In October, NCARB announced our commitment to creating greater equity and accessibility on the path to licensure through our “Pathways to Practice” initiative. Now, watch as NCARB’s FY24 President Jon Alan Baker, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP, explains the goals behind Pathways to Practice and shares our progress so far.

What is NCARB’s Pathways to Practice initiative?

Currently, most architects (85%) pursue licensure after earning a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB)—primarily because most U.S. jurisdictions require an accredited education for initial licensure. But not all would-be architects have the ability or desire to pursue a five- or six-year degree.

30% of our jurisdictions recognize that competency can be developed through other pathways … What we want to do is elevate those pathways so that candidates who aren't able to take the traditional path still have a pathway into this profession.

NCARB’s goal is to open up new pathways to practice across all 55 licensing boards, allowing candidates to demonstrate their competency to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare through various combinations of experience and education. Of the 55 jurisdictions, 17 jurisdictions already offer multiple pathways to initial licensure, and 48 offer multiple pathways to reciprocal licensure.

How long will it take to create more pathways to practice?

Pathways to Practice is a multi-year effort. We’ve recently made several programmatic changes to improve equity on the path to licensure, and we’re in the middle of a multi-year effort to re-envision the process of becoming an architect. Over the next several years, our expert volunteers will explore how best to measure and assess competency on the path to licensure—including opportunities to incorporate more flexibility into the core licensure requirements.

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