In part one of this blog series, we explained how to earn an architecture license in the United States. In this post, we’ll cover how U.S. architects can earn a reciprocal license.

Once you’re licensed in a U.S. jurisdiction, you may want to earn a reciprocal (or out-of-state) license. The easiest way to do this is by earning an NCARB Certificate—a credential that facilitates reciprocal licensure in the 54 jurisdictions, as well as Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand. While it’s possible to gain a reciprocal license without being certified, all 54 jurisdictions accept the Certificate and 26 require it.

Ready to get NCARB certified? First, you’ll need to establish or reactivate your NCARB Record. Next, you will need to document specific education, experience, examination, and registration requirements.


To earn an NCARB Certificate, you’ll need to hold a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB).

Don’t have a degree from an accredited program? We recently launched two alternatives:

  • Two Times AXP. Architects with a bachelor’s degree in an architecture-related program (as determined by NCARB) can document two times the hours required in each of the AXP’s six experience areas.
  • NCARB Certificate Portfolio. Architects with other or no post-secondary education can submit a portfolio of their work addressing the subject areas of the NCARB Education Standard.


You’ll also need to complete the Architectural Experience Program™ (AXP™), formerly named the Intern Development Program (IDP). If you didn’t complete the AXP or its predecessor when you first earned a license, you can retroactively document your experience.


Certificate holders must also pass the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), a multi-division exam used to assess your knowledge and skills.

Registration & Certification

Finally, you’ll need to earn a license to practice architecture from a U.S. jurisdiction.

Once you have met all of the requirements for certification and NCARB has received supporting documentation, we will evaluate your Record. If you meet the requirements for certification, you’ll be issued a Certificate number!


Certified architects can easily apply for licensure in another jurisdiction through their NCARB Record. Simply navigate to the “Registrations” tab, select the “New Registration Order” button, and follow the instructions on your screen. Remember: Since each jurisdiction sets its own requirements for reciprocal licensure, it’s a good idea to explore our licensing requirements tool.

Note: Architects who are licensed outside of the U.S. or Canada can earn a Certificate through our foreign architect path.