For most licensure candidates, the first step to becoming an architect is enrolling in a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NAAB data reveals that while the pool of new enrollments during the 2015-2016 school year grew by 4 percent, the number of graduates declined by 5 percent. However, overall enrollments increased slightly for the first time since 2010.

Awareness of the licensure process is also increasing among students. NCARB’s data shows that almost half of newly licensed architects started the path to licensure while in school. Plus, licensure candidates with a degree from an accredited program progress toward licensure more efficiently—and with greater success.

More Architecture Students Enroll in Accredited Programs

In 2016, over 7,300 new students enrolled in a NAAB-accredited program—a 4 percent increase from the previous school year. Of those new students, 51 percent are enrolled in Bachelor of Architecture programs, 49 percent in Master of Architecture programs, and less than 1 percent in Doctor of Architecture degree programs.

Note: This data is provided to NAAB by accredited programs and was published in the 2016 NAAB Report on Accreditation in Architecture. Students enrolled in non-accredited architecture programs are not represented.

Overall Enrollment Grows Slightly

More than 24,400 students were enrolled in a NAAB-accredited program last year, a 1 percent growth from the 2014-2015 school year. This also marks the first year since 2010 that overall enrollment has grown. Of those students, 58 percent are enrolled in Bachelor of Architecture programs, 42 percent in Master of Architecture programs, and less than 1 percent in Doctor of Architecture degree programs.

Note: This data is provided to NAAB by accredited programs and was published in the 2016 NAAB Report on Accreditation in Architecture. Students enrolled in non-accredited architecture programs are not represented.

Number of Graduates From Accredited Programs Drop

In 2016, 6,042 degrees were awarded by NAAB-accredited programs—a 5 percent drop from the previous year, but on par with the eight-year average. Of those graduates, 57 percent were male and 43 percent were female, which remains unchanged from the 2014-2015 school year. Regarding race and ethnicity, 49 percent of graduates identified as white, 14 percent as Hispanic/Latino, 10 percent as Asian, and 4 percent as Black/African American.

Note: This data is provided to NAAB by accredited programs and was published in the 2016 NAAB Report on Accreditation in Architecture. Students enrolled in non-accredited architecture programs are not represented.

More Newly Licensed Architects Start NCARB Record in School

Creating an account with NCARB, known as an NCARB Record, is one of the first steps on the path to licensure. Of the architects who earned an initial license in 2016, 46 percent started their NCARB Record as students, the highest proportion to date.

Most Licensure Candidates Attend NAAB-Accredited Programs

Of the licensure candidates who completed the AXP in 2016, 86 percent held a degree from a NAAB-accredited program. While this proportion remains unchanged from the previous year, the decade-long trend confirms that earning a degree from an accredited program remains the preferred path.

Note: Historical data can shift because licensure candidates can backdate AXP experience up to five years.

Time to Complete the ARE Influenced by Degree Type

In 2016, exam candidates who graduated from a NAAB-accredited program finished the ARE in two years—about five months sooner than candidates from non-accredited programs. Historically, graduates from accredited programs often complete the exam several months sooner, although the difference between these two groups grew closer in 2016.

Graduates From Accredited Programs Have Higher ARE Success Rate

ARE candidates who graduated from a NAAB-accredited program achieved a higher exam success rate (the average pass rate across all divisions). In 2016, graduates from accredited programs had a 64 percent success rate, compared to 57 percent for graduates from non-accredited programs. While success rates for all graduates dropped slightly from 2015 (see ARE Success Rates Impacted by New Exam), candidates from accredited programs have consistently outperformed their peers by 7 to 9 percentage points.

Graduates From Accredited Programs Have Higher ARE Division Pass Rates

In 2016, candidates with degrees from NAAB-accredited programs outperformed their peers across all ARE divisions. The difference in pass rates was greatest in Building Systems, with graduates from accredited programs outperforming graduates from non-accredited programs by 10 percentage points. Construction Documents & Services had the smallest difference, with graduates from accredited programs generally performing 3 percentage points better than their peers.