Educator Development and Equity

National Board Certification

Published: 4/15/2024 9:18 AM

What is National Board Certification?

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was established in 1987 as the teaching profession’s vehicle for defining and recognizing accomplished teaching. National Board Certification, which is built upon National Board Standards and the National Board’s Five Core Propositions, is the profession’s mark of accomplished teaching. To date, more than 112,000 teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have achieved National Board Certification.  

Are you interested in becoming a National Board Certified Teacher? Watch this video​ to see if you are eligible! ​


National Board Certified Teachers in Kentucky

Kentucky recognized 103 teachers newly certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) during a Feb. 8 ceremony.

Kentucky has the 10th-largest class of new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in the country, and the Commonwealth now has 4,373 NBCTs overall. This year, 253 Kentucky educators opted to renew their certification as well.

“National Board Certified Teachers are the best of the best,” said Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman. “Earning this distinction is not easy and proves these educators’ commitment to their students and dedication to their careers.”

The road to obtaining National Board certification is challenging; the process requires nearly 400 hours of time and effort to achieve. Educators must submit a detailed portfolio that includes examples of student work, an outline of what teachers have done outside of the classroom to improve student achievement and video recordings that show how they teach and interact with students. In addition, they must submit a reflective piece on student assessment and learning and then take a rigorous exam to demonstrate they have mastered the content of their chosen certification area.

“We are honored to have such a robust class of National Board Certified Teachers in the Commonwealth,” said Interim Commissioner of Education Robin Fields Kinney. “The designation ensures our children are receiving the highest-quality education from the highest-quality teachers, who truly deserve our respect after working to achieve such an honor.”

National Board certification is voluntary and open to all teachers currently teaching with a state-issued license. Certification can be issued after three years of teaching experience. Certification is available in 25 certificate areas, from preschool through 12th grade.

“Our work at the National Board is based on the belief that every child deserves to be taught by an accomplished teacher,” said Peggy Brookins, president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. “When accomplished practice becomes the norm, the advantage will be significant, spreading beyond students and teachers to be felt by their communities, employers and society at-large.”

Kentucky has strong statewide support for National Board certification. NBCTs are entitled to an annual $2,000 salary bonus for the life of their certificate. Upon successful completion of National Board certification, Kentucky teachers currently holding a Rank II certificate are eligible to apply for Rank I status, and those currently holding a Rank III certificate are eligible to apply for Rank II.​

For more information about National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and KY NBCT guidelines for certification, visit the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards webpage and the KDE National Board Certification webpage.

The Feb. 8 ceremony was hosted by the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky NBCT Network. ​

​​View the slideshow below to see the names of the teachers who earned Maintenance of Certification or a new National Board Certification. 


Why become ​National Board Certified?

"Recognized as the gold standard in teacher certification, the National Board believes higher standards for teachers means better learning for students” (NBPTS webpage). Research shows that the students ​​of Board-certified teachers learn more than students in other classrooms, which is why many states and districts, including Kentucky, offer incentives for teachers to pursue Board certification. Furthermore, the Kentucky General Assembly found that: 
  • Student achievement is directly related to a teacher’s ability to nurture learning
  • All students are entitled to have teachers who know the subjects they teach and who demonstrate skill to manage and monitor student learning
  • Teachers need support and opportunity to develop higher-level skills throughout their careers
  • National Board certification is based upon high and rigorous standards and provides a process of development and assessment of teachers’ knowledge, skill and ability
  • And that teachers who successfully meet National Board certification requirements strengthen the teaching profession by mentoring new teachers, serving as role models and master teachers for teacher candidates, and assisting other teachers who seek National Board certification.


National Board logo

Legislative Update Regarding National Board Certification and Rank Change​

Senate Bill 174 signed by Governor Andy Beshear on April 24, 2020, amends KRS 161.1211 to allow National Board certification to qualify a teacher for Rank II status and updates the Rank I requirements to reflect this change. Teachers who are currently Rank III and have obtained National Board certification may submit an application for rank change using their EPSB account to obtain Rank II status, in addition to those seeking to change from Rank II to Rank I.

General Resources

Jocelyne Waddle
Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness
Division of Educator Recruitment and Development
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-1479 Ext. 4540
Fax (502) 564-4007

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