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What Happens Once You Finish Your Exams

We get a lot of questions from candidates who have completed their exams about what happens next and when they will receive their teaching certificate in the mail; 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 the hard work they’ve been doing, like so many other processes involving licensure, documentation and state requirements, there is some bureaucracy to be worked through. There are several final checks that need to be completed before a certificate can be created, printed and mailed. We’d like to walk through exactly what happens after a candidate finishes exams.

(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, and 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 Checklist

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

Let’s say you just successfully completed your last exam with us (Congratulations, by the way). Before we can issue your certificate, there are three things we have to check on our side.

  1. Transcripts

    • Have we received an official copy of your transcripts? Please note here that it HAS to be an official copy sent directly from the university. That’s a requirement of the state Department of Education and 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

    • After you complete the exams, 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 (like a DUI, misdemeanor, or felony charge or conviction). Most people fill out the background check form right after they enroll, but 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, competent people get certified to teach very seriously, and part of that responsibility is to do everything possible to ensure that we are not certifying someone with a criminal record that indicates they might 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. What that means is that 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. If there is no balance due, our team will confirm that and 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. If you’re not sure if your transcript has been received and/or approved, you can check your candidate profile. There’s an area towards the bottom that will indicate 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

Due to the number of people who earn teacher certification through our program, our Certificates Team creates and sends out certificate packets once a week- on Fridays only. Your entire post-exam checklist  has to have everything completed by Thursday mornings in order for your name to get on the list of certificates to get issued that week. So, if you pass your exams on a Tuesday and your transcripts are received and approved two weeks later (on a Friday afternoon), your certificate will be created the following Friday and sent out.

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


It’s important to keep in mind that we can’t rush this process just because your administrator needs to have your certificate in hand on their schedule or you’ve got a job waiting. Between transcripts being sent from universities and making sure your balance is paid off, there are several different departments that have to coordinate to make sure everything is in order. It’s not an instantaneous process and while our team works hard to make sure certificates go out quickly, we are also going to be diligent and thorough about making sure everything has been accounted for on our end. If you know you need to finish by a certain date, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve completed the exams with enough time to allow for the post-exams checklist to be completed.


Resources for Candidates

If you are currently in the program, be sure to check out our YouTube Channel and our Podcast for more information that will help you navigate the program. We add new videos and podcasts all the time to help answer questions and clarify how the program works in each state.

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