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What Happens Once You Finish Your Exams?

We get a lot of questions from candidates who have finished their exams. They want to know what happens next and when they will receive their teaching certificate. Sometimes, it seems like eager candidates start checking the mailbox about 20 minutes after they get home from the testing center. While it’s completely understandable that they are ready to see the result of all their hard work, there is some bureaucracy to be worked through. Before a certificate can be sent, there are several final checks that need to be completed. This article will walk through a post-exam timeline for the steps to receiving your certificate.

(Please note that for the purposes of this post, I’m going to reference the general steps required in all our states after a candidate finishes his/her exams. There are some states that have additional requirements after completing the American Board program. You should check your state page for that information if you don’t already know it. This post is just about what happens after you finish your American Board exam(s), from leaving the testing center to holding your certificate in your hand.)

Post-Exam Timeline: Checklist

After you finish the required exams to earn your American Board teaching certificate, several things must happen on our side before the certificate can be issued.

Let’s say you successfully completed your last exam with us. Congratulations! There are three things we need to check on our side before we can issue your certificate.

  1. Transcripts

    • Have we received an official copy of your transcripts? Please note that it HAS to be an official copy sent directly from the university. That’s a requirement of the state Department of Education. Also, it’s a security measure to protect against fraud. You can make it easier on yourself and request that an electronic copy be sent to us instead of a physical copy. Electronic copies are easier to track and quicker to reach us.
  2. Background Check

    • Once your exams are complete, American Board runs a standard background check to make sure there are no outstanding legal matters that would make you ineligible to be a teacher. Most people fill out the background check form right after they enroll. However, we don’t run the actual check until the very end in case someone went on a crazy weekend bender (or worse) and was arrested for something during their time in our program. We take our mission to help passionate people get certified to teach very seriously. Part of that responsibility is to ensure that we are not certifying someone with a criminal record that indicates they may be a danger to children.
  3. Account Balance

    • Since the program is self-paced, you can move through the program as quickly as you are able to. Sometimes, if you are paying on the installment plan, you might finish the required exams before you’ve finished the payment plan. Before we can issue your certificate, the program must be paid off in full. If there is an amount due, our team will reach out to you to get that taken care of. Once there is no balance due, our team will make a note in your account.

If there is a delay in getting official transcripts, or if the transcripts get lost and have to be reissued, that will delay your certificate. You can check whether your transcript has been received and/or approved on your candidate profile. There’s an area towards the bottom that indicates if your transcripts have been entered into our system. Once we have your transcripts and background check approved, and no balance is due, you’re ready for your certificate!

Post-Exam Timeline: Issuing Your Certificate

Our Certificates Team sends out certificate packets once a week on Fridays. In order for your certificate to get issued that week, your post-exam checklist has to be completed by Thursday morning. So, if you pass your exams on a Tuesday and your transcripts are received and approved two weeks later, your certificate will be created and sent on Friday.

Once your certificate is in the mail, it typically takes seven to ten business days to arrive. We use USPS to send out certificates, so it should arrive in your regular mail. If it takes longer, you should create a Help Desk ticket to let us know. We will reissue your certificate and send it out again if necessary.

It’s important to remember that we can’t rush this process. There are several different departments that have to coordinate to make sure everything is in order. This is not an instantaneous process. Our team works hard to make sure certificates go out quickly. But, we are also going to be diligent about making sure everything has been accounted for on our end. Make sure you’ve completed your exams with enough time to allow for your post-exam timeline to be completed if you know you need to finish by a certain date.

Resources for Candidates

For those currently enrolled in the program, check out our YouTube for information that will help you navigate the program. Our videos help answer questions and clarify how the program works in each state.

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