A career in architecture often starts with education, so it’s important that you understand the options available to you. NCARB is here to provide the guidance and resources you’ll need to become an architect, beginning with earning your architectural education.

What degree do you need to be an architect?

To become an architect, you’ll need to earn a license, which includes meeting your jurisdiction’s education requirement. For most candidates, this means earning a degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NAAB accreditation is separate from a school’s regional or national accreditation and applies solely to architecture programs. Accredited degrees will have “Arch.” as part of the degree title, like B. Arch. or M. Arch. Any program that offers a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in architecture is not NAAB-accredited. Learn more about NAAB-accreditation.

Some U.S. states and territories offer alternative paths to earning a license for individuals who don’t have a degree from a NAAB-accredited program or don’t have a degree at all. In most cases, pursuing licensure without a degree from a NAAB-accredited program will require additional years of experience. Learn more about education alternatives for initial licensure.

Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL)

IPAL is an option offered within some accredited programs. It provides students with the opportunity to complete the experience and examination requirements for licensure while earning their degree.  For dedicated students, this can provide an accelerated path to licensure in as little as six years.

Freedom by Design

The Freedom by Design program encourages architecture students to put their skills to use by improving the safety and accessibility of homes and community spaces, while earning experience that can count toward AXP.

Study Architecture

Need more information about getting an architectural education? Visit the ACSA's Study Architecture website to find the right school for you, learn more about the industry, and explore potential career opportunities.