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How Do You Become a Licensed Architect?

Becoming an architect may seem like a daunting endeavor, and in some ways, it is. However, the path to licensure is a relatively straight-forward one, regulated by the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB). A non-profit organization comprised of architectural licensing boards of each U.S. state and territory, NCARB has devised a prescribed path to licensure called "Destination: Architect," a campaign promoting responsible licensing by utilizing the Three E’s: Education, Experience and Examination. Let's take a closer look at each one.


Education: After completing high school, you’ll need a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a state university with a nationally accredited architecture program.


Experience: Upon completion of your degree, you’ll need real-world experience, working in the field of

architecture. NCARB’s Architectural Experience Program (AXP) provides a "framework to guide you

through building competency in a broad range of areas and documenting your work."


Examination: Concurrent with AXP, you can begin taking the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE), a six-part test. Each division focused on a section of the professional practice of architecture, testing your

knowledge and skills related to health, safety, and welfare.


Once you’ve completed this rigorous process, you’ll be given your NCARB Certificate, which entitles you to apply for a license, specific to your home state or territory. Your jurisdiction may have additional requirements, so contact your local Professional Licensing Bureau for more information. The certification, if maintained, also makes it easier to file for reciprocity, a process to become licensed in other states, should the need arise.


Congratulations! As a licensed architect, you’ll play an important part in historyshaping the built environment for future generations.

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