National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and National Board Certification

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was created in 1987 with the following missions:

  1. Maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do
  2. Providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards
  3. Advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers

They offer a voluntary form of teacher certification referred to as National Board Certification or, less commonly National Board Teacher Certification. It is not necessary to be able to teach in the United States, but offers perks and distinctions that a normal state issued teacher certification does not. The NBPTS follows what they call the five core propositions involved in accomplished teaching.

  1. Teacher are Committed to Students and their Learning
  2. Teachers Know the Subjects They Teach and How to Teach Those Subjects to Students.
  3. Teachers are Responsible for Managing and Monitoring Student Learning.
  4. Teachers Think Systematically about Their Practice and Learn from Experience.
  5. Teachers are Members of Learning Communities.

These core propositions are largely reflected in the standards for certification. The NBPTS offers certification in 25 different subject areas from art, to science, to generalist certifications. A complete list along with details can be found at the NBPTS’ National Board Certification subject page. In addition to the core propositions, each subject is appointed a committee of exemplary teachers in their field who determine the appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be considered for National Board Certification. A list of subject specific standards can be found on the NBPTS website. To be eligible for an NBPTS certification you must:

  1. Hold a bachelors degree
  2. Have completed at least 3 full years of teaching/counseling experience
  3. Possess a valid state teaching/counseling license for that period of time, or, if teaching where a license is not required, have taught in schools recognized and approved to operate by the state

To apply for National Board certification in the category most appropriate for your skills and aspirations head to the application section of the NBPTS’ website. It would be in your best interest to get started on the process early as it can take up to three years before your National Board Certification is all said and done.

While this form of certification may not fully substitute for a state specific teacher certification, it may help you to transfer your certification between states and offer other interesting perks such as bonuses and incentive rewards. To find out more information on what benefits a National Board Certification can offer you in your state, visit the NBPTS state resources page.

In addition to the National Board Certification offered by the NBPTS, they are working on programs for Advanced Principal Certification (to be ready in 2011) and Teacher Leader Certification which is currently in the development process.