Aspiring Architects Pursuing Licensure on the Rise

June 19, 2015

New Orleans—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) today, at its 2015 Annual Business Meeting, shared highlights from the new NCARB by the Numbers, a yearly report about the path to licensure.

The report’s findings indicate progress in several key areas:

  • A record high of 37,178 aspiring architects either reporting hours through the Intern Development Program (IDP) or testing for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®).
  • 107,581 licensed architects reported by the 54 U.S. licensing boards, a three percent increase since 2011.
  • The average age of an architect upon initial licensure fell to 33.3 in 2014, shaving off 2.7 years since 2008.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities made up 41 percent of the aspiring architect talent pool in 2014, compared to 22 percent in 2007.
  • Women made up 38 percent of aspiring architects who completed the IDP in 2014, compared to 25 percent in 2000.
  • Women also accounted for 35 percent of candidates who completed the ARE last year, a percentage that has nearly doubled since 2000.

Program changes, as well as NCARB’s renewed focus on providing guidance and clear communications to emerging professionals, have played a big part in improved performance metrics, said NCARB President Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB. “NCARB’s 2014 data finds that the growing number of female aspiring architects, combined with those from racial and ethnic minority groups indicates the future architect workforce should be more diverse.”

CEO Michael Armstrong, speaking to U.S. licensing board representatives stated, “NCARB and its Member Boards have put many new programs in place to remove unnecessary impediments without reducing rigor. In one year alone, participation is up and the average time to licensure has been reduced.”

The full NCARB by the Numbers report will be available to the public on NCARB’s website in July.

NCARB Looks Ahead

NCARB will continue to work with the profession and state licensing boards to reduce unnecessary complexities in an era when rules and regulations are being challenged, Armstrong noted. Starting July 1, for example, NCARB is supporting a streamlined IDP, requiring one-third fewer hours in participating jurisdictions. In mid-2016, the program’s 17 experience areas will be replaced with six broad practice-based experience categories. ARE 5.0, when launched in 2016, will also require the completion of six instead of seven divisions for licensure.

“We now have shorter retest waiting times, more accessible record keeping, improved outreach and customer service, and experience that counts immediately and can be credited up to five years,” Armstrong said. “With all these changes, bolstered by an improved economy and committed volunteers, our ‘Get It Done’ message is being received."


The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

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. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.


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