Credentials that Count: The Influence of Board Certification on Effective Teaching 

Mark Gardner |
Editor's Note:  Mark Gardner, NBCT, is a high school English teacher in southwest Washington state working in a hybrid role that also allows him to work on professional development experiences for teachers. The views expressed in this blog are his own.

The Impact of Board Certification on Teacher Performance

What is Board Certification?

Board certification is a rigorous and voluntary process that allows teachers to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and competencies in their specific subject area or grade level. It is often considered the gold standard of teacher certification, as it goes above and beyond the requirements for standard teaching licenses.

Benefits of Board Certification

There are several benefits associated with board certification for teachers:

  • Increased Professional Development: Board certification requires teachers to engage in ongoing professional development activities, which enhances their teaching skills and keeps them updated with the latest research and best practices.
  • Enhanced Classroom Instruction: Board-certified teachers have a deeper understanding of their subject matter and are able to apply more effective instructional strategies in the classroom. This leads to improved student performance and engagement.
  • Recognition and Prestige: Board certification is highly regarded in the education community and is often a symbol of excellence. It demonstrates a teacher's commitment to maintaining high standards and continuous improvement.

The Impact on Student Achievement

Research has consistently shown that board-certified teachers have a positive impact on student achievement. Studies have found that students taught by board-certified teachers consistently outperform their peers on standardized tests and show greater academic growth over the course of a school year.

Challenges and Misconceptions

While board certification offers numerous benefits, there are also challenges and misconceptions surrounding the process:

  • Time and Financial Commitment: Board certification requires teachers to invest time and money into the application process, which can be a deterrent for some educators.
  • Availability and Access: Board certification programs may not be available in all states or subject areas, limiting the opportunities for teachers to pursue this certification.
  • Perceived Exclusivity: Some teachers may believe that board certification is only for a select few, leading to a perception of exclusivity and creating a divide among educators.


Board certification plays a crucial role in elevating teacher performance and improving student outcomes. By recognizing and rewarding highly accomplished teachers, it promotes ongoing professional growth and fosters a culture of continuous improvement in the field of education. While board certification is not the sole determinant of effective teaching, it is a significant factor that contributes to high-quality instruction and student success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for obtaining board certification?

The process for obtaining board certification varies depending on the certifying organization. It typically involves submitting an application, providing evidence of meeting specific requirements, and completing a rigorous assessment or examination.

Is board certification available for all grade levels and subjects?

Board certification is available for various grade levels and subjects; however, the availability may vary depending on the certifying organization and state requirements. It is important for teachers to research and identify the specific board certification options that align with their teaching area.

How does board certification benefit students?

Board-certified teachers have demonstrated expertise in their subject area, which translates into improved classroom instruction and increased student achievement. These teachers possess a deep understanding of their content and employ effective teaching strategies to engage and empower their students.