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 for the ARE may apply for eligibility evaluation at any time they believe they have met the requirements. Candidates must obtain five years of experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect or the equivalent in accordance with the Board's Table of Equivalents and possess NCARB Record. Eligibility is determined by an evaluation of school transcripts and/or each Employment Verification Form based on the Table of Equivalents.

The Board notifies NCARB of eligibility status once it determines that a candidate is eligible to begin taking the ARE. Approximately three to four weeks after NCARB has been notified of a candidate's eligibility, NCARB mails the candidate an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter. The ATT includes a Candidate Identification Number, which is different from the identification number assigned by the Board. Each candidate should use the identification number on the ATT to schedule ARE divisions.

A candidate's examination eligibility remains valid as long as the candidate is active in the examination process. A candidate is considered active if they take (pass or fail) at least one division of the ARE within five years of being determined eligible or since they last took an exam. An eligibility expiration date is provided on the Eligibility Notification sent by the Board and on the letter accompanying each score report a candidate receives to remind them of their date. The eligibility expiration date provided by the Board supersedes the expiration dates shown on the ATT for each division. Eligibility may only be maintained in one state, jurisdiction, or province at a time. NCARB does not allow multiple eligibilities.

Important Note: For admittance into an exam, the name on the candidate's official photo identification must match the name on the ATT, which comes directly from the candidate's Application for Eligibility Evaluation. 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. Additionally, candidates should thoroughly familiarize themselves with the ARE Guidelines regarding prohibited items and materials at the exam.

Scheduling Procedures

The divisions of the ARE are administered year-round, Monday through Saturday, at approximately 20 computer testing centers throughout California. Additionally, the ARE is administered across the U.S., the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Canada. NCARB sends candidates a current list of centers along with their ATT. Eligible candidates may take the ARE at a testing center in any participating jurisdiction. Exam scores for California candidates are reported to the Board regardless of where a candidate takes a division.

Scheduling information is included in the ARE Guidelines. There is no set schedule for the administration of the divisions. Candidates may schedule appointments for the desired division(s) at any time once eligibility has been established by calling the centralized toll-free telephone number for all computer testing centers or by visiting Prometric.

ARE Fees

Candidates must pay all fees for the ARE directly to NCARB or its authorized representative. Payment may be made by credit card, check, or money order to purchase a voucher as described in the ARE Guidelines. Once a candidate has scheduled an appointment, the test fee cannot be refunded. Consult the ARE Guidelines for information regarding canceling an appointment. Candidates may reschedule a test appointment with appropriate notice and by paying a rescheduling fee.

Candidates who have been notified of a dishonored payment of fees must make reimbursement prior to release of exam scores or further scheduling of exam divisions. Pursuant to NCARB's policy, all scores (including passing) obtained with a dishonored payment will be forfeited if reimbursement for that payment is not received within six months after the test date.

Reasonable Accommodations

The Board has a procedure for granting reasonable testing accommodations to candidates with qualifying disabilities as outlined under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Candidates who may need extra testing time or other accommodations during the examination due to a qualifying disability may be granted additional testing time, additional rest periods, separate testing facilities, and to a limited extent, special testing equipment.

Candidates must submit an ARE Reasonable Accommodation Request form with documentation of the disability 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, typically within four to six weeks from the date of the exam. 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 six-month waiting period.

Appeals, Reviews, and Technical Issues

California does not allow the appeal of examination results or the review of examination solutions.

If a candidate experiences a technical issue which they believe could negatively impact an examination s/he must:

  1. Notify the test center administrator immediately.
  2. Notify NCARB in writing within 10 days of the exam (instructions are located in the ARE Guidelines).

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