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National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards


The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education and private corporations, and governed by a 63 member board of directors, the majority of whom are teachers.

The NBPTS certificate measures a teacher's practice against high and rigorous standards. The process is an extensive series of performance-based assessments that includes teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes and thorough analyses of the candidates' classroom teaching and student learning. Teachers also complete a series of written exercises that probe the depth of their subject-matter knowledge, as well as their understanding of how to teach those subjects to their students.

National Board certification is voluntary and open to all educators who have a baccalaureate degree and three years of classroom experience in either a public or private school.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)

Advantages for Wisconsin Educators

The NBPTS certificate compliments, but does not replace, Wisconsin state licensure. It is a professional certificate used to obtain a lifetime master educator license in the corresponding area and level. In addition, Wisconsin educators who received NBPTS certification can:

  • Obtain reimbursement for costs of up to $2,000 personally incurred to achieve certification.
  • Receive annual grants for 4 years of $2,500 or $5,000.
Wisconsin Master Educator License Based on NBPTS

NBPTS certification is not the same and does not replace a Wisconsin educator license issued by the DPI.

In order to qualify for a Wisconsin educator license, an educator must have completed an approved educator preparation program in a related field and meet all the requirements as stated in Wis. Admin Code PI 34 and Wis. Stat. 118.19.

For more information about educator licensing in Wisconsin, please go to Educator Licensing.

Not all certifications issued by the NBPTS directly translate to Wisconsin educator licenses in terms of developmental levels and/or subject areas. The DPI can only issue educator licenses that are defined in Wis. Admin Code PI 34.

Out-of-State National Board Certified Teachers

Due to statutory requirements that are specific to Wisconsin, almost all educators from out of state applying for a Wisconsin educator license will have statutory stipulations and are issued a 3-year provisional license.

All stipulations must be resolved and educators must qualify for a lifetime license before applying for a Wisconsin master educator license.

Wisconsin Educators with Provisional Licenses

National Board certified teachers who hold Wisconsin provisional licenses must first qualify for the lifetime license before qualifying for a master educator license. Lifetime license requirements include successfully completing at least six semesters of experience in Wisconsin in the area of their license (teaching or pupil services) and completing all statutory requirements. The six semesters of successful experience must meet the following criteria:  

  • Experience completed in the license area (Teaching or Pupil Services) while holding either a provisional, initial educator, or professional educator license.
  • Experience completed in the five years immediately preceding the July 1 start date of the lifetime license.
  • Experience must be providing direct services to students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 setting in the license area of the provisional license, verified as successful experience by an educational entity in Wisconsin.

Applying for Master Educator License

You may apply for Wisconsin master educator license the following year after you receive your NBPTS certification, as long as the NBPTS is still valid. The effective date of the master educator license will be July 1 of the year the application was submitted.

In order to apply for a master educator license:

  • Applicant must already hold, or qualify to hold, a Wisconsin lifetime license in the corresponding area.
    • Wisconsin educators must be eligible for the lifetime license.
    • Out-of-State educators must resolve all stipulations and be eligible for the lifetime license.
  • Applicant must submit an application and fee and include NBPTS certificate or score report letter.

Related document:

NBPTS Reimbursement and Annual Grant

Initial Reimbursement

After receiving the NBPTS certificate and within the first school year of its effective date, National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) may apply for reimbursement of up to $2,000 for expenses personally incurred for NBPTS certification process and may include the cost of the application fees that were not subsidized.

In order to qualify for the reimbursement, the NBCTs must be:

  • Certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
  • Licensed as a teacher by the state superintendent or employed as a teacher in a private school or tribal school located in this state.
  • Employed as a teacher located in this state.
  • Have a rating of effective or highly effective in the applicable Educator Effectiveness System.

The DPI will mail reimbursement forms to the NBCTs upon notification from the NBPTS. The completed form for reimbursement must be submitted to the DPI before June 30 of the school year in which the NBPTS certificate was received.

NBCTs who are certified in another state and employed as a teacher in Wisconsin may apply for reimbursement. The application for reimbursement must be submitted prior to submitting the application for annual grants. Contact TEPDL (contact form below) to request NBPTS Reimbursement Application Form. Attach a copy of the NBPTS certificate or score report letter with the application form.

Annual Grant

After receiving reimbursement for certification expenses (above), NBCTs are eligible to apply for an annual grant in each of the subsequent school years for the remaining duration of their NBPTS certificate.

To qualify for the annual grant, the NBCTs must:

  • have submitted the application for reimbursement;
  • maintain his or her NBPTS certificate;
  • maintain his or her license as a teacher issued by the state superintendent or remains employed in a private school or tribal school located in this state;
  • remains employed as a teacher in this state;
  • have a rating of effective or highly effective in the applicable Educator Effective System.

Annual grants are awarded in the amount of $2,500 in each of the subsequent school years for the duration of the valid NBPTS certificate. Beginning in 2007-08 school year, NBCTs who are employed as a teacher in a high-poverty school (Glossary: At least 60% of the pupils enrolled are eligible for free or reduced lunch under 42 USC 1758(b)) are eligible for a $5,000 annual grant.

NBCTs who successfully renew their certificate may continue to receive the annual grant of $2,500 or $5,000.

Complete and submit the application form to the DPI by June 30 of each school year.

Effective or Highly Effective Rating

As a result of 2013 Wisconsin Act 20, applicants who received the National Teacher Certification by NBPTS Initial Reimbursement grant are required to provide annual verification of being effective or highly effective in the applicable Educator Effectiveness System in order to receive a grant for national teacher certification. This only affects applicants who are required to be evaluated in the Educator Effectiveness System.

Rating of effective or highly effective means a score of greater than or equal to 2.5 in both the educator practice outcome summary and the student outcomes summary or, if the person has not had an initial evaluation, the person is in the process of being evaluated.  

NOTE:  The list of high-poverty schools for the NBPTS Annual Grant is posted sometime in March each school year. The $5,000 grant will not be awarded until this list is available. Therefore, the NBPTS Annual Grant application should be submitted after the list is available and you have confirmed that the school where you are employed is identified as a high-poverty school.

Related Forms:

High Poverty Schools Identified for NBPTS Grants

School Year Link to Documents

Public Schools

Private Schools


Wisconsin statutes and administrative rules supporting national teacher certification or master educator licensure:

  • Wis. Stat. 115.42 - Grants for national teacher certification or master educator licensure.
  • Wis. Admin Code PI 37 - Criteria and procedures for awarding grants for national teacher certification or master educator licensure
Application Directions for First-time Master Educator License via National Board Process

Directions for lifetime master educator license

For teachers and pupil services professionals.

1. Determine whether you need to get fingerprinted

Use this decision tree to determine if this step is needed.

2. Gather Documents 

  • Preview the ELO Conduct & Competency Questions to see if you will need to provide documentation of any alleged misconduct.
  • Scan your National Board certificate into a PDF file that is less than 2 MB in size and save the file so that it is readily available to upload into ELO.
  • Obtain a PI-1613 Employment Verification form that shows your years of experience. Scan this form into a PDF file that is less than 2 MB in size and save the file so that it is readily available to upload into ELO.

3. Log in to Educator Licensing Online (ELO) with your WAMS ID

  • Within ELO, make sure you have answered the three onboarding questions, and that your current license(s) are listed in your profile.
  • Go to the ELO Quick Start Menu/ Apply for a License. See screenshot below:

T501 - 1020

Apply Now

4. Receive Email Confirmation


5. Complete Application on ELO

  • Click the GO! button next to “Submit C&C and Payment to Complete Application.”
  • Review your fees.
  • Complete the Conduct and Competency Questionnaire (14 questions).
  • Pay with a credit card or pre-paid card.

Contact the ELO Help Desk 

Wisconsin statutes and administrative rules supporting National Teacher Certification or master educator license:

Submit questions and comments about this information to the Licensing Online Help desk.