North Carolina is No. 1 in ‘gold standard’ for the teaching profession

North Carolina is No. 1 in ‘gold standard’ for the teaching profession
National Board-certified fourth grade teacher Brian Pattison works on a math problem with Gabriela Martinez-Maciel at Lake Myra Elementary School in Wendell, N.C. (Credit: 2013 News and Observer file photo)
National Board-certified fourth grade teacher Brian Pattison works on a math problem with Gabriela Martinez-Maciel at Lake Myra Elementary School in Wendell, N.C. (Credit: 2013 News and Observer file photo)

RALEIGH, N.C. (T. Keung Hui | The News and Observer) - North Carolina and the Wake County school system continue to both lead the nation with the most teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, according to new results released Monday.

The state now has nearly 21,500 National Board-certified teachers, accounting for 18 percent of the country's total. Statewide, 21.6 percent of public school teachers have this certification, which is considered the "gold standard" in the teaching profession.

Wake County is the top district in the nation, with 2,631 National Board-certified teachers. Wake has led the nation for 12 consecutive years.

"Our state's students are the winners when their teachers invest the time and effort to meet the demanding standards of national certification," state schools Superintendent Mark Johnson said in a written statement. "The certification process helps teachers strengthen their practice to be highly effective educators in their classrooms and able instructional leaders in their schools."

North Carolina has historically led the nation in the number of certified teachers, in part because it comes with a 12 percent annual pay raise from the state. It costs $1,900 in fees to get certified, and North Carolina provides low-interest loans to teachers to help them go through the process.

Wake County school officials also note that it takes significant time and effort to receive the certification and to renew it every 10 years.

This year, 106 Wake teachers earned certification and 117 teachers earned renewal. Statewide, 616 teachers earned certification for the first time and 890 teachers earned renewal.

The number receiving certification increased under new rules that give teachers three years instead of one year to complete the process.

Wake is also the first district in the nation to partner with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to create a program designed to support third-year teachers as they prepare to pursue board certification.