Becoming a Licensed Architect


Starting the Licensure Process

Candidates for licensure must complete the following:

Steps 1–5 are for candidates seeking their first license

  1. Establish an NCARB Record and select California as the testing jursidiction (if you previously had an eight digit testing number please contact the Board before you establish an NCARB Record)
  2. Completed Application for Eligibility Evaluation (PDF, 235K)
    • Application must contain an original signature
    • Include application fee (check or money order in US dollars)
    • Mail to the California Architects Board
  3. Complete one of the four pathways (if applicable submit an Employment Verification Form (PDF, 162K) with original signature to the California Architects Board)
  4. Complete the ARE (pass each division within the five-year rolling clock period); the following are the current divisions:
  5. Complete the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) or Internship in Architecture Program (IAP) (you may begin reporting AXP hours once you turn 18 or the equivalent of a graduate from high school; you may also concurrently fulfill this requirement at the same time as you are completing the ARE).

Steps 6–7 is required for all candidates, including reciprocal candidates, seeking an architect license in California

  1. Complete the CSE
    • Submit a completed Application for the CSE1 and fee to the Board
    • Examination results are provided at site and either a license application or a retest application is provided to candidate
  2. Complete an Application for Licensure1
    • Application must contain the candidate’s original signature
    • Include application fee (check or money order in US dollars)
    • Mail to the California Architects Board

1These applications are only available in hardcopy format to eligible candidates as determined by the Board in accordance with the relevant statutes and regulations. The Application for the CSE will be automatically sent to an eligible candidate.