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WES Advisor Blog

Architecture Licensure

by Luke Smith,

WES Education Services

September 12, 2022

Licensure is required in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, as well as most US territories. Requirements vary.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) provides a step-by-step overview of the licensing process for internationally-educated architects.

NCARB offers two main paths to certification for foreign architects. The requirements vary depending on whether you have simply completed an architecture degree or whether you are a licensed architect in another country.

  • If you received an architecture degree in another country but do not hold an active license in that country, you must:
    • Create an NCARB Record.
    • Complete an Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) evaluation of your education.
      • Bachelor’s degrees in architecture fall into two categories: professional degrees (five years in length) and pre-professional degrees (four years in length).
      • A four-year Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (BA) or Bachelor of Science in Architecture (BS) degree is considered “pre-professional” and does NOT qualify graduates to practice as a licensed professional architect.
      • Only a five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) degree allows graduates to become licensed.
      • However, a BA or BS can qualify you to work in fields related to architecture, such as interior design, industrial design, construction management, and computer-aided design or drafting. It will also allow you to pursue a Master of Architecture degree, which will then qualify you to apply for licensure.
    • Complete the Architectural Experience Program (AXP).
    • Pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • If you are a licensed architect in another country, you may be eligible to pursue the Foreign Architect Path to U.S. licensure. You must:

Since architecture license requirements vary by state, consider these key points:

All U.S. architecture boards require candidates to pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).

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