Looking for ways to jumpstart your journey to licensure in 2024? Make sure you take advantage of NCARB’s suite of resources—from live webinars to free practice exams—to get one step closer to officially calling yourself an architect. 

1. Understand local requirements with NCARB’s Licensing Requirements Tool. 

Though NCARB recommends national licensure standards around three core components—education, experience, and examination—requirements to become an architect vary across the 55 U.S. jurisdictions. For example, did you know that several jurisdictions, including California and New York, don’t require a degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)-accredited program? Use the Licensing Requirements Tool to understand the specific requirements where you live. 

2. Attend webinars to learn from architecture experts. 

Through our NCARB Live webinar series, we invite expert panelists to explore program updates and trending topics in the profession. Past discussions include tips to shorten your time to licensure, changes to the ARE, and more! Sign up for the NCARB Live newsletter to ensure you never miss an event. 

3. Take advantage of NCARB’s free exam resources. 

As you probably know, many test prep providers offer resources to help candidates prepare for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), but NCARB’s practice exams have two key differences: 1) they’re free, and 2) they’re created just like the actual ARE. You can take the practice exams in two modes:

  • Test mode mimics the experience you’ll have during a real exam appointment and provides a score report afterward.  
  • Practice mode provides the correct answer and rationale behind each item as you go. You’ll also receive a score report at the end.

NCARB data has shown that candidates who used the full-length, fully scored practice exams saw a 12 percentage point pass rate increase across all six divisions. In addition to the free practice exams, you can find helpful explainer videos on NCARB’s YouTube channel and tips to help you prepare for test day on the NCARB Blog

4. Connect with peers and NCARB experts in the ARE 5.0 Community. 

Whether you have a test question, are looking for a study group, or need help from NCARB’s examination experts, the ARE 5.0 Community can help you successfully navigate the examination process. Join the online community and find the support you need to ace your exams. 

5. Explore NCARB’s video-based guide to licensure, Destination Architect. 

The Destination Architect resource clearly breaks down each step on the path to licensure—from gaining experience to passing the national exam—and includes helpful videos to get you one step closer to earning your license. You’ll also find trusted tips to help you make the most out of your experience and shorten your time to licensure.  

6. Find an advisor using the Licensing Advisor Lookup Tool. 

Architect licensing advisors are professionals, educators, and students who volunteer their time to help others pursue licensure. These advisors often provide candidates with their first glimpse into the licensure process and lend help along the way.  

With NCARB’s advisor lookup tool, you can find contact information for licensing advisors near you. Just select your jurisdiction, and the licensing advisor tool will generate results with contact information based on the information you provide.  

7. Set and maintain clear expectations with your supervisor. 

If you’re working to gain experience for the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®), you’re relying on your supervisor to not only approve your hours but also to assign work that helps you progress on the path to licensure. To help you understand individual and shared responsibilities, review this one-page guide that outlines expectations for both candidates and supervisors. We also have a suite of supervisor resources that you can share with your AXP supervisor. 

8. Get inspiration from recently licensed architects. 

Whether you’re interested in sustainable design or tips for juggling your personal life with your career goals, find encouragement from other licensure candidates and architects on the NCARB Blog

9. Review the ARE Guidelines. 

Review the ARE Guidelines to learn what you can expect from each exam division and to create your testing strategy. The ARE Guidelines includes all policies and procedures for taking the ARE, outlines available accommodations, and will ensure you know what to expect when taking the exam. 

10. Read the AXP Guidelines. 

Explore the ins and outs of earning and recording professional experience by reviewing the AXP Guidelines. In the Guidelines, you’ll find a brief overview of each experience area and setting, as well as a list of tasks for each experience area that you must be able to perform competently prior to licensure. For a snapshot of the program, Your Guide to the AXP is a short guide that provides a basic overview of the AXP. 

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