National Board Certification Increases Teachers’ Career Portability


Imagine walking into the principal’s office of a school you want to teach at, straight off of a cross-country PCS. This clearly means the “PCS ponytail” is resting atop your head, and you are rocking your favorite, worn-out, but-oh-so-comfy T-shirt and shorts…

Now imagine that after this meeting you get a job offer before even getting home.

It happened to one military spouse I know. And I’m wondering if after sharing this resource, I’m going to start hearing more of these awesome stories!

Amanda Trimillos, the milspouse in the story above, had no intention of interviewing that day. She was just seeking information. What she got was a personal interview—not the kind that’s intimidating and overwhelming, but a come-as-you-are, casual conversation—and an immediate job offer.

What is the magic she has? Well, aside from being articulate, knowledgeable and passionate about teaching, she has something that only 3% of all teachers in the United States possess, but that many school districts want:

A National Board Certification.

Amanda asks her employers now what encouraged them to hire her.

Their response?

“Your resume did have some red flags because you’ve moved a lot, but we would rather hire someone 2-3 years who is dynamic than a dud for 20.”

Being a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) is essentially like being a Board certified doctor. It’s the stuff of excellence and increases your credibility among your peers and in your community.

Like so many military spouses, Amanda PCSd with her service member a variety of times. After 4 relocations and 4 different processes to transfer her individual state certifications to each new state, Amanda grew tired of jumping through hoops to do what she loved. Every day that passed while trying to transfer her certification was a day less she was teaching.


The Job Search With and the Job Search Without NBCT

Though much progress is being made on the legislative front to lessen the certification barriers spouses face

every time we move, there are still some major flaws in the system that it seems NBCT can address.

Essentially, legislation is currently in the works to allow military spouses to begin teaching if they hold a valid teaching certification and a military ID, even if the state they move to does not have reciprocity with the state the license is from. Spouses will still have to go through the new state’s required steps, but it doesn’t stop them from being able to at least start teaching.

What I like about NBCT, however, is that it can really help to overcome the unpredictable reciprocity between states, because it is so widely accepted by states as a valid license to immediately begin teaching without additional steps/classes/tests. Military ID or not, many states simply view NBCT as an indicator of excellence and a valuable addition to the state’s teaching force. Reports actually indicate that PreK-12 students in an NBCT’s classroom actually advance 1-2 months faster than their non-NBCT peers.


The Benefits?

I see a major advantage for becoming an NBCT:

1. Less chance of burnout from having to go through each state’s required classes/courses/assessments to teach in that state

2. It sets you way, way, way apart from the competition. In a tough economy you want as much of an advantage over the competition as possible. In a tough economy as a milspouse, it’s almost a requirement to land a job.

3. Amanda noted that there is the initial barrier of breaking in to a new school and being “the new teacher.” She found that since becoming an NBCT, she is instantly sought out for advice and feedback, even when she is the “newbie” around the school. The credibility this credential brings with it is phenomenal!


The Process to Obtain NBCT:

Becoming an NBCT is not easy—if it was, everyone would do it. But, it’s worth it. Here are some of the facts Amanda filled me in on:

- You must have 3 years of teaching experience
- It is a portfolio process – You will complete 4 portfolios and 6 assessment exercises
- The process can be completed in a year, but you are given up to 3 to complete it.
- If you are a new teacher with less than 3 years experience, you may submit your first portfolio in your 1st or 2nd  year of teaching, and then complete the remaining portions in your 3rd year.
- NBCT is good for 10 years!
- You reapply starting in 8th year, and the renewal process is a quarter of the work  as in the initial process
- The cost to obtain your National Board certification is $2500 to submit your portfolio, but keep in mind that does not necessarily mean you are accepted! The selection process is tough, so you have to put the work in up front.


Ask Amanda

One thing I was super impressed by was Amanda’s mission to share her knowledge and experience with other military spouses so they can also develop a portable teaching career. She now educates military spouses on the NBCT process through National University’s Professional Teaching Development Center.

She spearheaded the initiative to have National University partner with MyCAA to fund military spouses pursuing Board certification and holds informational meetings about becoming an NBCT monthly! For more information about National University’s information meeting, visit

Amanda is also willing to answer questions. You can email her at:


Additional Information:

Pre-Service and National Board Certification Support (FREE!!):-  (Ride the Wave link)

Challenges Facing Military-Connected Students PreK-12 Education Discussion:

National University’s Information Meetings:



  1. Rae Adams says:

    This is outstanding. Amanda is a genius, gracious and inspiriting NBCT!!

  2. Amanda Trimillos says:

    For all those who asked: There is an on-line information session this Friday July 19 specifically discussing National Board Certification for Teachers (process, cost, support options). These on-line meetings are offered several times each month. I would love to lead & mentor (for free of course!) a cohort of military spouses who want to pursue their National Board Certification. My goal by December is to also find the scholarship $$ to financially support each of you who reach for the National Distinction of NBCT! e-mail me at or register at


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