Welcome To The California Architects Boards

Architect Registration Examination (ARE)

The ARE, developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), is the national computerized architectural licensing examination that consists of multiple divisions. The ARE examines candidates’ knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required in the design and construction of buildings.


Candidates may apply for an ARE eligibility evaluation at any time they believe the requirements have been met. A candidate must obtain five years of experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect or the equivalent in accordance with the Board’s regulations and possess an active NCARB Record. Eligibility is determined by an evaluation of school transcripts and/or each Employment Verification Form submitted to the Board for consideration.

The Board notifies NCARB of eligibility status by setting authorizations for ARE divisions within the NCARB My Examination system. NCARB will send eligible candidates an email confirmation of eligibilty once testing authorizations have been granted by the Board. Testing eligibility remains valid as long as a candidate is active in the examination process. The Board’s regulations define an active candidate as one who takes (regardless of result) at least one ARE division within five years of being determined eligible or since the last exam. Scheduling a division DOES NOT fulfill this requirement to remain active.

The eligibility expiration date (also known as the Test Activity Status [TAS] date in My Examination) is provided in the Authorization to Test Expiration section of a candidate’s Scheduling page within their My Examination record. The TAS date provided by the Board supersedes the expiration dates shown for each individual ARE division. Eligibility may only be maintained in one state, jurisdiction, or province at a time. NCARB does not allow multiple eligibilities. The Board cannot grant extensions to the TAS date.

Scheduling Procedures

ARE appointments are scheduled on a first come, first-served basis by seat availability at each test center. Appointments must be scheduled a minimum of three business day in advance. Saturday and Sunday are NOT considered business days. No walk-in appointments accepted. Candidates schedule an appointment strictly through the My Examination section of their NCARB Record.

Complete scheduling information is provided on pages 10-13 of the ARE Guidelines.

Important Note: For admittance into an exam, the name on a candidate’s official photo identification must match the name in their NCARB Record, as stated on page 14 of the ARE Guidelines. A test center may not allow an individual to sit for an exam if the names do not match. The Board does not have the authority to compel the test center to grant access.

ARE Fees

Payment must be made using a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express at the time each ARE appointment is scheduled via My Examination. Credit cards will be charged when the appointment is scheduled. Complete payment information is provided on page 13 of the ARE Guidelines.

Reasonable Accommodations

All Prometric test centers are designed to accommodate candidates with impairments as outlined under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A candidates must submit an ARE Reasonable Accommodations Request with documentation of the impairment from a qualified, licensed professional. In order for passing scores obtained under reasonable testing accommodations to be recognized by other states for possible future licensure or by NCARB for possible future NCARB certification, the request for reasonable accommodations must be reviewed and approved by both the Board and NCARB. A request may take up to 60 days to process. You may not schedule any division(s) until your accommodations request has been approved and you are notified.

Candidates with disabilities who plan to seek reasonable testing accommodations should inquire with the Board at the time they initially apply for eligibility evaluation to obtain current information about reasonable accommodations. The ARE Reasonable Accommodation Request form may also be requested by telephone at (916) 574-7220 for those who are unable to download it.

Examination Results

Candidates will be notified by NCARB via email when their examination results are ready for viewing and/or downloading. Results are reported as PASS or FAIL only there are no numeric scores available. The Board recommends candidates keep the email address on-file with NCARB up-to-date in order to receive timely notification of examination results.

Diagnostic information regarding area(s) of weakness is displayed in the bottom half on the reverse side of the ARE Score Report for failed divisions. This is the only diagnostic information available. This feedback is designed to identify general areas of weakness to assist a candidate in obtaining additional experience or knowledge during the mandatory waiting period.

Reviews and Challenges

As stated on page 20 of the ARE Guidelines, a review procedure is available to a candidate ONLY if a board of architecture permits reviews of failed examinations. In jurisdictions where permitted, a candidate may challenge a multiple-choice question answered incorrectly. NCARB does not permit challenges to a graphic vignette. The Board’s regulations do not contain provisions which authorize a review of candidate’s ARE division or challenge of either an incorrect multiple-choice response or examination score.

Test Concerns or Technical Issues

Candidates who have concerns about their exam should notifiy NCARB Customer Service within no more than 15 days following a test date. Those who experience a software or hardware issue before or during an exam should notify the test center administrator immediately and request assistance. Candidates are advised to follow the instructions provided on page 16 of the the ARE Guidelines regarding concerns or technical issues.

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