North Carolina led the nation last year in teachers earning certification from a national standards board, according to figures released by the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
North Carolina DPI Superintendent Mark Johnson said the certification is significant for the teachers as well as the students they teach.
“Our state’s students are the winners when their teachers invest the time and effort to meet the demanding standards of national certification,” Johnson said. “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 the largest percentage of teachers, certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, of any state.
In North Carolina 21.6 percent of classroom teachers are certified by the board, for which the teachers receive a 12 percent salary supplement for the 10-year life of the certification.
Last month an additional 616 teachers joined those certified in the state bringing the total number of certified teachers in the state to 21,500.
The certification from the Arlington based body is based on rigorous performance-based assessments that typically take from one to three years to complete.
The certification measures what teachers and counselors should know and be able to do in their jobs.
Nationally, 5,470 teachers earned certification over the last year, raising the total among all states to more than 118,000.
In addition, almost 3,957 teachers nationally achieved re-certification, including 890 board-certified teachers in North Carolina.
North Carolina accounts for nearly a fifth of all teachers nationally who are certified by the teaching standards organization, at 18 percent.
On the district level North Carolina school ranks among the top 20 districts nationally for numbers of teachers with the certification.
Wake County ranks first with 2,631 teachers, followed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district at 2,033 teachers that are certified. Guilford County is in ninth at 768, Buncombe County is 17th at 563 and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system is 18th at 562.
Certification by the National Board is the highest credential in the teaching profession, and participation is voluntary.
The state assists teachers in attaining the certification by providing low-interest loans for the $1,900 assessment fee and provides three paid release days from normal teaching duties.