Getting licensed


Obtaining your license is a big step in your career. The process is demanding but the payoff gives you a competitive edge and the power to create your own future.  We’re here to support you every step of the way.

Support from AIA

  • free 18-month AIA membership for new grads
  • opportunities to participate in NCARB's Architectural Experience Program (AXP) and earn experience hours - fulfilling a AIA Learning Unit or a Continuing Education Unit is counted as 1 AXP experience hour
  • a peer network with group study opportunities through your AIA chapter
  • support preparing for the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) including study guides, test prep and a scholarship

The basics


Most states require a professional degree in architecture: a Bachelor or Master of Architecture. There are 100+ accredited professional degree programs in the United States and Canada alone. Not sure if your degree is accredited? Check the list maintained by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).  


All states require that you work under a supervising architect. During this time you’ll get valuable work experience that will help you advance your career and earn credit in the AXP. AIA offers resources to help you complete AXP.


You’ll also need to pass the ARE. It’s a multi-part exam that will test your knowledge and skills in a variety of segments within the practice of architecture. AIA offers resources to help you pass the ARE.


Once you pass the exams and complete the experience requirement, you can register for a license. Individual states grant licenses. You can become licensed in multiple states.

Compare licensure requirements of the 54 jurisdictions to decide where to get your initial license. Typically, to maintain or renew your license, you’ll need to earn continuing education credits each year.

International candidates

Visit NCARB's website to learn about the path to licensure in the United States.

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