Fast Facts #3
National Board Certification

What is National Board Certification?

National Board Certification (NBC) is an advanced teaching credential and a challenging professional development experience offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Who is eligible for National Board Certification?

To be eligible for National Board Certification, a candidate must:

  • Have a minimum of three years teaching experience K-12
  • Possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution for
  • Hold a valid state teaching license for each of the three years of teaching experience

Why do teachers seek National Board Certification?

Almost universally, the National Board Certified teachers agree that the certification process is the most meaningful professional development experience of their careers. The assessment process is rigorous, thought provoking and powerful in causing teachers to reflect upon how they engage their students in learning and how they constantly improve their teaching skills.

What is the assessment process based on?

The NBPTS has five core propositions that guided the development of standards for each of the certification areas. Those core propositions are:

  • Teachers are committed to students and their learning
  • Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students
  • Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning
  • Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience
  • Teachers are members of learning communities


What is the assessment process like?

The assessment process is two-fold. The first component asks the teacher to develop a portfolio reflecting various aspects of their teaching. Candidates compile evidence of how their teaching practice meets National Board standards by submitting student work, videotapes of classroom interaction, and written commentaries. There are four exercises within the portfolio component of the assessment process.

The second part of the process takes place at an assessment center, currently Sylvan Learning Centers, where computer-based exercises (six) focus on content knowledge as well as age-appropriate and content-appropriate teaching strategies. Teachers demonstrate their knowledge with written responses to prompts or stimulus materials, like journal articles and student work samples.

Candidates report that the National Board’s assessments focus more on teaching and learning than any other “test” they have been exposed to. Many say it was the most rigorous but helpful professional development growth experience they have ever had.


Why doesn’t everyone apply for National Board Certification?

There are several reasons why teachers may not seek NBC.

  1. National Board Certification is an advanced teaching certificate. The rigor of the process may not be something every teacher chooses or is able to undertake. The process seeks to recognize highly accomplished teaching.
  2. The cost of applying for National Board Certification is $2,500. While there is some fee support through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the U.S. government, some of the costs are borne by the applicant.
  3. The length of time needed to prepare for the portfolio and assessment portions of the process is substantial. Some NBTs report spending over 300 hours preparing for the process. Combined with the expenses of the process, some accomplished teachers may feel unable to seek National Board Certification.
  4. The lack of a significant incentive in Missouri deters many teachers from pursuing NBC. Many states pay the full fee, provide substitute expenses so candidates can work on their portfolios, provide technical assistance and acknowledge those that achieve NBC with a significant salary stipend. Recognizing National Board Certified teachers with additional compensation has dramatically increased participation in many states where salary incentives exist.

Does Missouri provide support and incentives?


Through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, most, but not all, of the application fee is provided through a blend of federal and state funds for 100 candidates.  However, each year the amount of that support can vary.

Candidates who do not receive the state/federal subsidy must pay $2,500 on their own.  NEA has loans available to members at a low interest rate. For more information call 1-800-545-4094.
The Missouri State Board of Education announced in March of 1999 that all NBTs would be eligible for a $5,000 salary stipend  through the career ladder program. Those that achieve NBC are automatically placed on Step 3 of the Missouri Career Ladder Program which provides a $5,000 salary supplement each year. NBTs not teaching in a district that participates in Career Ladder may petition their district to participate in the special NBC Career Ladder incentive. Teachers who seek NBC in Career Ladder districts may already be at the Step 3 level, but the SBDE will require no career ladder responsibilities of the NBC teachers to receive the $5,000. In some cases, NBTs have been excluded from receiving the salary recognition because their districts choose not to participate in the special NBC Career Ladder Option.

What can you do to support NBC in Missouri?

At the district level, discuss National Board fee and technical support with your local school board and administration. Some districts are negotiating salary recognition and release time support. One district is including a salary category on their salary schedule just for National Board certified teachers.

At the state level support the legislation offering financial incentives to NBC teachers.

Get involved in the Missouri NEA NBC Support System. All seminars are free to MNEA members. To gather more information about NBC attend one of the one-day National Board Certification Seminars.   

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