U.S. Requirements for Certification

For more information, see Section 1 of the most recent Certification Guidelines.

1.Good Character
You must be of good character as verified by employers and the registration board where you are registered.

2. Education
You must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB).

Alternatives to a Professional Degree
If you do not hold a professional degree, NCARB will accept either of the following:

    3. Experience
    You must complete the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). Please be advised of changes to the program that went into effect in June 2016. [Learn more]

    Alternatives to the AXP
    If you have not completed the AXP, NCARB will accept any the following:

      • Registration by an NCARB Member Board for at least five consecutive years together with a certification by the applicant that his or her experience as a registered architect met the intent of the AXP in each of the training areas, and verification by one or more other architects that the applicant obtained such experience. This alternative shall not apply to applicants initially registered after January 1, 2011.

      4. Examination
      You must have passed the NCARB Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) or an earlier NCARB examination. See Appendix C of the Certification Guidelines for a description of current and previous NCARB examinations.

      Alternatives to the Examination Requirement
      If you have not met the examination requirement, you may be certified in under the following circumstances:

      • If your examination deficiency arose from causes other than having failed a division of an examination under applicable NCARB pass/fail standards, and the deficiency is, in NCARB judgment, compensated for by you demonstration of competency in the deficient area. 
      • If your registration was based in whole or in part on having passed previous examination equivalents, you are deemed to have passed the corresponding divisions of the ARE. See Appendix C of the Certification Guidelines for a list of the qualifying equivalents.

        5. Registration
        You must hold a current registration to practice architecture issued by a registration board.

        6. General
        In evaluating qualification, NCARB may, prior to certification, require you to substantiate the quality and character of your experience, even if you have met the technical requirements outlined above.

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        International Practice
        NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and is engaged in similar discussions with additional countries.
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