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What is National Board Certification for Teachers?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2014
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National board certification for teachers is obtained by undergoing testing, evaluation of teaching methods, and completing programs designed to obtain such a certificate. It is thought desirable by many teachers to have national board certification, since it represents that other teachers have evaluated them and found to be particularly adept at their jobs. In most US states, national board certification is not required. Generally all that is required to teach is a teaching certificate for the state in which you plan to teach. Board certification, though, may raise your teaching salary, make you a more eligible candidate for employment, and is further proof of your competency as a teacher.

When people apply for national board certification they must meet certain prerequisites, and choose an area of specialty. Specialty is split by age range and subject. You can become board certified in one specific subject matter as taught at a specific age range of students. Most general education subjects are available. You also must have at least three years of teaching experience before you apply for national board certification. The application process can take a little work and is not free.

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Teachers generally submit a portfolio, like video records of teaching classes, student work, and a statement that specifies your qualifications for national board certification both in and outside of the classroom setting. This portfolio is evaluated by other teachers who have board certification and who have additional training in recognizing those qualities necessary for certification in others. You will also take an online assessment course at a testing center, which is graded and considered in whether certification will be granted. If you fail in either portfolio or online assessment, you can reapply, though many find they don’t pass on a second try either, and the expense can be onerous.

You will pay about $2600 US Dollars (USD) to obtain national board certification. Sometimes a school district or a state offers scholarships or financial aid to teachers who cannot afford this price. The National Board for Profession Teaching Standards website has more information on obtaining financial aid and the specific steps toward obtaining this special credential. Teachers may also take classes at universities to prepare their portfolio and to study for examinations included in evaluation and testing.

Certification does need to be renewed, though the process is not as extensive or expensive. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards recommends renewing the credential eight years after receiving certification. Inability to renew the credential does not necessarily affect your position as a teacher or your salary, unless this is a stated requirement of your contract.

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