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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) External link opens in new window or tab.. 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 seeks to raise public awareness with respect to the cognitive complexity, collaborative, and expertise-driven nature of teachers' work; set higher standards for entry, advancement, and leadership in the profession; and recognize accomplished teaching through a rigorous professional certification process comparable to those found in other professions such as medicine, engineering, and law.

In California, Linda Bauld is the Director of the National Board Resource Center at Stanford University. Ms. Bauld also provides candidate support to teachers pursuing National Board Certification, helps build candidate support programs across the state, and helps run the California National Board Collaborative (Collaborative), a collection of the National Board Networks across the state. She keeps an up-to-date list of regional contacts at the Collaborative’s website. Ms. Bauld can be contacted at or 650 724-7349.

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.

In addition, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) issues a clear credential to the holder of a preliminary teaching or services credential who attains certification from the NBPTS. This credential authorizes the holder to teach or provide services in the area that the CTC determines is equivalent to the certificate field in which the teacher or services provider received certification from the NBPTS.

For more information on becoming a candidate for National Board Certification, visit the Candidate Center External link opens in new window or tab.. You may contact the NBPTS via their online web form External link opens in new window or tab. or by calling the NBPTS at 1-800-22TEACH.

Eligibility Criteria

The prerequisites for National Board Certification are highlighted below and are detailed in the Guide to National Board Certification (PDF) [Link no longer available]. 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

Assessment Process

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.

The assessment center portion of the certification process requires candidates to demonstrate content knowledge in response to test items 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 testing centers across the United States.

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. Up to date information about the major support programs in California is located on the website for the Collaborative. Key contacts from the collaborative as of early 2020 can be found listed below:

Local Support

California Teachers Association
Norma Sanchez

Corona-Norco Unified School District
Peter Lum

Fresno Unified National Board Certification Program
Fresno Unified School District
Tiffany Castillo

Folsom-Cordova Unified School District
Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez

Lodi Unified School District Network
Lori Celiz, NBCT

Long Beach Unified School District
Cara Hale-Hanes, NBCT

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
The Support Network: LAUSD/United Teachers Los Angeles External link opens in new window or tab.
Michael de la Torre

Marin County
Andrea Keenan

Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Christine Kieffer

Orange County Department of Education
Susan Carle, NBCT

San Diego County
Stacy Begin

San Francisco Unified National Board Program
Nia Ross, NBCT and Maria Hunt, NBCT

West Contra Costa Unified School District
Cinda Rapp, NBCT

Higher Education Support

Institution of Higher Education (IHE) Description of Support Offered IHE Contact

California State University (CSU) - Bakersfield

Provides support for NB candidates on an individual basis.

Mahmoud Suleiman

CSU - Fullerton

Offers support for candidates not enrolled in the university as well as offers National Board options for students in Master's programs in Secondary Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education.

Kim Norman

Chris Street

Leslee Milch, NBCT

CSU - Northridge

Support program for candidates. Master of Arts in Education: English introduces candidates to NBPTS certificate activities.

Virginia Kennedy

National Board Resource Center at Stanford University External link opens in new window or tab.

Candidate support program with optional continuing education units.

Linda Bauld

UC Los Angeles (UCLA) - Center X External link opens in new window or tab.

Yearly candidate support for individual components, an annual summer institute, and one-on-one support all available to new and continuing candidates.

Erin Powers

Bettye Scott
Program Coordinator

Sources of Financial Support

Financial support to achieve advanced certification can be found through some Llocal Service Organizations, for example, Rotary or Lion's Club. Alternately 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. Contact your district or charter organization because many offer financial support for educators who pursue National Board Certification. For help putting a presentation together, contact one of the support programs or persons listed at the Collaborative’s website.

Finding National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) in California

More than 7,000 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.


National Board Resource Center at Stanford University External link opens in new window or tab.

Online Candidate Support Course from the Stanford National Board Resource Center External link opens in new window or tab.

Candidate Support by School District

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


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

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Recently Posted in Professional Standards