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 intake of new enrollments during the 2016-2017 school year fell by 6 percent, the number of graduates increased by 2 percent. Overall, the pool of total enrollments has held steady for the past four school years—around 24,000.

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.

New Enrollment in Accredited Programs Drops

Nearly 7,000 new students enrolled in a NAAB-accredited program in 2017—a 6 percent decrease from the previous school year. Of these new students, 45 percent are enrolled in Bachelor of Architecture programs, 54 percent in Master of Architecture programs, and less than 1 percent in Doctor of Architecture degree programs.

Of the total population of new enrollees, 52 percent were men and 48 percent were women. This represents the smallest gap in gender equity across any stage on the path to licensure.

Note: This data is provided to NAAB by accredited programs and will be published in the 2017 NAAB Report on Accreditation in Architecture, available at www.naab.org. Students enrolled in non-accredited architecture programs are not represented.

Overall Enrollment Holds Steady

Just over 24,100 students were enrolled in a NAAB-accredited program in the 2016-2017 school year, down 1 percent from the 2015-2016 school year. This number has remained around 24,000 for the past four school years, indicating that overall enrollment is relatively stable. Of these 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. 53 percent are men, and 47 percent are women.

Note: This data is provided to NAAB by accredited programs and will be published in the 2017 NAAB Report on Accreditation in Architecture, available at www.naab.org. Students enrolled in non-accredited architecture programs are not represented.

Number of Graduates Grows Slightly

In 2017, 6,175 degrees were awarded by NAAB-accredited programs, a 2 percent increase from 2016. The nine-year average of 6,154 degrees awarded—nearly equal with this year’s number—indicates that like enrollment, graduation rates remain steady.

Of these graduates, 55 percent were men and 45 percent were women—a 2 percentage point improvement in gender equity from the 2015-2016 school year. Broken down by race and ethnicity, 46 percent of graduates identified as white, 14 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 9 percent as Asian, and 4 percent as Black or African American.

Note: This data is provided to NAAB by accredited programs and will be published in the 2017 NAAB Report on Accreditation in Architecture, available at www.naab.org. Students enrolled in non-accredited architecture programs are not represented.

More Newly Licensed Architects Start Record in School

Of architects who earned an initial license in 2017, 47 percent started their NCARB Record as students, the highest proportion to date.

Creating an NCARB Record enables students to begin reporting AXP experience, and is required to take the ARE—because of this, it is considered one of the first steps on the path to licensure.

Most Licensure Candidates Attend NAAB-Accredited Programs

Of the licensure candidates who completed the AXP in 2017, 85 percent held a degree from a NAAB-accredited program. This represents a drop of 1 percentage point from the previous year, but is above the 10-year average of 83 percent. This 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.

Graduates From Accredited Programs Complete the ARE Sooner

In 2017, candidates who graduated from a NAAB-accredited program finished the ARE in two years on average—about four months sooner than candidates from non-accredited programs. Although graduates from accredited programs historically complete the exam several months sooner, the gap between these two groups has been shrinking since 2014.

Graduates From Accredited Programs Have Higher ARE Success Rates

ARE candidates who graduated from a NAAB-accredited program achieved a higher exam success rate (the average pass rate across all divisions). In 2017, graduates from accredited programs had a 60 percent success rate, compared to 52 percent for graduates from non-accredited programs. While success rates for all graduates dropped from 2016 as candidates navigate the transition from ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0, candidates from accredited programs have consistently outperformed their peers by 7 to 9 percentage points.

For comparison, the average success rate for all exam candidates in 2017 was 58 percent.

Graduates From Accredited Programs Have Higher ARE Division Pass Rates

In 2017, candidates with degrees from NAAB-accredited programs outperformed their peers across all ARE 4.0 and 5.0 divisions. The difference in pass rates was greatest in ARE 4.0’s Building Systems and ARE 5.0’s Project Planning & Design, with graduates from accredited programs outperforming graduates from non-accredited programs by 11 and 14 percentage points, respectively.