Architects who hold a license from a U.S. jurisdiction but have not received a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) can pursue an NCARB Certificate through the Education Alternative. The Education Alternative path offers two ways in which architects can satisfy the education requirement for certification:

  1. Documenting additional experience beyond the requirements of the Architectural Experience Program’s (Two Times AXP), or
  2. Submitting an NCARB Certificate Portfolio. The option available to you depends on your educational background, as evaluated by NCARB.

Two Times AXP

To qualify for this option, you must:

  • Have at least three years of continuous licensure for the last three consecutive years in any U.S. jurisdiction without disciplinary action.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree that includes significant coursework in architecture (as determined by NCARB).
    • The program must be offered at an institution with U.S. regional accreditation (or the Canadian equivalent)
    • Your degree must have been awarded after earning less than 150 semester credits, or the quarter-hour equivalent
    • The program must include 60 semester credit hours (90 quarter hours) of architecture coursework in the degree program major
    • We do not have a list of accepted degrees, since the amount of architecturally defined content may vary from institution to institution

If you meet these requirements, you may have the opportunity to meet the education requirement for NCARB certification by documenting two times the required hours in each of the AXP’s six practice areas—including any hours you have already reported while documenting your experience. Learn more about reporting experience as an architect.

This option is offered at no additional charge to the cost of maintaining your active NCARB Record. If your NCARB Record has lapsed at any time, you will be charged the initial certification application fee of $1,100. Once you have finished documenting your additional experience, it may take approximately 45 business days before your Certificate is issued.

NCARB Certificate Portfolio

This option is for people who do not qualify for Two Times AXP. To qualify for this option, you must have at least three years of continuous licensure for the last three consecutive years in any U.S. jurisdiction without disciplinary action, and any education other than a four-year degree with significant coursework in architecture. Applicants completing the NCARB Certificate Portfolio fall into two categories:

  • U.S. Licensed Architects with other post-secondary (collegiate) education who have obtained more than 64 semester credit hours. These applicants have the option to obtain an EESA evaluation of their education,  and then submit a portfolio to address any deficiencies, or to address all education requirements through a portfolio.
  • U.S. Licensed Architects with less than 64 semester credit hours of post-secondary education. These applicants must address all education requirements through a portfolio.

The portfolio option is offered at no additional charge to the cost of maintaining your active NCARB Record; however, the NAAB does charge an EESA fee. If your NCARB Record has lapsed at any time, you will be charged the initial certification application fee of $1,100. To learn more about this opportunity, contact EducationAlternative@ncarb.org. Once you are confirmed eligible and receive access to the Certificate Portfolio system, be sure to review the Applicant Guide.

Ready to get NCARB Certified? First, you will need to establish or reactivate your NCARB Record. Next, you’ll want to email EducationAlternative@ncarb.org to determine which option(s) you are eligible for.

To learn more about applying for the NCARB Certificate through the Education Alternative, download the Education Guidelines  and Certification Guidelines.

Please note: Not all jurisdictions accept our Education Alternative. Please use our Licensing Requirements Tool to learn which jurisdictions currently grant reciprocity through the Education Alternative.