California Architects

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2018 Edition, Issue 1

Architects

A Publication of the California Architects Board ■ Public Protection Through Examination, Licensure, and Regulation


Four Stages of a License

The decision to retire or to not retire from the practice of architecture is an individual choice each licensee will face. Should I "hang it up" completely for pursuit of travel and leisure activities, "down-size" to those fun little projects that I missed during corporate practice, or perhaps freelance consult to other licensees? Such career options should be evaluated with full knowledge of the license options available, as well as with one’s business and personal "new life" goals.

There are four stages or status conditions for a license issued by the California Architects Board. For purposes of this article, licenses under disciplinary action such as suspension or revocation are not discussed. The first three stages are the most commonly known and generally understood; however, the fourth stage may present a new and interesting option for licensees contemplating retirement.

During a professional career, a license to practice architecture may pass through many of the four stages; however, it will always be in one of the following four stages:

Retired License
Retired License
  1. Current: An architect license remains in current status by the licensee filing an application for renewal and paying the renewal fee every two years on or before the biennial license renewal date and completing five hours of continuing education coursework on disability access requirements within the previous two years. The holder of a current license retains all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of being a licensed architect. Business and Professions Code (BPC) sections 5500, 5536, and 5600 provide additional details about holding a current architect license.
    1. What can I do?
      Holders of a current license are authorized to practice architecture in accordance with the provisions of the Architect Practice Act (Act).
    2. What can I call myself?
      Holders of a current license are authorized to use the title "architect" and to use any terms such as "architecture" or "architectural" in describing their qualifications and the services they provide.
  2. Expired: An architect license enters the expired status when the license is not renewed on or before the biennial renewal date. This stage of licensure is still able to be renewed. BPC sections 5600 and 5600.1 provide additional details about holding an expired architect license.
    1. What can I do?
      Holders of an expired license are not authorized to practice architecture. Such persons may operate as an "unlicensed" person as permitted in accordance with the Act for any other "unlicensed" person.
    2. What can I call myself?
      The holders of an expired license may not use the title "architect" and may not use any terms such as "architecture" or "architectural" in describing their qualifications and/or the services they provide while operating as an "unlicensed" person.
    3. Can the license be reinstated?
      As long as there are no sanctions against the license, it can be reinstated at any time within five years after the last biennial renewal date by filing a renewal application with payment of all accrued and unpaid renewal fees, including the delinquency fee.
  3. Canceled: An architect license becomes canceled when it is not renewed within five years after the last biennial renewal date. The license no longer exists. BPC section 5600.2 provides additional details about holding a canceled architect license.
    1. What can I do?
      Holders of a canceled license are "unlicensed" persons who may not practice architecture.
    2. What can I call myself?
      Holders of a canceled license are "unlicensed" persons who may not use the title "architect" and may not use any terms such as "architecture" or "architectural" in describing their qualifications and/or the services they provide while operating as an "unlicensed" person.
    3. Can the license be reinstated?
      A canceled license cannot be renewed, restored, reissued, or reinstated. In order to practice again, this person would have to reapply and meet all the current requirements for obtaining an original license. BPC section 5600.3 provides additional details about reinstating a canceled architect license.
  4. Retired: Holders of a current or renewable license may apply to the Board for a "retired" license as long as their license is not subject to any disciplinary action. The Board can issue a retired license upon receipt of the required application and payment of a one-time fixed fee. BPC section 5600.4 provides additional details about holding a retired architect license.
    1. What can I do?
      Holders of a retired license are not authorized and may not practice architecture; however, they may operate as an "unlicensed" person as permitted in accordance with the Act for any other "unlicensed" person.
    2. What can I call myself?
      Holders of a retired license are permitted to use the title "Architect Retired" or "Retired Architect;" however, they are not permitted to otherwise use the title "architect" or to use any terms such as "architecture" or "architectural" in describing their qualifications and/or the services they provide while operating as an "unlicensed" person.
    3. Can the license be reinstated?
      A retired license does not have an expiration date. Although, if an architect chooses to reinstate or restore their ability to provide architectural services:
      • Five years before the biennial renewal date, they may follow the requirements described in BPC section 5600.2. As long as there are no sanctions against the license, it can be reinstated at any time within five-years after the last biennial renewal date by filing a renewal application with payment of all accrued and unpaid renewal fees, including the delinquency fee.
      • Five years after the biennial renewal date, they may follow the requirements described in BPC section 5600.3. In order to practice again, this person would have to reapply and meet all the current requirements for obtaining an original license.

Any questions about the various stages of licensure and how they may apply to a specific situation may be directed to the Board at (916) 574-7220 or email at cab@dca.ca.gov.