10 Common Candidate Questions

Stumped? We've compiled 10 of the most common questions we get from first-time candidates, along with the answers.

1. Why did the National Board revise the certification process?

In order to remain the definitive standard for the profession, the National Board strives to ensure the certification process mirrors the evolving nature of the profession and current research on best teaching practices. We found it necessary to streamline the process by providing greater flexibility, efficiency, and access. Certification was last updated in 2001.

2. With the new revisions to the program, can a candidate still certify in one year?

No. Candidates who begin certification prior to the 2016-17 assessment cycle will not complete the process until all components are available. Once all components are available, completing National Board Certification may take anywhere from one to five years, depending on the approach you take. The following rules apply:

  • You must attempt each of the four components within the first three years of your candidacy.
  • There is no minimum or maximum score requirement to retake a component.
  • You have up to two retake attempts for each component and you can retake at any time during the five-year window; retake years do not have to be concurrent or consecutive.
  • You can have a year when you take no components; however, it does not extend your five year window. 
  • The highest score received for an individual component will always be used for total score calculation.

Please review the Guide to National Board Certification for more information.

3. I’ve taught in more than one school or district, how do I determine my years of employment? Does 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

4. I haven’t received notification that I was selected for the eligibility audit, should I go ahead and send in my eligibility verification forms now?

No. Only submit the Eligibility Verification Forms if it is specifically requested by the National Board. The National Board will routinely audit candidate records and request proof of meeting the eligibility prerequisites as outlined in the Guide to National Board Certification. If you are not selected to participate in the audit, do not submit the Eligibility Verification Forms.

5. I teach overseas. Am I eligible to apply?

The National Board has candidates from all over the globe participating in the process.  Go to the Candidate Resources section and review the Guide to National Board Certification and download the Eligibility Verification Forms to see if you meet the education, employment and licensure requirements.

There are several additional considerations for international candidates:

  • The assessment consists of two parts: the portfolio entries and a computer-based assessment. The computer-based assessment is only administered in the United States, some U.S. Territories, and Puerto Rico. Therefore, you would have to travel in order to complete the certification process.
  • The National Board will routinely audit candidate records and request proof of meeting the eligibility requirements. If you are randomly selected for an audit and will be verifying employment at an institution outside the United States, you must (1) complete and submit a Candidate Workplace Verification Form for that employer and (2) provide documentation from one of the accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. The Eligibility Verification Forms and Instructions list the two regional accrediting agencies that handle institutions outside the United States.
  • Your instruction must be delivered in English unless you are pursuing certification in World Languages or elect to exercise the Language Accommodations Policy (not available to candidates pursuing certification in English Language Arts or World Languages).

6. I am receiving third-party funding, how do I register for a component without paying?

To apply for National Board Certification, go to boardcertifiedteachers.org and complete the following actions:

  • Go to the First-time and Returning Candidatessection to review the certificate-specific standards, overviews of the certification components, and important policies and procedures in the Guide to National Board Certification.
  • Create an account and complete the registration application. There is a $75 non-refundable and nontransferable registration fee.
  • Select the components you'd like to complete. Payment is not due at the time of purchase; however you must complete the order process through Step 3 and click "Submit Order" for the component to be reflected on your account.

Note: You will receive automated payment reminders until your account is paid in full. It is your responsibility to ensure all payments are submitted by the established deadline.

7. 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. If scholarship funding is available, we will post a scholarship application to your National Board account. Log in to your account and select “Scholarship Application” from the left navigation menu to check availability. When available, candidates are required to request scholarship funding for each component individually. Funding is awarded on a first-come, first served basis and is not guaranteed. Please be prepared to submit all necessary fee payments by the established deadline regardless of your scholarship application status.

8. I just completed the registration process, when can I expect materials?

The National Board has transitioned to an entirely paperless process. There will be no hard copy mailing of instructions, forms, or letters. Assessment materials, including component instructions and rubrics, are available online at http://boardcertifiedteachers.org/certificate-areas; please review the Guide to National Board Certification, for an overview of the process. You should also start becoming intimately familiar with the two cornerstones of National Board Certification: The Five Core Propositions and the National Board Standards for your chosen certificate area.

9. 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 registration fee is charged once per assessment cycle and is required for each cycle in which a candidate will complete a component. Please review the Guide to National Board Certification

10. How will the retake process work?

When score results are reported, candidates will receive a score for each component attempted, as well as information to assist them in making decisions on whether or not to retake. Candidates will have two opportunities to retake after each initial attempt of a component.  As the revised certification process rolls out, candidates may simultaneously be registering to complete new components and retaking previously completed components. Note: Component 1: Content Knowledge consists of four individual sections which a candidate may or may not be required to retake.

For example, a candidate who completes components 1 in the 2014-15 cycle may elect to retake multiple sections of component 1and apply for component 3 in the 2015-16 cycle. For additional information on retaking refer to the Scoring Guide.