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Certification Requirements

To earn a certification from the American Board, American students must meet the following requirements:

1. Hold a Bachelor’s degree from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university (see chart below for more information).

2. Pass a criminal background check.

3. Achieve a passing score on the Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) exam.

4. Achieve a passing score on a subject area exam.

For International Students

International students must meet the following requirements:

1. Hold the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree or higher and pass a credential evaluation. Students will be required to order and pay for the credential evaluation. See a list of accepted evaluation providers here.*

2. International background check: Submit a letter from your local police or government jurisdiction verifying that you have not committed any felonies or misdemeanors while living in that jurisdiction.*

3. Achieve a passing score on the Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) exam.

4. Achieve a passing score on a subject area exam.

*Your international background check letter and credential evaluation should be sent directly to the American Board, ATTN: Candidate Services; 3905 National Drive Suite 330 Burtonsville, MD 20866

**Mailing fees to send certification materials internationally will be covered by the student.

Criminal Background Check Submission

To complete your background check in order to complete your certification, you must submit a completed disclosure authorization form to the American Board. The form, labeled Background Check Form, can be found on the bottom right corner of your MyPass dashboard under Important Links.

The background check will be completed after both of your examinations have been completed and passed. Please note that we are unable to send results to candidates.

You will be contacted if your background check results in your certification eligibility being denied. In instances of misdemeanor, a candidate must provide documentation that all fines have been paid and/or incarceration time has been completed. Please check with your state board of education to make sure that they will accept your certification given any criminal history. The American Board is not liable for any certificate which is denied due to a state background check.

The American Board is required to run a background check even if you have had already had a background check run by your state*.

Background checks are run by Talentwise, Inc. If the background investigation vendor is unable to complete an investigation of your criminal history, the American Board will then require you to complete an FBI background check. FBI criminal background check results must be sent directly to the American Board from the FBI for review.

* The exception to this rule is Utah. If a candidate has already passed a criminal background check through the Utah Alternative Routes to Licensure (ARL) program then that customer may use their valid temporary license (or a letter from the ARL program) in lieu of the American Board’s background check. You will need to submit this documentation to the American Board.

 Transcripts Submission

You must hold a Bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by the U.S. Department of Education in order to certify with the American Board.*

You must send a transcript request and the appropriate fees to the Registrar’s office of the college or university where you have earned your Bachelor’s degree. Digital transcripts are preferred, if your university offers that option. 

American Board only requires transcripts from the undergraduate university that granted your degree (i.e. if you attended State School 1 until your junior year, then transferred and graduated from State School 2, we only need transcripts from State School 2). A Master’s degree transcript can be substituted for an undergraduate transcript if no undergraduate transcript is available.

Your degree must be from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university. See the chart below for a list of accrediting agencies. If your degree is from an institution that is not affiliated with an agency listed below, please call 1-866-445-5258 for consideration.

Send your transcripts to the following email address:

If your university doesn’t offer digital transcripts, direct a physical copy of your transcripts to be sent to the following address:

The American Board
Attn: Candidate Services
3905 National Drive
Suite 330
Burtonsville, MD 20866

*International students and those with a degree for a college or university outside of the U.S., please see above for information regarding credential evaluations.

In order to be processed, transcript submissions must include:

Customers seeking certification in Missouri or South Carolina must hold a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited agency found in the left column of the chart below.


Regional Agencies National Agencies
Higher Learning Commission
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
Accrediting Commission on Education for Health Services Administration
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
American Academy for Liberal Education
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American Bar Association
American Board of Funeral Service Education
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American Council on Pharmaceutical Education
American Dental Association
American Dietetic Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Optometric Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Physical Therapy Association
American Podiatric Medical Association
American Psychological Association
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
American Veterinary Medical Association
Association for Biblical Higher Education
Association for Clinical Pastoral Education
Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools
Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
Council on Education for Public Health
Distance Education and Training Council
Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology
Liaison Committee on Medical Education
Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education
National Association of Schools of Art and Design
National Association of Schools of Dance
National Association of Schools of Music
National Association of Schools of Theatre
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission
Teacher Education Accreditation Council
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools