FAQ’s

Who is eligible for National Board Certification?

Any individual who:
1. Holds a baccalaureate degree
2. Has taught for at least three years
3. Holds a valid state teaching license for the area in which s/he is teaching 

How do I become a Board Certified Teacher?

To become a Board-certified teacher, eligible candidates must demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and practice in their individual certificate area by completing four components: three portfolio entries and a computer-based assessment.

Throughout the certification process, teachers will be able to apply the National Board Standards to their classroom practice and connect with other teachers pursuing certification.

What steps are necessary to achieve National Board Certification? 

National Board candidates go through a two-part assessment that is based on the National Board standards and reflects a variety of teaching situations.

The candidate compiles a classroom performance portfolio that includes student work, videotapes, and other teaching exhibits. The portfolio includes commentaries about the goals and purposes of instruction and reflections on what occurred, the effectiveness of the practice, and the rationale for professional decisions. All entries are designed to help the candidate show evidence that he/she has met the standards in the classroom.
The candidate participates in exercises at a National Board Assessment Center. These exercises complement the portfolio and are organized around challenging teaching issues. The entire process occurs over most of the school year, taking approximately 200 hours or more.

The certification process is more flexible than ever. Set your own pace and sequence throughout the process. You may take up to three years to complete the four components, and you may complete the components in any sequence. You have two opportunities to retake a component if needed, and each component may be paid for separately.

National Board Certification is available in 25 certificate areas representing 16 different disciplines and four developmental levels that are applicable to most teachers in U.S. public schools.

To become a Board-certified teacher, eligible candidates must demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and practice in their individual certificate area by completing four components: three portfolio entries and a computer-based assessment.

Candidates completing the World Languages certificate must also provide American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) certificates of Advanced Low or higher from ACTFL speaking and writing proficiency assessments. Teachers are asked to verify their eligibility during registration and may be asked to provide proof of meeting these requirements.

Throughout the certification process, teachers will be able to apply the National Board Standards to their classroom practice and connect with other teachers pursuing certification.

The standards for all Board certification areas are founded on the Five Core Propositions that represent a professional consensus on the unique aspects of practice that distinguish accomplished teachers. Candidates should view the available certificate areas and then select a certificate area associated with their classroom specialty.

How do I apply?

Application Criteria:

  • Must have a minimum of 3 years of classroom teaching experience.
  • The cost is $1,900.00 for all 4 Components. (Scholarship and grant opportunities may be available for candidates.)
  • Cohort engagement is required. (May differ by respective district regions.)
  • School cohorts, teams of teachers, and middle school, high school departments are encouraged to participate together.
Why should I certify?

There are many reasons to become board-certified. Board-certified teachers prove their effectiveness in the classroom every day:

  • Students learn more. A decade of research shows that students of Board-certified teachers learn more than their peers without Board-certified teachers. Studies have also found that the positive impact of having a Board-certified teacher is even greater for minority and low-income students. 
  • Teachers improve their practice. Board Certification allows teachers to hone their practice, showcase their talent in the classroom and demonstrate their dedication to their students and their profession.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to excellence. Schools with National Board Certified Teachers are characterized by better teacher morale and retention and increased community involvement. Districts and schools that want to drive student learning recognize the power of Board certification and are taking steps to empower and raise the status of accomplished teachers.

How do I determine my years of employment? Do substitute and part-time teaching count toward the three-year requirement?

Part-time and long term substitute teaching do count toward the three-year employment requirement. To calculate your actual years of employment, please refer to the instructions located on page three of the Eligibility Verification Forms and Instructions.

I teach overseas. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Go to the Candidate Resources section and review the Guide to National Board Certification, download the Eligibility Verification Forms to see if you meet the education, employment, and licensure requirements. Please note that the computer-based assessment (Component 1) is only administered in the United States, some U.S. Territories, and Puerto Rico.

In what areas is National Board Certification available?

National Board Certification is available in 25 areas structured around 16 different disciplines and six student developmental levels (early childhood, middle childhood, early and middle childhood, early adolescence, adolescence and young adulthood, early childhood through young adulthood). Candidates in six certificate areas also select a specific specialty area within their discipline.

How do I choose a certificate area?

Go to Choosing the Right Certificate. This document helps candidates determine which of the 25 certificate areas are appropriate to apply for and what the assessment will include. In general, candidates who meet the education, employment, and licensure requirements can register for any certificate of their choosing. (You can choose to certify under a different certificate area than your current teaching license if you wish to do so.)

What are important dates and timelines?

Registration for each assessment cycle typically begins in April each year and ends in January of the following year. This April-January window includes registration and component purchase deadlines. Component 1 testing and submission of Components 2-4 takes place in the Spring after the registration window has ended. Scoring occurs in the summer, with scores being released no later than December. See the Important Dates and Deadlines section in the Guide to National Board Certification for specific details related to the most current candidate cycle.

Can I take a year off?

Yes. Candidates can have a year during which they don’t take or retake any components as long as they attempt each of the four components within the first three years of their candidacy and complete the entire process within the required five-year window. Note: Although you have a five-year window to complete the certification process, you are expected to complete all components you purchase during the assessment cycle in which the component is purchased

After completing the registration process, when can I expect my materials and learn more about completing my components?

Assessment materials, including National Board Standards, Component Instructions, and Scoring Guide, are paperless and are available at certificate-areas. Candidates who are eligible and fully paid will receive emails throughout their candidacy about scheduling and testing the component-based assessment (Component 1 which is completed at a Pearson VUE testing center) and how to upload and submit the portfolio components (Components 2-4) electronically using the e-Portfolio system

Cost and Payment

How much does achieving National Board Certification cost?

The current registration fee is $1,900 ($475 per component, payable in 4 installments) plus a $75 nonrefundable processing charge.

Funding is available for Nevada candidates to help offset the cost of the assessment fee. This funding is made possible through a Federal Subsidy grant from the United States Department of Education.

Details

I registered as a candidate in a previous cycle; do I have to pay the registration fee again to select a new component?

Yes. The $75 nonrefundable and nontransferable registration fee is charged once per assessment cycle and is required for each cycle in which you purchase and complete a component.

Are there financial benefits to certifying?
  • More than half of all states—and countless districts—offer free support, conditional loans and/or salary incentives to encourage teachers to pursue and achieve National Board Certification.
  • Many states count Board certification towards state licensure, renewal or step increase.

How do I select and purchase components?

Log in to your National Board account and click “Purchase Component” from the left-hand navigation menu – you should only purchase the components you plan to complete during the current cycle. If you are expecting payment from a third party, you must complete the component purchase process through Step 3: Order Review and click the “Submit Order” button for the component(s) to be reflected on your account and to receive payment.

What supports are available to help defray costs??

Some states and districts provide financial support to teachers who want to earn their National Board Certification. There are some state, and/or local funds available to support National Board Certification fees. In addition, states and districts offer salary increases, bonuses or other incentives to educators who become NBCTs.  Before you register, contact your state or local program administrator for information about fees and incentives available in your state, as well as for any special application requirements that may apply. Find out your state information.

 I am receiving third-party funding, how do I select a component without paying?


Log in to your National Board account and click “Purchase Component” from the left-hand navigation menu – you should only purchase the components you plan to complete during the current cycle. If you are expecting payment from a third party, you must complete the component purchase process through Step 3: Order Review and click the “Submit Order” button for the component(s) to be reflected on your account and to receive payment. Candidates should allow up to 10 business days for payments to post to their accounts after selecting a component and receiving payment.

How do I apply for a scholarship?

Through the generosity of corporate and foundation partners, the National Board is periodically able to offer a limited number of scholarships to help offset a portion of the fees for National Board Certification. Scholarships are allocated under the guidelines set by the donors. If you have selected a component and you meet the guidelines for receiving any remaining scholarship funds, you will be notified via email with required next steps. Please note that funding is limited and you should not rely on a scholarship to cover your component fees.Log into your National Board account and click “Purchase Component” from the left-hand navigation menu – you should only purchase the components you plan to complete during the current cycle. If you are expecting payment from a third party, you must complete the component purchase process through Step 3: Order Review and click the “Submit Order” button for the component(s) to be reflected on your account and to receive payment. Candidates should allow up to 10 business days for payments to post to their accounts after selecting a component and receiving payment.


Scores and Retakes

 What scores do I need to achieve National Board Certification?

 There are three score requirements to meet in order to achieve National Board Certification:

  1. You must earn a minimum unweighted average score of 1.75 on Component 1 (i.e., the assessment center section). The minimum score requirement on this section is based on unweighted rubric scores, not weighted scores.
  2. You must earn a minimum unweighted average score of 1.75 on Components 2 through 4 (i.e., the portfolio section). The minimum score requirement on this section is based on unweighted rubric scores, not weighted scores.
  3. You must earn a total weighted score of at least 110.

The National Board’s assessors use a rubric score scale based on four primary levels of performance (Levels 4, 3, 2, and 1), with plus (+) and minus (–) variations at each level. Level 4 and Level 3 performances represent accomplished teaching practice.  Level 2 and Level 1 performances represent less-than-accomplished teaching practice. More information about rubric scores can be found in the component instructions (link).

The component scores will be weighted as follows:

  • The assessment center section (Component 1: Content Knowledge) makes up 40% of your total weighted score:
    • The weight of the three constructed-response items is 50% of the assessment center section (each constructed-response item is weighted 6.67% of the total weighted score).
    • The selected-response part is 50% of the assessment center section (the section is weighted 20% of the total weighted score).
  • The portfolio section (Components 2, 3, and 4 combined) makes up 60% of your total weighted score:
    • Component 2: Differentiation in Instruction weight is 25% of the portfolio section total (15% of the total weighted score)
    • Component 3: Teaching Practice and Learning Environment weight is 50% of the portfolio section total (30% of the total weighted score)
    • Component 4: Effective and Reflective Practitioner weight is 25% of the portfolio section total (15% of the total weighted score)

For more details, see the Scoring Guide: Understanding Your Scores.

When are scores and certification decisions released?

National Board releases scores and certification decisions no later than December 31 each year. See the Scoring Guide: Understanding Your Scores for a sample score report.

Can I retake a component?

Yes. Candidates can retake each component up to two times. Retakes can happen at any time during the five-year window. The highest numeric score received on each component will be used for the total score calculation. For information on retakes and preparing for the next assessment cycle, see the Scoring Guide: Understanding Your Scores and General Portfolio Instructions.

How do I know if I should  retake a component?

When scores are released, candidates receive results for each component attempted. Candidates should refer to information in the Scoring Guide: Understanding Your Scores to assist them in making decisions about whether or not to retake. Candidates will have up to two opportunities to retake a component after an initial attempt. Candidates may simultaneously register to initially attempt one component and also retake other components (s). Note: Component 1: Content Knowledge consists of four individual parts which a candidate may or may not elect to retake.

For additional information on retaking components refer to the Scoring Guide: Understanding Your Scores and the General Portfolio Instructions.

How can I find additional help?



The Guide to National Board Certification is the best and most detailed resource for prospective candidates to learn more about the certification process. Our Customer Support team is also available to answer questions and assist with the registration process. In addition, candidate support is provided by networks of NBCTs in many locations across the country. Learn more about NBCT Networks.

Nevada Residents

Is there a cost for the National Board NSEA JumpStart Academy?

No, the National Board NSEA JumpStart Academy is provided at no cost to National Board candidates participating in the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute programming.

Do I need to attend JumpStart Academy if I have attended a JumpStart Academy previously?


If you indicated on the registration form that you have previously attended a five-day National Board JumpStart Academy, it is not required that you attend the NSEA JumpStart Academy, although you are welcome to attend the JumpStart Academy session(s) for the Components that you are pursuing.

Is there a cost for the National Board Component Learning Seminars?

Yes, the cost for the National Board Component Learning Seminars is dependent upon awarded grant funding.

May I share the National Board Certification scholarship reimbursement registration link with my colleagues?

Please share information about the National Board with your colleagues and encourage them to email us at info@nationalboardinstitute.com for additional information and opportunity.  We respectfully request that the registration link is not shared with any colleagues that did not attend and sign-in at one of the NSEA National Board informational meetings.  Opportunity remains for engagement in the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute programming and qualification for National Board Component scholarship reimbursement. 

Is union membership a prerequisite for engagement in the NSEA National Board and Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute programming?

No, union membership is not a prerequisite for National Board Certification support.  You are highly encouraged to contact NSEA to inquire about the benefits of membership.  Engagement in the NSEA National Board Program is one of the many benefits of member association and engagement. 

Will meals be provided at the National Board JumpStart Academy and the Component Learning Seminars?

Light refreshments and water will be provided at the National Board NSEA JumpStart.  You are encouraged to bring preferred, personal snacks and drink(s) to JumpStart Academy.  You are also encouraged to bring personal snacks and/or breakfast or lunch items to the Component Learning Seminars; neither meals nor refreshments will not be provided at the Component Learning Seminars.

Who may I contact if I have questions about National Board Certification, JumpStart Academy, or the Component Learning Seminars?

Please contact us at info@nationalboardinstitute.com with any questions that you may have regarding Board Certification, JumpStart Academy, or the Component Learning Seminars.

What kind of support is available to me?

We offer differentiated support across the 25 certificate areas, which includes all 16 disciplines and six developmental levels spanning Pre-K through 12th grade.

Targeted support, identified as grant priorities, are offered through the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years in the domains of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), English as a New Language, and Exceptional Needs (special education). These targeted grant priority areas are historically difficult content areas to staff in Nevada.