In order to satisfy the education requirement for NCARB certification, you must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited* by NAAB, a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited* by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB), or a CACB-certified professional degree in architecture from a Canadian university.
NAAB is the only agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture in the United States. Although graduation from a NAAB-accredited program does not guarantee registration, accreditation is intended to verify that accredited programs achieve education standards established by NAAB in collaboration with the four collateral organizations—the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and NCARB.
* The program must have been accredited no more than two years after the graduation date.
All professional degrees are awarded through a NAAB-accredited program. The following three types of degrees are acceptable for the satisfaction of the education requirement to become NCARB certified:
- Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) degree
NAAB-accredited degree programs awarding a bachelor’s degree must require a minimum of 150 semester credit hours, or the quarter-hour equivalent, in academic coursework in professional studies and electives.
- Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree
NAAB-accredited degree programs awarding a master’s degree must require a minimum of 168 semester credit hours, or the quarter-hour equivalent, of which 30 semester credit hours, or the quarter-hour equivalent, must be at the graduate level, in academic coursework in professional studies and electives.
- Doctor of Architecture (D.Arch) degree
NAAB-accredited degree programs awarding a doctorate must require an undergraduate baccalaureate degree or a minimum of 120 undergraduate semester credit hours, or the undergraduate-level quarter-hour equivalent, and a minimum of 90 graduate-level semester credit hours, or the graduate-level quarter-hour equivalent, in academic coursework in professional studies and electives.
If you have a non-professional degree, you will need additional education to earn an NCARB Certificate.
These degrees include:
Bachelor of Science (BS) in Architectural Studies degrees, Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Architecture degrees, Bachelor of Environmental Design degrees, etc.
These types of degrees are often referred to as pre-professional degrees because they are the prerequisite requirement for admission to many master of architecture programs.
- Graduate degrees in specialized areas of study often completed by students who have already obtained a professional degree in architecture.
These types of degrees are often referred to as post-professional degrees in architecture.
If your program earned NAAB accreditation within in two years after your graduation, your degree may be considered professional.
These degrees may not satisfy individual U.S. jurisdiction requirements for licensure. Individual requirements vary and you should contact your jurisdiction for specific education requirements.
Students, particularly those who have obtained a professional degree from a foreign institution, who are seeking a professional degree in order to apply for NCARB certification should ensure that the degree is a professional degree and that the program is accredited by NAAB.
Contact NAAB with questions about NAAB-accredited programs and professional degrees.