Becoming a Licensed Architect


Starting the Licensure Process

Individuals who would like to become a candidate must first submit an Application for Eligibility Evaluation (PDF, 239K) to the Board and establish eligibility to take the ARE. Candidates are eligible to begin taking the ARE following completion of five years of experience or the equivalent and enrolling in the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) AXP.

Candidates may apply to the Board for ARE eligibility by submitting the following:

Note: Effective July 1, 2008, candidates applying for eligibility to sit for the ARE must also establish an NCARB record prior to being permitted to take the exam. Contact NCARB directly at (202) 783-6500 and request they notify the Board when you have established your record. Otherwise, your eligibility may be delayed.

The Employment Verification Form and school transcripts may be received by the Board either prior to or after the Application for Eligibility Evaluation.

Note: An original transcript must be submitted to the Board directly from the school to receive credit for post-secondary education. Transcripts submitted by candidates or marked "Issued to Student" will not be accepted. The Board grants credit only for degrees posted on the transcript at the time of evaluation and cannot grant credit based on an anticipated date of graduation. Work experience obtained as a required part of a degree program for which educational credit is earned is not granted separate work experience credit.

Following receipt of the items indicated above, the Board performs an eligibility evaluation. The Board reviews transcripts and each Employment Verification Form to determine the appropriate amount of credit to be granted pursuant to the Table of Equivalents.

Already Licensed?

Check out the Board’s
Reciprocity page for California’s requirements.

Examination

The examination aspect of licensure is satisfied by successfully completing both the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and the California Supplemental Examination (CSE). Detailed information is available about each examination in their respective section of this website.

Career Information