Though many people understand the value of an architecture license, not everyone understands the ins and outs of NCARB’s programs or the time commitment that goes into becoming a licensed architect. After all, the average person takes 13 years to earn their license, according to the most recent edition of NCARB by the Numbers.
That’s why we asked members of our community to tell us about their unique experiences on the licensure path and the wisdom they’ve gained since. From practical tips about saving money to the importance of mentorship, here’s what they had to say:
- “Don’t wait too long between exams and don’t be afraid of failing—fails are a way to study for that division!”
– Farah Ahmad, RA, LEED AP BD+C
- “Alternative paths in some jurisdictions could have saved me from college debt.”
– Anthony Guerra
- “Know that the path to licensure is long and can be unpredictable. Be open and adaptive to changes that can come your way, like dedicating uninterrupted blocks of study time, taking mental health breaks, or switching AXP Mentors for your hours sign-off.”
– Brandon Wang, RA
- “That there is an accredited bachelor's program."
– Evan Berger, Assoc. AIA
- “If I could go back, I would've referenced the ARE Guidelines and AXP Guidelines more often. It sounds simple, but these resources outline important items you need to know for the licensure process—from exam division topics to various ways to gain experience.”
– Tanvi Solanki, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP
- “Start early, and don’t stop no matter what.”
– Eddy Santamaria
- “One of the best things I learned was a testing strategy. On one of NCARB's blogs, I had read a suggestion to read each question twice. Read it once for understanding, and then before reading again ask yourself—what is this question actually asking? Once you dig a bit deeper, it becomes much easier to eliminate the incorrect answers.”
– Trent Schmitz, NCARB
- “That ‘registration’ in this country means ‘license.’ Get a mentor (or several!) and get clarity on anything you may have doubts about! Also, report all your AXP hours as soon as possible. Every single hour counts toward your goal!"
– Gloria Kloter, AIA, NCARB, CODIA
- “It’s more than just memorizing, it’s understanding and being competent in the knowledge.”
– Jaime Rasmussen
- “You’re most definitely capable of becoming an architect. Set your mind to it and don’t stop!”
– Garrett VanRoekel