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NBCT Certification Incentive Program FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Incentive Awards for National Board-Certified Teachers through the National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) Incentive Program.
Who qualifies for the $25,000 incentive award?

National Board-Certified Teachers who are employed by a California public school district or charter school and who are assigned to teach at least 50 percent time in a high-priority school for five years are eligible for $25,000. The award is paid in $5,000 payments for five consecutive years. Districts must verify, each year, that teachers have met the percentage requirement in a high priority school before funds can be released to make each $5,000 payment.

Does this incentive program assist with the fees associated with obtaining National Board Certification?

No, this program is for teachers that have been certified through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) by December 31, 2022.

However, commencing July 1, 2021, any teacher who initiates the process of pursuing a certification from the NBPTS when teaching at a high-priority school is eligible to receive an NBPTS Candidate Subsidy Program award of $2,500. Applicants must apply for the subsidy with the California (CA) Department of Education. For more information about the NBPTS Candidate Subsidy Program, visit the NBPTS Candidate Subsidy Program Information web page.

What defines a high-priority school?

California Assembly Bill 130 defines high-priority schools as those with 55 percent or more of its unduplicated pupils classified as an English learner, or foster youth, or eligible for a free or reduced-price meal. To determine if you are eligible for the incentive, please check Eligible High Priority Schools List (XLSX).

I am a teacher on special assignment, am I still eligible for this incentive?

California Assembly Bill 130 states that in addition to classroom teachers, other eligible educators may include, but is not limited to educators in a teacher leadership role as a peer assistance and review coach, mentor, or other teacher support provider, if the position does not require an administrative credential.

I am employed by a state special school, am I still eligible for this incentive?

California Assembly Bill 130 defines eligible entities as school districts, county boards of education, county superintendent of schools, state operated programs, including special schools, regional occupational centers or programs operated by a joint powers authority or a county office of education, or education programs providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that is offered by a state agency, including the Department of Youth and Community Restoration and the State Department of Developmental Services.

If I teach in a high-priority school that falls below 55 percent of unduplicated pupils over the next five years, do I continue to receive the $5,000 annual payments?

Yes, to qualify for the $25,000 award, a teacher must be assigned to teach in a high-priority school in the first year of the award. If this same high-priority school changes so that it is no longer considered a high-priority school, the teacher will still receive each of the $5,000 annual payments for five years. If the teacher moves to another school that is not a high-priority school, he or she will no longer qualify for the remaining $5,000 annual payments.

Do I still receive the $5,000 annual payments if I move to another high-priority school either in my own district or in a new district?

Yes, National Board-Certified Teachers may receive the annual $5,000 payment for five consecutive years if they are teaching in any high-priority public school in California.

If I have been teaching in a high-priority school for a number of years and I become National Board Certified, do I receive the full $25,000 award as a lump sum?

No, the $25,000 award is not retroactive. However, you may apply for the next five years as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.

Is my incentive award taxable?

Yes, the $5,000 payment is considered salary and thereby subject to both state and federal taxes.

If I haven't already received an incentive award, may I still apply for an award this year even if I achieved national certification in a prior year?

Yes, as long as the award is funded and you meet all current requirements, you may apply for the award within the application window as long as your National Board Certification status is active.

How do I apply for the National Board Incentive Program?

You will apply using the online application form on CA NBPTS Certification Incentive Program web page. The application for the 2022–23 applicants who are current National Board-Certified Teachers will be open in November of each year. Then your district will verify that you have worked in a high-priority school for each school year that you are eligible for the award.

Am I eligible for the California incentive award if I received National Board Certification while teaching in another state?

National Board-Certified Teachers who move to California and agree to teach in a high-priority California public school for five consecutive years may apply for the $25,000 incentive award.

Questions:   Teacher and Leader Policy Office | | 916-445-7331
Last Reviewed: Friday, October 13, 2023