community.
- Candidates must make an assessment center appointment where they will respond to six prompts focused on content knowledge. Candidates are allowed up to 30 minutes to respond to each prompt.
Candidates are advised to consider the amount of time required to complete the process before making the commitment to pursue national certification. Previous candidates have reported spending as many as 200 hours on the process.
The NBPTS has issued a set of teaching standards that describe the accomplished level of teaching for different subject areas and grade-levels. The assessment process for each area is guided by these standards. An important first step in the process is to study the standards for the particular certificate you choose to pursue.
The Take One! Option
Take One! provides the opportunity for teachers to begin the National Board process by completing just one pre-selected portfolio entry and submitting it to the NBPTS for scoring before making the commitment to full candidacy. Take One! is useful for a “pre-candidacy” year for those who may not feel ready for the whole process or for teachers who do not yet meet the eligibility requirements for full candidacy. Completing Take One! can mean that a candidate only has to complete the remaining three portfolio entries and take the content knowledge exam the following year. Please visit The Take One! Homepage for more information.
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, Fullerton
- California State University, Northridge
- California Teachers Association
- Los Angeles Unified School District/United Teachers Los Angeles
- National University
- Orange County Department of Education
- San Joaquin County Office of Education
- Stanford University
- University of California, Los Angeles, Center X
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.
As an active candidate, you may apply for corporate-sponsored fee assistance that is managed by the NBPTS.
School/District Using Federal Funds to Support NBPTS Programs
NBPTS fees may be paid through a variety of professional development funds available to districts, including federal funding. Visit for more information.
Finding NBCTs 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.