National Board Certification is the most widely respected professional certification program available in education and provides numerous benefits to teachers, students, and schools. It was designed to develop, retain, and recognize accomplished teachers, as well as generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide.
National Board Certification is achieved upon successful completion of a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers who meet high standards based on what teachers should know and be able to do.
- The certification process takes between one and five years (all components must be submitted within three years; an additional two years is allowed for retakes only).
- Candidates complete four components that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas.
- The assessments include three portfolio entries that feature teaching practice and three constructed response exercises plus 45 selected response items that assess content knowledge.
- The estimated time commitment is between 200 to 400 hours to complete the certification process.
- Certification is not a guarantee; the national certification rate hovers around 40 percent from year to year.
Even though the Washington system of support for National Board Certification means that our state's certification rate above average, there is still a chance that a candidate may go through all five years of candidacy and not certify with NBPTS. While this is not meant to discourage a teacher or counselor from going through the process, it is important information to have before entering the process.
Produced by NBPTS, this guide covers the assessment process, timeline, fields of certification, scholarships and rewards, how to apply, and who to contact for more information.
Among the benefits, National Board Certification offers higher salary potential, strengthens teaching practice, and helps students succeed. In Washington state, teachers holding National Board Certification:
- Will be paid, on an annual basis and in a lump sum, a bonus of $5,705 and an additional “Challenging Schools” bonus of up to $5,000 (subject to the legislative conditions and limitations).
- Are exempt from the 100 clock hour requirement to maintain their Washington State teaching certificate.
- Are eligible for 50 clock hours upon “completion” of each component (completion is determined by OSPI and NBPTS verification) of the National Board process and an additional 100 clock hours for Maintenance of Certification.
- National Board Certification and Your Washington State Teaching Certificate
To seek National Board Certification you must meet the following requirements prior to applying:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree (CTE teachers are not required to hold a Bachelor’s Degree unless it is required for their state’s licensure)
- Have completed three full years of K-12 teaching/counseling experience
- Possess a valid state teaching or counseling license
A non-refundable annual registration fee of $75 is required when you submit your yearly application. Each of the four components is $475 for initial submission. Retake fees are $475 for components 2, 3, and 4; candidates can retake each assessment exercise of component 1 at $125 each.
There are a few options if you need financial support to cover the fees:
- A conditional loan from OSPI funds $1,425 of the $1,900 fee for beginning the National Board Certification process.
- School districts offer varying levels of support, some of which is financial.
- Through the generosity of corporate and foundation partners, the National Board is periodically able to offer a limited number of scholarships. If scholarship funding is available, NBPTS will post a scholarship application to your National Board account.
Ready to become a candidate? Go to the NBPTS website to get started!