Standard Path to Certification

The NCARB Certificate is your NCARB Record and Council certification that you have met the national standards of eligibility for licensure and recommends that you be registered as an architect without further examination.

Standard Requirements for NCARB Certification

  1. Earn a professional degree from an NAAB-accredited or CACB-accredited program. If you were educated in a foreign country, you must have your foreign education evaluated by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) through the Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA).
  2. Complete the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) training requirements.*
  3. Pass all divisions of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  4. Receive a license to practice from one of the state registration boards.

* Architects documenting AXP for the purpose of NCARB Certification should note the upcoming changes to the program. Architects who have not documented completion of the program by June 29, 2016 will need to satisfy AXP requirements.

Application Process for NCARB Record Holders

If you applied for an NCARB Record in the past and do not currently hold an NCARB Certificate, you must use that Record to pursue certification. Simply login to your online NCARB Record and select the link for Annual Renewal. 

If you are converting from the AXP to certification, the system will recognize this change when you enter your initial license information. You may be charged an application fee. This fee will be waived if you have maintained an active Record while you completed the AXP and the ARE. NCARB will also waive the Certification Application Fee upon approval. 

If you allowed your Record to lapse between AXP/ARE and application for certification, you will be charged the Certification Application Fee of $1,100.

Please note that our system will only allow you to renew within 45 days of your current expiration date. If you are outside of the 45 days and are ready to pursue certification now, please e-mail your request to

Application Process for Non-NCARB Record Holders

If you have not established an NCARB Record, you should apply through the online application.The cost to apply for an NCARB Certificate is $1,100. We will verify your examination and registration history, and you will need to have an official copy of your education transcript sent directly to NCARB. In addition, you will need to submit experience reports to satisfy the training requirement. 

As long as your Certificate is active, NCARB will, upon application, transmit a certified copy of your Certificate Record to any Member Board.

A few boards may require a personal interview and/or an additional examination on seismic forces, cold weather construction, or local law.

It is possible to acquire reciprocal registration in some jurisdictions without being certified by NCARB; however, over half of the U.S. registration boards require an NCARB Certificate for reciprocal registration.

Record Compilation Process

Certification Fees

U.S. Requirements

Canadian Requirements

Related Publications


Education Guidelines
Updated July 2016! The Education Guidelines provide a general overview of the education requirement for NCARB certification, and explains how architects who do not hold a professional degree in architecture from a NAAB-accredited program can satisfy this requirement.

Download (PDF, 508K)

Related Content

Establish an NCARB Record
Learn how to establish an NCARB Record.

The Architectural Experience Program (AXP) identifies the comprehensive experience that is essential for the independent practice of architecture.

Related FAQs

What are the requirements for NCARB certification?

Please visit the Certification and Reciprocity section of the NCARB website to learn the requirements and steps to become certified.

What fees are associated with my NCARB Record?

Fees associated with all NCARB programs and services can be found here.

Am I eligible for an NCARB Certificate with my foreign education?

Please visit the Certification and Reciprocity section of the NCARB website to learn the requirements and steps to become certified.