Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

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 Standards (NBPTS).

The NBPTS External link opens in new window or tab. 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 External link opens in new window or tab..

For information regarding NCLB compliance, see the CDE Web page Improving Teacher and Principal Quality.

Eligibility Criteria

The prerequisites for National Board Certification are highlighted below and are detailed in the Guide to National Board Certification External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). You will be required to submit one or more of the forms found in the Eligibility Verification Forms and Instructions External link opens in new window or tab. (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.

Assessment Process

The assessment center portion of the certification process requires candidates to demonstrate content knowledge in response to three exercises and 45 selected response items 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:

The NBPTS has issued a set of teaching standards External link opens in new window or tab. that describe the accomplished level of teaching for different subject areas and grade-levels. The assessment process External link opens in new window or tab. 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.

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
Chris Street

California Teachers Association

Folsom-Cordova Unified School District
Wendy Sol, NBCT

Fresno National Board Network External link opens in new window or tab.
Fresno Unified School District
Tiffany Castillo

Lodi Unified School District Network
Lori Celiz, NBCT

Long Beach Unified School District
Cara Hale-Hanes, NBCT

Los Angeles Unified School District/United Teachers Los Angeles External link opens in new window or tab.

Marin County
Andrea Keenan

Mills College National Board Network
Pilar Beccar-Varela, NBCT

National University External link opens in new window or tab.
Dr. Donna Elder
Associate Dean of the Sanford College of Education

Orange County Department of Education
Susan Carle, NBCT

San Diego Partnership for Accomplished Teaching
Tammy Harris, NBCT

San Joaquin County Office of Education
(209) 468-4967

Stanford University
Linda Bauld, NBRC Director
National Board Resource Center External link opens in new window or tab.

San Francisco Unified National Board Support Group
Sara Saldaña, NBCT

Twin Rivers Unified School District
Beverly Weber, NBCT

University of California, Los Angeles, Center X External link opens in new window or tab.
Erin Powers, NBCT

West Contra Costa Unified School District
Cinda Rapp, NBCT

Sources of Financial Support

Financial support can be had to achieve advanced 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 External link opens in new window or tab. where you can search by name, certificate, state, district, and year.

NBCTs and California Teaching Credentials External link opens in new window or tab.
National Board Certification can be used to clear a preliminary credential as well as add a credential in a new subject area.


Candidate Support by School District

Higher Education Support for Teachers

California Development Centers and Support Groups

NBCT Directory External link opens in new window or tab.

New National Board Resources External link opens in new window or tab.


Teacher and Leader Policy Office | | 916-445-7331

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Trending in Professional Standards
Recently Posted in Professional Standards
  • California Professional Learning Stories (added 14-Feb-2020)
    See the Quality Professional Learning Standards (QPLS) in action! PL Stories is a collection of videos and resources showcasing high quality professional learning systems in California schools and districts.
  • PL Stories: Design and Structure (added 14-Feb-2020)
    Quality professional learning reflects evidence-based approaches, recognizing that focused, sustained learning enables educators to acquire, implement, and assess improved practices.
  • Design and Structure: West Contra Costa Unified (added 14-Feb-2020)
    See how West Contra Costa Unified uses high-quality design and structure for professional learning to implement a 1 to 1 technology initiative.
  • PL Stories: Alignment and Coherence (added 14-Feb-2020)
    Quality professional learning (PL) contributes to a coherent system of educator learning and support that connects district and school priorities and needs with state and federal requirements and resources.
  • Alignment and Coherence: Sanger Unified (added 14-Feb-2020)
    See how Sanger Unified School District uses high quality alignment and coherence in its professional learning system.