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Architectural Licensing in California

NCARB, CAB, and Licensing for Architects

Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®)

The California Architects Board was created in 1901 by the California

The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is a multi-division

Legislature to fulfill the mission of protecting the health, safety,

exam used to assess your knowledge and skills regarding the

and welfare of the public through the regulation of the practice of

practice of architecture. Developed by the National Council of

architecture in California. It is one of numerous boards, bureaus,

Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the exam is accepted

commissions, and committees within the Department of Consumer

by all U.S. jurisdictions and is a key step on the path to earning

Affairs responsible for consumer protection and the regulation of

a license.

licensed professionals. The Board establishes regulations for exami-

On June 30, 2018, the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) 4.0 is
ending. After that date, you will only be able to take ARE 5.0. Check
out NCARB's ARE transition calculator and update your NCARB
record before it's too late!

nation and licensing of the profession of architecture in California,
which today numbers approximately 21,000 licensed architects and
approximately 11,000 candidates who are in the process of meeting
examination and licensure requirements.

As a California design professional, your two major resources in

Licensing Requirements

the licensing process will be NCARB, which administers the ARE

As outlined below, once a candidate has fulfilled all the necessary

as well as the Architectural Experience Program™ (AXP™), which

requirements, he or she is eligible to receive a license to practice

provides a framework to guide you through gaining and record-

architecture in California.

ing your professional experience; and CAB (California Architects
Board), which administers the California Supplemental Exam and is
responsible for consumer protection and the regulation of licensed
National Council of Architectural
Registration Boards (NCARB)
NCARB members are the architectural registration boards of the 50
states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories (Guam,
Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading
the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing
of architects.
Having an NCARB certification often expedites reciprocity - the
process through which one can offer his or her professional services
in different jurisdictions after earning an initial license.

Those requirements are summarized as follows:
* Provide verification of five years of education equivalents and
three years of architectural practice experience for a total of eight
years of experience as evaluated by the Board;
* This includes a minimum of one year of work experience that must
be under the direct supervision of an architect licensed in a U.S.
jurisdiction or two years of experience under the direct supervision
of an architect registered in a Canadian province;
* Completion of the Architectural Experience Program (AXP)
* Successful completion of the Architect Registration Examination
* Successful completion of the California Supplemental
Examination (CSE)
Individuals whose experience and/or education are not discussed
here should contact the California Architects Board to learn how
licensure requirements apply to their situation.

Licensing Information

License Renewal and Mandatory Continuing Education

As a condition of license renewal, architects must comply with

About the NCARB Certificate

the following:
* Complete five hours of coursework on disability access require-

Contact Info:

ments within the previous two years. The coursework must be

1801 K Street NW, Suite 700K, Washington, DC, 20006

presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and experi-

(202) 879-0520

ence in the disability access requirements.

California Architects Board (CAB)

* Certify to the Board on the renewal application that he or she has
completed the required coursework by signing the application.
* Maintain records documenting completion of the required coursework for two years from the date of license renewal.

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