The road to becoming an architect is less complicated than you might think, and NCARB is here to help. We have the guidance and resources you’ll need to advance from student to practicing architect.

Before you can call yourself an architect, you have to earn a license by completing your state’s specific requirements. Each of the 55 U.S. licensing boards sets requirements for licensure in their jurisdiction, but they all include three core components: education, experience, and examination.

Ready to get started? Learn more about the basics of becoming an architect.


The first step to following your dream is finding a school that will support your career goals. Most states require a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Learn more about studying architecture.


No matter where you intend to practice, you’ll have to earn and document a certain amount of professional experience to ensure you’re ready to be an architect. Our Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) provides a framework to guide you through developing and recording that experience. And the best part? You can start as soon as you graduate from high school. Explore the AXP.


Another key part of becoming an architect is completing the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). With exam divisions designed to reflect the current profession, the ARE ensures that you’re ready to practice architecture independently. Prepare for the ARE.

Licensure and Certification

Once you’ve met the education, experience, and examination requirements, as well as any additional requirements set by your licensing board, you can apply for a license to practice architecture in your jurisdiction. After you’re licensed, you can advance you career and streamline your ability to practice across borders by earning an NCARB Certificate.