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National Board Certification

Good news! Iowa's National Board Certified Teachers receive $2,500 a year for 10 years.

National Board Certification allows teachers to be recognized for their highly accomplished teaching practices. In addition, Iowa Administrative Code provides an annual award of $2,500 to National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) for the ten-year-life of their certificate.

Who is eligible for National Board Certification?

Any individual who:

  • Holds a baccalaureate degree;
  • Has taught for at least three years; and 
  • Holds a valid state teaching license for the area in which he/she is teaching.

What is the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards?

The NBPTS board of directors, composed primarily of educators, has developed a system of advanced standards and assessments organized around five core propositions:

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

NBPTS has developed advanced standards based on these propositions in 25 certification fields.  Each set of standards represents consensus in the certification field for what makes an accomplished teacher.

How is the process for National Board Certification changing?

Beginning this year, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is revising the certification process.  The 2013-14 candidate cycle will be the final chance for the first-time candidates to apply using the current assessment procedures and timelines.

What does this mean to you?

Option 1:
  You could start your National Board Candidacy this fall 2013 using the existing certification procedures and could complete the process by the summer of 2014.  If you receive your National Board Certification in December 2014, you are eligible to receive Iowa's $2,500 annual award for 10 years beginning in June 2015.  In addition, the state will subsidize up to one-half of the $2,500 registration fee for those who apply by December 1, 2013.

Option 2: 
You could start your National Board candidacy when the revised certification process becomes available in the spring of 2014.  The new process will be grouped into four components.  The total cost of certification will decrease to about $1,900 with each of the four components costing no more than $500.  Candidates will have the option to pay for and submit each component separately.

It is anticipated that only two of the four components will be ready in 2014-15.  It is expected the remaining components will be rolled out over the next two years.  This means that the earliest possible opportunity to achieve National Board Certification under the revised process would be in 2017; and eligibility for the state's $2,500 annual award would be delayed until June 2018.

No matter which option you choose, ISEA will continue to offer two courses to support NBCT candidates:

Improving Teaching Through Reflections on National Standards: 
This course is a must for anyone considering going through the rigorous certification process or who has already decided to pursue National Board Certification.

Assessing Portfolio Entries:  This course is a follow-up to the first class.  It provides an opportunity for National Board candidates to meet with current NBCTs and other students to design portfolio entries, receive feedback, and have an opportunity to use the scoring rubric in analyzing entries.

Both classes can be taken for one hour of graduate credit, license renewal credit, or can be audited.  For more information about this year's locations for classes, visit the ISEA website at or contact Rhonda Plimmer (

What does it cost?

The current registration fee is $2,500 plus a $65 nonrefundable processing charge. The Iowa Department of Education will utilize NBPTS Candidate Subsidy funds to support candidates at 50 percent ($1,250) of the National Board Certification registration fee. The funds will be pro-rated if the number of applicants exceeds the available funding.

How do you apply?

Step 1):
  Apply to be an NBC candidate online at
(Be sure to print a copy of your application, as you will need to send a copy to the DE.)

Candidates are responsible for submitting the initial non-refundable $500 registration fee plus the non-refundable $65 processing fee by December 31, the NBPTS application deadline.

Note:  Be sure to include your email address on the application form.  All correspondence will be done by email.

Step 2):  To be eligible for the Iowa Department of Education to pay the $1,250 subsidy fee, you will need to go to the Iowa Department of Education's Web site at and register before the December 1 deadline.

Is there Financial Support available?

First-time candidates can be subsidized for up to one-half of the $2,500 registration fee ($1,250) by the state.  See the following subsidy instructions and application form for additional information:

2013 NBC Subsidy Instructions
2013 NBC Subsidy Application

For the latest list of scholarships offered  by corporations and foundations, special loans for members of National Education Association (NEA), and Financial Assistance for Veterans, access

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