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National Board Certification for Educators

Becoming a National Board Certified teacher is a highly regarded accomplishment for educators. Indeed, the National Education Association (NEA) — the country’s largest education labor union — believes that a certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is “a valuable professional development option for experienced teachers” and has been a longtime supporter of the organization. The National Board is a nationwide, independent non-profit that “[works] to advance accomplished teaching for all students.”

A National Board Certification is voluntary but has a lot of utility, even for experienced educators. The certification process can be a “powerful learning experience” for teachers — regardless of whether or not they achieve the certification, according to the NEA. Members of the NEA can also “attest to the positive effects the National Board Certification process has on their classroom practices,” and research has increasingly connected “National Board Certification with improved student achievement.”

Given the comprehensive and demanding nature of the certification process, preparation is key. Emporia State University’s online Master of Science (MS) in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) – National Board Certification PreK-12 program offers not just a robust curriculum of theory and practice but also a specific area of concentration courses to prepare educators for the review process to a National Board Certification.

While pursuing a National Board Certification is time-consuming, certification offers various benefits to educators, as outlined by the National Board and the NEA.

Direct Effects on Students

As mentioned, the National Board points to a decade-plus of research showing that educators who are National Board Certified have a more positive effect on their students’ learning. Studies have even found that the positive outcomes of having a Board-certified teacher can be “even greater for high-need students.”

Relevant Professional Development

Committees of fellow educators formulate the National Board Standards and certification process. With professional peers from different parts of the field working together to create these principles and practices, educators find professional development opportunities that are timely and meaningful to them.

Improved Teacher Practices

Reflection is a critical part of the certification process, offering teachers a chance to consider the mechanics of their classrooms and teaching practices without the distractions and rigors of day-to-day teaching responsibilities. Many educators report a notable shift in their instructional practices after studying the National Board standards. For example, one high school teacher from Texas told the Texas Classroom Teachers Association that the Standards “really motivated me as part of finishing the certification program to dig into my teaching and think about how to improve it.”

Creates Professional Opportunities

Achieving a Board Certification can also create new opportunities for educators to grow into their roles and fields. Given their additional training, Board-certified teachers often become leaders in their schools or districts, such as instructional coaches, department chairs and administrators.

Financial Benefits

As with many professional training programs in education, obtaining a National Board Certification often comes with additional compensation in many school districts. In addition to salary or bonus incentives for pursuing a National Board Certification, districts sometimes offer fee support, time off, conditional loans and other forms of assistance to work toward achieving certification.

The National Board Certification follows the Five Core Propositions, which it describes as “comparable to medicine’s Hippocratic Oath.” These guidelines, established in 1989 and last updated in 2016, form the foundation of the process:

  • Proposition 1: Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
  • Proposition 2: Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
  • Proposition 3: Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring students’ learning.
  • Proposition 4: Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
  • Proposition 5: Teachers are members of learning communities.

Coursework in the MS in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) — National Board Certification PreK-12 online program is similarly guided by these propositions to best prepare graduates for the rigorous certification process. Aspiring Board-certified teachers will receive advice for navigating the entire process, from content knowledge to instructional practices.

Learn more about Emporia State University’s online MS in C&I – National Board Certification PreK-12 program.

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