National Board For Professional Teaching Standards

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) provides a voluntary certification process for experienced classroom teachers.  While state licensing systems set basic requirements for teachers, the National Board gives teachers the opportunity to demonstrate advanced practice.  The process is available to teachers who have completed at least three full years of teaching and takes most of a year to complete.  NBPTS currently includes 24 certification areas.  To become certified as "accomplished" by the NBPTS, teachers (who are called candidates) submit a series of portfolio entries in which they present and reflect on their practice against standards specific to their area and which are based on the Board's core propositions:

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

In addition to submitting portfolio entries, the National Board process includes an on-demand test at an assessment center. Candidates who do not certify may "bank" passing scores and re-submit portfolio entries and/or re-take assessments the following year.

The NBPTS Portfolio at UW Bothell

UW Bothell students who elect to use the NBPTS portfolio as their M.Ed. culminating project participate in a candidate support group during the autumn and winter quarters. This group meets at least four hours a month to build an understanding of the standards and portfolio requirements, engage in problem-solving discussions around teaching and learning, and critique one another's work. The candidate support group is facilitated by a member of the UW Bothell faculty and a National Board Certified teacher.  It includes teachers from surrounding districts as well as teachers from UW Bothell.  The UW Bothell candidate support group is part of a larger organization of support groups organized through UW Seattle, and currently led by Julie Kang (  Candidates in the support group also attend four Saturday morning workshops that provide an opportunity for Puget Sound teachers from different regions to meet together by certificate areas.

UW Bothell students must complete at least 30 credits of coursework before the autumn quarter of their candidacy year.  Autumn and winter or spring registration in BEDUC 595, completion of a NBPTS portfolio and exemplary participation in the portfolio process/candidate support group is required for graduation.   NBPTS certification is not a requirement for graduation.

Financial Information

BEDUC 595 - Professional Portfolio, National Board - is taken for 3-5 variable credits for autumn and winter or spring quarter.  Students who take 5 credits each quarter are eligible for financial aid.  

The fee for pursuing National Board certification is currently set at $2,500. Scholarships from various companies are available. Candidates can also apply for a conditional interest free loan from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Applications are posted in the spring here. One of the requirements for the state loan is that candidates participate in a recognized candidate support group.  The fees for these support groups range from $500 to $1000.  Because UW Bothell candidates are paying tuition for M.Ed. credits, there is no support group fee.

NBPTS Portfolio at UWB Timeline

Early in the M.Ed. Program

  • Talk to people who have completed National Board Certification to determine whether or not this is a process that you would like to do.   Candidates report that they spend between 200 and 400 hours on the certification process. It is a huge commitment and not a process for everyone.
  • Plan coursework so that you are sure that you will have completed requirements prior to the autumn that you want to begin the NBPTS support group.
  • Visit the National Board website ( to determine what certificate area you want to pursue and to plan what courses might help you succeed in the process.
  • Participate in leadership and professional development activities. This will help you acquire the "Documented Accomplishments" needed for Entry 4.

 Winter quarter prior to the candidacy year

  • Apply for National Board conditional loans from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).  Information is mailed from OSPI to schools and districts in January. Applications are due in February.  See for information.
  • Notify designated UW Bothell faculty (Nancy Place) that you intend to pursue NBPTS certification the following year.

Spring quarter prior to the candidacy year

  • Download and print portfolio information.  You may actually begin the portfolio process on April 1.
  • Make first payments to National Board and submit eligibility forms
  • Register and participate in Jumpstart, a WEA sponsored workshop designed to prepare NBPTS candidates for the portfolio.
  • Participate in one or two UW Bothell "pre-support group" meetings designed to prepare NBPTS candidates for work over the summer. 

End of summer prior to the candidacy year

  • Register for autumn quarter BEDUC 595

Autumn Quarter, candidacy year

  • Participate in UW Bothell Candidate Support Group
  • Participate in UW Seattle Saturday workshop for all UW Puget Sound candidates
  • Pay complete fee amount to National Board
  • Register for other UWB classes or take a leave from the M.Ed. program

Winter Quarter, candidacy year

  • Participate in UW Bothell Candidate Support Group
  • Participate in UW Seattle Saturday workshop for all UW Puget Sound candidates
  • Register for spring quarter BEDUC 595

Spring Quarter, Candidacy Year

  • Participate in  UW Bothell Candidate Support Group
  • Participate in UW Seattle Saturday Assessment Center workshop for all UW Puget Sound candidates
  • Take NBPTS assessments at the Assessment Center
  • Submit portfolio online by May 31

November-December Post Candidacy Year

  • Receive certification results


Did You Know?

Nine out of 10 of UW Bothell students are from the state of Washington.