Fact Sheet No. 22-02 (replaces 18-04)
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was proposed in 1985 by Albert Shanker, legendary union leader, as a voluntary national certification body for teachers, by teachers, akin to board certification for physicians. The Carnegie Foundation established and funded NBPTS in 1987 to begin research and development on just how to certify teachers; it started the actual certification process in 1994.
The Board was created as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental body with a majority of teacher members. The mission of the National Board is to advance student learning and achievement by establishing the definitive standards and systems for certifying accomplished educators, providing programs and advocating policies that support excellence in teaching and leading, and engaging National Board certified teachers and leaders in that process.
National Board Certification (NBC) was developed for teachers, by teachers, as a voluntary advanced teaching credential representing professional acknowledgement of accomplished teaching practice in 25 certificate areas. For each subject area, National Board Standards and performance-based assessments are developed by outstanding educators in that field who draw upon their expertise, research on best practices, and feedback from their professional peers and the education community.
Candidates can choose from twenty-five areas defined by subject and students’ developmental level (pre–K thru Grade 12 - see page 7). Each certificate is organized around the National Board’s Teaching Standards and the Five Core Propositions. These form the foundation and frame the rich amalgam of knowledge, skills, dispositions and beliefs that characterize National Board Certified Teachers across all certification areas.
NBPTS eligibility requires candidates to:
- possess a bachelor’s degree, and
- have completed three full years of teaching or school counseling, and
- possess a valid state teaching or school counselor license.
National Board Certification in New York State (NYS)
Since 1995, 2,224 teachers in NYS have achieved National Board Certification. Nationally, more than 130,000 teachers have achieved National Board Certification representing three percent of the national teaching population.
Pursuing National Board Certification
National Board Certification is a highly respected, voluntary credential that provides numerous benefits to teachers, students and schools. It was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools. The National Board standards can serve as a significant component of professional learning, supporting improvements in teaching and learning and enhancing teacher effectiveness.
It allows teachers to hone their practice, showcase their talent in the classroom, and demonstrate dedication to their students and their profession. The National Board Certification process is aligned with NYS Teaching Standards and fulfills the 100 hours of required Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) for professionally certified teachers (provided that the CTLE certificate holder continues to meet the applicable required CTLE requirements in language acquisition.)
Pursuing Board certification affords teachers the opportunity to become part of a larger network of accomplished teachers shaping the profession. During the process, candidates reflect on best practices in their content area, with their students and find immediate classroom applications of their learning.
Many districts and teacher unions in NYS have collectively bargained financial incentives, including salary steps, for educators who achieve Board certification (See page 6 for list). School and district administrators and union leaders often look for NBCTs to serve in teacher leadership roles.
Members can also earn up to 12 graduate credits through SUNY Empire State College through NYSUT’s Education & Learning Trust. Members receive 40% discount off tuition rates through ELT.
National Board Certification Process
Candidates for National Board Certification are required to complete four components in all certificate areas: three portfolio entries (submitted online) and one computer-based assessment (administered at a local testing center). Components can be completed in a single year or stretched across three years.
An annual registration fee of $75 must be paid online. There are scoring rubrics for each component and each certificate area. Score results are reported annually by December 31. Score reports are sent privately to candidates, along with information to help unsuccessful candidates decide which components to retake. After submission of all four components, candidates have two additional years to retake portions of component 1 or other components in their entirety. Retake fees range from $125 to $475. *Candidates have up to two (2) retake attempts for each component, and retake years do not have to be concurrent or consecutive. Score reliability is maintained by standardized scoring protocols observed by trained and experienced content experts and NBCTs.
Table 1: NBCT Components
1. Content Knowledge
Knowledge of developmentally appropriate content
Computer Based Assessment:
3 constructed response (CR) exercises @ 30 min each and 45 selected response (SR) @ 60 min
March - June
$475 (first attempt)
$125 for retake per section (CR)
2. Differentiation in Instruction
choices to support student growth over time
Classroom Based Portfolio:
Lesson plans and student work samples showing growth over time with written analysis of instructional choices
April - May
3. Teaching Practice and Learning Environment
Student engagement and teacher impact on learning
Classroom Based Portfolio: Video(s) of teacher/ student interactions demonstrating engagement and impact on learning with written description, analysis and reflection
April - May
4. Effective and Reflective Practitioner
Use of assessment and impact of professional learning communities
Evidence of data use in professional learning and responsibilities to impact student learning.
April - May
Albert Shanker Grant
With NYSUT’s strong support, the Legislature and Governor enacted Part 86 Section 3004-2 of Education Law, establishing the NYS Albert Shanker Grant Program to support candidate fees and supportive activities at up to $2,500.00 per grant award. Funding for the Shanker Grant is limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis for candidates seeking their first National Board Certification.
To be eligible for the NYSED Albert Shanker Grant, candidates MUST:
- be employed as a full-time teacher in a NYS public school;
- hold a valid New York State teaching certificate;
- hold tenure in his/her current position;
- commit to and actually complete the entirety of the initial NBPTS candidacy effort;
- commit to teaching full-time in a New York public school for at least one (1) full school year following completion of the initial grant period;
- apply for NBPTS certification, pay for the first component and annual registration fee;
- apply for the Albert Shanker Grant.
• Public school teachers not holding tenure and teachers in non-public schools (including charter schools that do not have an LEA public school district) are not eligible for the Shanker Grant.
• Shanker Grant recipients must agree to remain employed in a NYS public school district for at least one year after receiving National Board Certification.
After a candidate completes the National Board process, the candidate is eligible to be reimbursed for the cost of their first component provided that the candidate did not receive any form of reimbursement for their first component from any other source. Candidates will be eligible to submit for reimbursement after NYSED has received official notification from National Board at the end of a cycle.
School District Reimbursement for Support Services
Each eligible teacher’s sponsoring school district shall be eligible to receive a direct reimbursement from the department in an amount up to $500 to cover the cost of supportive services, which may include the cost of hiring a substitute teacher for up to three days or the duration of such eligible teacher’s approval leave, whichever is less. To qualify for such a reimbursement, a sponsoring school district may find information and the required documentation to submit on the NYS Albert Shanker grant webpage.
NYSUT’s Education and Learning Trust
The Education & Learning Trust (ELT) offers courses to support candidates in the National Board process from SUNY Empire State College. Candidates earn three graduate credits per course for up to 12 credits. NYSUT members receive 40% discount on ELT’s current tuition rate. ELT also offers numerous seminars and courses to augment content knowledge and best practices.
NYS Teacher Centers
NYS Teacher Centers are annually funded regional or district based professional learning providers. Many Teacher Centers provide National Board Support Groups, Candidate Support Providers Training and Summer Institute. Research indicates higher rates of certification for teachers pursuing National Board Certification in cohorts with supportive colleagues. Candidates should contact their local regional NYS Teacher Center for resources to support NBCTs.
Certificate Renewal/Maintenance of Certification
As of 2017, NBCTs who wish to renew must complete a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) prior to the expiration date of the certificate at five (5) year intervals and can only renew certification in the original certificate area. Work on the MOC may begin as early as year 2 of the current certification period. Prior to 2016, National Board Certification was issued for a period of ten years and was renewable through the National Board Profile of Professional Growth process. Beginning in 2021, all NBCT’s will also transfer to the MOC process as their certificates expire. The MOC fee is $495.00 for each attempt.
The Maintenance of Certification is evaluated by two independent NBCTs who holistically evaluate the component and reflection as a single entity. Based on the entire body of evidence submitted, the evaluating NBCTs render a single decision—to renew or not renew—using criteria specified in the rubric for renewal certification. The criteria, identical for all candidates regardless of certificate area, can be found online here. According to NBPTS, "We expect that over 90% of NBCTs will successfully demonstrate they are maintaining certification based on success rates from Renewal, the basis of MOC."
NY State Licensing/Certification and National Board Certification
State teacher credentialing programs set the basic requirements to teach in each state; NYS Commissioner’s Regulations establish entry level and certificate maintenance requirements for the teaching profession in New York State. National Board Certification represents the attainment of an additional professional voluntary credential.
Through the National Board Certification process, teachers demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. Achievement of National Board Certification signifies that teachers have developed and demonstrated the skills required of an accomplished education professional.
- Nationally Board Certified Teachers: NBCT’s may obtain a New York State teaching certificate in a comparable title through the National Board Pathway. Most National Board certificate titles correspond to New York State certificate titles. To determine which certificate titles are accepted, refer to NBPTS Certificate Titles and Comparable NYS Certificate Titles.
- Continuing Certification: Teachers holding a NYS Professional Certificate are required to successfully complete 100 clock hours of professional learning every five (5) years in order to maintain continued certification. A teacher in NYS holding a valid National Board Certificate is deemed to have satisfied the CTLE requirement to complete 100 hours to maintain a teaching certificate during the five-year registration period within which NBC was attained (provided that the CTLE certificate holder continues to meet the applicable required CTLE requirements in language acquisition).
Related Programs and Supports
NYS Teachers of Tomorrow (TOT) legislation includes the NYS Master Teacher Program. Districts receiving TOT funds may choose to utilize some of these funds to provide a stipend for a NBCT hired to teach in a high-needs school. Additional information is available from SED.
Salary Differentials/Stipends/Steps: Thanks to the efforts of local leaders in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, school districts in NYS provide support and other financial incentives to teachers participating in the NBC process and/or achieving the certification (See page 6). These range from one-time stipends to annual stipends or differentials over and above the regular salary for the ten-year life of the certificate. Some locally negotiated provisions require professional services from the NBCT in teacher leadership positions such as coaching or mentoring or other mutually agreed upon service. Incentives can increase a NBCT’s salary by steps on a negotiated salary scale or provide a salary differential .
Certificate of Graduate Study: Some NYS higher education institutions offer support of National Board Certification through a NYSED approved Certificate of Graduate Study in Teacher Leadership or Certificates of Advanced Study in Teacher Leadership, such as the University at Albany. Candidates can earn Certificates of Graduate Study, which may provide additional compensation according to the negotiating collective bargaining agreement.
College Credit: Candidates may also earn up to 12 graduate credits from SUNY Empire State College through NYSUT ELT. NYSUT members receive a 40% discount on current tuition rates. Some districts provide additional compensation for graduate credits, depending on the locally-negotiated contract.
NYSUT Locals with Negotiated Incentives
These NYSUT locals have reported negotiated incentives for NBPTS candidates and NBCTs.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
Capital Region- BOCES
Cherry Valley Springfield
Corning Painted Post
East Syracuse Minoa
Half Hollow Hills
Honeoye Falls Lima
Madison Oneida BOCES
New York City (UFT)
Northport East Northport
Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES
Ravena Coeymans Selkirk
Saratoga Adirondack BOCES
Schenectady Albany Schoharie BOCES
South Glens Falls
Sullivan County BOCES
TST (Tompkins Seneca Tioga) BOCES
Van Hornesville-Owen D. Young
Vernon Verona Sherrill
Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES
Westchester BOCES (Putnam/Westchester)
Windham Ashland Jewett
Bold = New
Twenty-five National Board Certification Areas
National Board Certification is available in 25 certificate areas representing 16 different disciplines and six developmental levels.
National Board Five Core Propositions
- Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
- Teachers are dedicated to making knowledge accessible to all students. They believe all students can learn.
- Teachers treat students equitably. They recognize the individual differences that distinguish their students from one another and they take account for these differences in their practice.
- Teachers understand how students develop and learn.
- Teachers respect the cultural and family differences students bring to their classroom.
- Teachers are concerned with their students’ self-concept, their motivation and the effects of learning on peer relationships.
- Teachers are also concerned with the development of character and civic responsibility.
- Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
- Teachers have mastery over the subject(s) they teach. They have a deep understanding of the history, structure and real-world applications of the subject.
- Teachers have skill and experience in teaching it, and they are very familiar with the skills gaps and preconceptions students may bring to the subject.
- Teachers are able to use diverse instructional strategies to teach for understanding.
- Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
- Teachers deliver effective instruction. They move fluently through a range of instructional techniques, keeping students motivated, engaged and focused.
- Teachers know how to engage students to ensure a disciplined learning environment, and how to organize instruction to meet instructional goals.
- Teachers know how to assess the progress of individual students as well as the class as a whole.
- Teachers use multiple methods for measuring student growth and understanding, and they can clearly explain student performance to parents.
- Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
- Teachers model what it means to be an educated person – they read, they question, they create and they are willing to try new things.
- Teachers are familiar with learning theories and instructional strategies and stay abreast of current issues in American education.
- Teachers critically examine their practice on a regular basis to deepen knowledge, expand their repertoire of skills, and incorporate new findings into their practice.
- Teachers are members of learning communities.
- Teachers collaborate with others to improve student learning.
- Teachers are leaders and actively know how to seek and build partnerships with community groups and businesses.
- Teachers work with other professionals on instructional policy, curriculum development and staff development.
- Teachers can evaluate school progress and the allocation of resources in order to meet state and local education objectives.
- Teachers know how to work collaboratively with parents to engage them productively in the work of the school.
Questions and Answers for NYSUT Local Leaders
Q. Why should locals encourage the participation of members in the National Board Certification (NBC) process?
A. National Board Certification is performance-based, standards-based, voluntary professional learning emphasizing teaching practices involving reflecting, analyzing, and documenting. It recognizes the important relationships between specific teaching practices and student work. NBCTs can make important contributions in the continuum of a district’s Professional Development Plan as PDP committee members, mentors, coaches, and/or resource persons. NBCTs serve on NYSUT statewide task forces, subject area committees, as instructors for NYSUT’s Education & Learning Trust program, and on other advisory groups and panels. Several NBCTs are NYSUT local presidents.
Q. Why should teachers who already have NYS certification and advanced degrees be interested in NBC?
A. National Board Certification is an acknowledgement of accomplished teaching practice through a rigorous peer-reviewed certification process. It is sought voluntarily, and the extensive documentation required is assessed anonymously according to national standards by specially trained teachers with no knowledge of the candidate and where she/he teaches. NBC is a way of validating strong teaching and raising the level of conversation about teaching practice in schools and districts because it focuses on standards addressing various subjects and content along with the multiple developmental levels of school children. The NB process can be linked to a district’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) through collective bargaining, but it is free of the opinions of school and district administrators.
Q. Isn’t the National Board process expensive?
A. Under NYS Education Law 3004-a and Part 86 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, the Albert Shanker Grant provides fee support for National Board Certification. In addition, approximately a third of NYSUT locals have negotiated additional candidate support mechanisms.
Q. Do NBCTs teach differently, and does that impact student learning?
A. Recent research documents the positive impact of NBCTs on students in a variety of school settings. Simply stated, it seems that analysis and reflection on teaching practice result in changes in instruction that lead to measurable changes in student achievement.
Q. Are there any consequences for the candidate and a school district if the candidate doesn’t achieve NBC?
A. No. Candidates who did not attain NBC report that the experience was extremely beneficial for them in the day-to-day conduct of their teaching practice. It is meaningful and rewarding professional learning. As is the case in certain other professions, the NB process permits the banking of successful scores and component retakes, so there are additional opportunities to achieve Certification after the initial effort. A significant number of NBCTs become certified as a result of “advanced candidacy.” The candidate’s achievement rate increases every year.
Q. What are some ways or resources locals can provide support for National Board candidates?
A. The following is a list of supports, including equipment, to assist candidates in obtaining this credential:
- access to a support group
- PZM microphone
- laptop computer
- a jump drive (flash drive) or memory card
- video-camera or iPad
- 3 release days: 1 for support group, 1 for writing retreat, 1 for uploading the portfolio or attending the assessment center exercises
- access to a copier or scanner
- in-service credit for hours documented in the support group
- recognition for completing components
- encouragement to become an advanced candidate
- recognition for achieving
How can collective bargaining be used as a tool to recognize NB candidacy and provide supports to candidates pursing National Board Certification?
A. More than 265 NYSUT locals report successful negotiations for support and/or incentives for participation in and achievement of National Board Certification. While NYSUT continues to aggressively pursue recognition by NYS for the accomplishments of its NBCTs, local bargaining is a way in which newly emerging professional learning needs of members can be addressed. For information on bargaining NB provisions, contact your local’s NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist at your NYSUT Regional Office or Susan Lafond Susan.Lafond@nysut.org in NYSUTs Research
and Educational Services, 800-528-6208.
Resources for Teachers and Local Leaders
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
NBPTS Candidate Center
NYS Education Department Office of Higher Education
Albert Shaker Grant Program Administrator 518-474-3719 Fax: 518-474-7468
Albert Shanker Grant and Candidate Support Program
New York State Teacher Centers
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)
Research and Educational Services
NYSUT National Board Web Page
NYSUT Education & Learning Trust
Updated January 2022