To become a licensed architect, you’ll need to complete several steps designed to build your skills and ensure you’re ready to competently design buildings that protect the public's health, safety, and welfare. Getting started is easier than you think—here’s how.  

To practice architecture in the United States, you'll need to earn a license from the regulatory board in the jurisdiction where you want to practice. Though each of the 55 U.S. states and territories, or jurisdictions, sets their own requirements for licensure in that jurisdiction, they all include three core components: education, experience, and examination. This is where your NCARB Record comes in!  

What is an NCARB Record? 

Your NCARB Record is a detailed, verified account of your education, experience, and examination history. You’ll need a Record to report experience through the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) program, start the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), earn your initial license, and apply for an NCARB Certificate.  

How Can I Get an NCARB Record? 

To create your NCARB Record, you will also need a free My NCARB account. You can follow these steps to set up both, or skip to step 4 if you already have a My NCARB account. 

  1. Click “Login to My NCARB” on the NCARB homepage. 
  2. Click “Establish Record.” 
  3. Fill in the required fields to create an account and click “Submit.” 
  4. On your My NCARB homepage, click “Add” next to the NCARB Record option. 
  5. Fill in the required information. This step may take a while, so feel free to save and return later if you need more time. 
  6. After completing the information, submit payment for your NCARB Record. 

Once you click “Submit,” you will receive two emails: the first will confirm receipt of your payment, and the second will assign your NCARB Record number and provide further instructions. Once you’ve completed the initial process, you can access your NCARB Record any time by logging in to My NCARB and selecting “Go” next to the NCARB Record option. Once there, you will see an overview page. From the overview page, you can select the subject you would like to review or update. 

Does Starting a Record Cost Money? 

Yes—we do our best to keep fees low for candidates, but we can’t totally offset the cost of evaluating and maintaining your Record. An initial application fee is $100 and includes your initial Record application, maintaining your Record for a year, and one free Record transmittal to support your application for initial registration. More information on the cost of establishing and maintaining your NCARB Record can be found on our fees page. If you have established an NCARB Record in the past, you can reactivate your existing Record by logging in to your My NCARB account and selecting the Annual Renewal option. 

Learn more about the steps to becoming a licensed architect through our video-based resource, Destination Architect