California Architects

Newsletter Logo for California Architects

2018 Edition, Issue 2


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

President’s Message

ARE 5.0 Protects the Public!

For more than 100 years, the Board has protected the public health, safety, and welfare by including as part of its licensure requirements the successful completion of a comprehensive examination in some format. This requirement provides a minimum assurance to the public that only those individuals who demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) are permitted to practice and offer architectural services to California consumers. With recent changes, the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) uses a practice-oriented approach that now more closely follows the progression of a typical architecture project and mirrors how architects tend to work. The result is a win-win situation for both architects and consumers.

In the decades immediately following its establishment, the Board, like many other jurisdictions, administered a self-developed examination for licensure. In 1965, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) administered the first national examination—the ARE. The standardization of examination across the nation strengthened and streamlined the process for architects seeking licensure in multiple jurisdictions, while also assisting the Board in maintaining its assurance to the public that protection is of paramount importance. Regardless of the jurisdiction where a candidate is initially examined, the public can be assured the individual is held to the same rigorous criteria for receiving a passing score.

Sylvia Kwan
Sylvia Kwan

Since its inception nearly 40 years ago, the ARE has undergone many evolutionary changes. The impetus for these changes is the need for the exam to remain relevant to the profession and provide the public with a minimum level of protection. To achieve this goal, a specialized analysis known as an occupational/practice analysis is conducted generally every several years to ultimately determine the areas of focus for exam content. The last such analysis conducted by NCARB and its test developer was in 2012, which led to many improvements of the ARE that have been rolled out in phases up to the present with development of ARE 5.0.

Launched in November 2016, ARE 5.0 is the latest iteration of the ARE and includes a complete restructuring of exam content, introduction of new item types, and elimination of outdated testing mechanisms, such as graphical vignettes. ARE 5.0 was developed following the American Psychological Association’s Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. It has been judged by outside testing experts as a defensible mechanism for the purposes of ascertaining whether an individual possesses the necessary KSAs to practice with consumer protection in mind. The Board is confident that going forward ARE 5.0 will continue for this next generation the more than 100-year practice of safeguarding California consumers.