At NCARB, we’re continuously seeking opportunities to support candidates of all backgrounds in satisfying their requirements and obtaining licensure. Earning experience in all areas of the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) can present some challenges—especially if your employer doesn’t take on work across all project areas. To address that difficulty, NCARB offers a variety of experience opportunities that qualify for AXP credit outside of typical architecture work.

Under the AXP Guidelines, your work must fit into one of two experience settings to be eligible for AXP credit. These settings provide details about the type of organization you work for, the tasks you perform, and who verifies your experience.

Experience setting O offers the opportunity to gain experience through ten different opportunities. We previously detailed several of the opportunities on our blog! Now, let’s explore opportunities to earn experience by completing certifications or self-guided continuing education (CE) courses.

Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Certifications

If you are not currently working for an architect or architecture firm, this category allows you to earn experience by completing one or both of the following Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) certifications:

  • Certified Construction Specifier (CCS): 40 hours in Project Planning & Design
  • Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA): 40 hours in Construction & Evaluation

You may earn hours for completing these CSI certifications whether employed or not.

You must upload the CSI certificate documenting the completion of the program. Once submitted, the CSI certification is reviewed and approved by NCARB. Information regarding the Construction Specifications Institute is available at

CE Courses

There are two opportunities that allow you to gain AXP experience by completing continuing education courses.

First, you can earn up to 10 hours in Practice Management by completing NCARB’s Professional Conduct CE Series. Each course in the series is worth between 1-2.5 continuing education hours in Health, Safety, and Welfare. Completing all courses will result in a total of 10 hours toward the Practice Management area of the AXP.

In addition, you can earn up to 20 additional hours per experience area by completing other AIA-approved CE courses that qualify for HSW learning units. One HSW learning unit is worth one hour of AXP experience. Keep in mind, you will need an official AIA transcript to report your experience under this opportunity.

NCARB’s AIA-approved, HSW Continuum Education courses are a great option under this category, since they’re available at no additional charge as long as you have an active NCARB Record. If you complete an NCARB CE course for AXP hours, you will not be eligible to repeat the same CE course for continuing education credit for license renewal.

For more details about this opportunity and information on how to document your completed courses, read the AXP Guidelines.

Interested in learning more about setting O? Follow along with our setting O series on the NCARB Blog.