Professional Learning

Why You Should Consider National Board Certification

NBCT ribbon

It’s August, the month when teachers all over the U.S. will begin their journey through National Board Certification. Ahead of them are nine months of hard work, followed by six months of waiting for their scores.

It is a grueling and difficult process, but one that will result in amazing growth for the educators involved. It will be uncomfortably ambiguous and tediously precise. It will also be totally worth it. I know, because I went through the process myself a few years ago. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done as an educator.

Here is why you should consider becoming a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT).

paint trays

Several years back, I was looking for a way to grow as an educator. I was at a crossroads. Should I get a master’s degree? Should I pursue another endorsement to add to my teaching license? After much deliberation, I chose to pursue National Board Certification. I am confident it was the right choice.

What is National Board Certification?

National Board Certification is a rigorous certification process developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or NBPTS. The NBPTS has adopted standards of accomplished teaching, developed by and for teachers. There is a unique set of standards for 25 different certificates, including two certificates for art educators.

The process includes analysis of video and work samples and a series of tests. Through these tests and analyses, candidates must prove they have met the standards of accomplished teaching for their certificate area.

What is so great about the process?

NBCT ribbon

National Board Certification is some of the most relevant professional development you can pursue.

It’s true the process is arduous. I’ve never met an NBCT who described it as easy. Every candidate gets frustrated at times. What makes it all worthwhile is that it is tailored to each individual’s teaching context. Teachers are asked to demonstrate how they effectively meet the needs of their unique students. There is nothing generic about it. Each teacher’s journey is unique.

It challenges you to grow.

Every step of the process is personalized. There are no shortcuts. Because of this, candidates are forced to dig deep and be reflective. This helps teachers work toward becoming the best educators they can be. In the end, I was a stronger and more sensitive teacher than when I began. The effect is long-term as well. I still benefit from what I learned every day, and continue to grow as a result.

It opens doors to leadership.

Much like becoming board-certified in law and medicine, becoming an NBCT is respected as the standard of quality in education. My journey through National Board Certification set me on a path to many exciting professional leadership opportunities. Becoming an NBCT helped me step out of my classroom and expand my influence as an educator. I now work with teachers across my state in a variety of different ways. This path to leadership began the day I made the choice to become an NBCT.

You become part of a network of passionate educators committed to advancing the profession.

Since becoming certified, I have met many amazing NBCTs. They love what they do. They want to help make teaching the respected profession it should be. In short, they are some of the most committed and positive teachers I’ve ever met. They give back to the profession in many different ways. It’s empowering to be part of this group of educators who are working hard to advance the profession.

Becoming an NBCT was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I am passionate about spreading the word about the power of becoming board certified. There are many reasons to become an NBCT not mentioned above. Some states provide raises and bonuses, and it is much less expensive than a master’s degree. The most powerful benefit, though, is the growth experienced by the teachers who take on the challenge.

Are you an NBCT? What did becoming certified do for you as a teacher?

What questions do you have about becoming an NBCT?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Anne-Marie Slinkman

Anne-Marie Slinkman, an elementary school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about providing relevant and meaningful art experiences for all students.

More from Anne-Marie