NCARB Certification Upholds Public Welfare and the Profession

Washington, DC—Over its previous fiscal year, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) increased Certificate holders by 2.3 percent, totaling 35,761. The NCARB Certificate demonstrates that architects meet the highest professional standards by registration boards responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the public. And many jurisdictions require NCARB certification for non-resident architects.

“Globalization” and “a talent shortage in architecture” are two trends reported in NCARB’s current strategic plan, indicating the value of national recognition for architecture expertise in coming years that can lead to more work opportunities. To facilitate widespread recognition, NCARB certification allows architects to apply for registration in any U.S. jurisdiction and Canadian province without re-documenting credentials. According to a NCARB 2005 Survey, architects today are registered in at least two different jurisdictions on average. The ability to practice in multiple jurisdictions
simultaneously is more important than ever because it creates more opportunities and potentially increased earnings.

What are the requirements? Certification candidates must:

  • Earn a professional degree from an NAAB-accredited or CACB-accredited program, or complete the Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) process.
  • Satisfy the Intern Development Program (IDP) requirements.
  • Pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • Receive a license from one of NCARB's 55 member registration boards.

Architects need to be prepared for project opportunities in locations other than their licensed jurisdiction beforehand. Obtaining the NCARB Certificate involves an extended —but critical—qualification review process. Examining a candidate’s application can require several weeks to validate reported information. The document review phase requires approximately six to eight weeks, followed by a final review of an applicant’s qualifications. Ultimately, the length of
time necessary to process requests for NCARB certification ensures reliability in the evaluation of the candidates’ qualifications. Candidates must meet the Council’s rigorous standards. Among the applicants, 85 percent of the architects receive the NCARB Certificate.

Upon obtaining the Certificate, architects are broadly recognized as experts and leaders in the profession. Certification is a significant factor many firms consider in hiring practices and promotions. For architects seeking career advancement or starting a new job search, certification is an excellent way to enhance their marketability—now and in the future.

For more information about certification, contact NCARB at 202-783-6500 or