Why You Should Consider Becoming a National Board Certified Teacher

Matt Mixer, Executive Director Advocacy, Best Practices, Public Relations/Marketing, SHAPE America

The following article, written by Susan Leonard, Scottsdale Public Schools, was published as part of the SHAPE America Blog.


 March 12, 2020  Health & PE

As a rock star teacher, you may be searching for something to challenge you and move your practice to another level. Perhaps you’ve heard the term National Board Certification (NBC), but don’t really know what it means.

National Board Certification has been an educational revolution going on since 1987. I encourage you to learn more about the process — and then consider becoming a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) in Health Education or Physical Education.


The National Education Association defines National Board Certification as “a voluntary, advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure. NBC has national standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. The National Board certifies teachers who successfully complete its rigorous certification process.”

Certification is available in 16 different disciplines — including Health Education and Physical Education — and four developmental levels.

Health Education certificates are available for Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood.  Physical Education certificates are available for Early and Middle Childhood as well as Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood.


Becoming a National Board Certified Teacher will have a positive impact on both you and your students in many ways, such as:

  • Student Achievement — Research indicates that students of Board-certified teachers learn more than their peers who aren’t taught by an NBCT, and the positive impact of having a Board-certified teacher is even greater for minority and low-income students.
  • Commitment to Excellence — Schools with NBCTs are seen as having stronger teacher retention and involvement by the community.
  • Financial — More than half of all states offer free support, conditional loans and/or salary incentives to encourage teachers to pursue and achieve National Board Certification.
  • Respect — NBCTs are seen as experts and often sought out for leadership roles.
  • Validation — As health and physical educators, we strive to validate our content as academic.
  • “Oh…” Factor — It’s not uncommon in social situations to be asked what you do for a living. When you respond you’re a teacher, many times people excitedly respond, “Oh! What do you teach?” When I tell them I teach physical education, the response is a more tempered, “Oh…That’s nice.” There is no hierarchy in National Board Certification! Once you achieve certification, every NBCT, regardless of the certification area, will understand and respect the rigorous, equitable process you completed to demonstrate you are an accomplished teacher.

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