U.S. architects without a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) can pursue an NCARB Certificate through the education alternative. Through this path, architects can satisfy the education requirement for certification by either documenting experience beyond the Architectural Experience Program’s (AXP) requirements or submitting an education portfolio.

Ready to get NCARB certified? First, you will need to establish or reactivate your NCARB Record. Next, you will need to determine which option you are eligible for.

Two Times AXP

To qualify for this option, you must:

  • Have at least three years of continuous licensure in any U.S. jurisdiction without disciplinary action.
  • Hold bachelor’s degree in an architecture-related program.
    • This is defined as a baccalaureate degree in an architecture-related program from an institution with U.S. regional accreditation (or the Canadian equivalent) that is 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 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 Architectural Experience Program (AXP)’s six practice areas.

This option is offered at no additional charge to the cost of maintaining your active NCARB Record, and is now available. 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 60 days before your Certificate is issued.

NCARB Certificate Portfolio

To qualify for this option, you must have at least three years of continuous licensure in any U.S. jurisdiction without disciplinary action, and any education other than a four-year, architecture-related degree. Applicants completing the NCARB Certificate Portfolio fall into two categories:

  • Architects with other post-secondary education who have obtained more than 64 semester credit hours. These applicants are required to obtain an EESA evaluation and then submit a portfolio to address any deficiencies.
  • Architects with less than 64 semester credit hours of post-secondary education. These applicants are not required to obtain an EESA and 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, please read the Applicant Guide or contact EducationAlternative@ncarb.org.

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 the education alternative. Use our licensing requirements tool to learn which jurisdictions will grant reciprocity through the education alternative.