Welcome to the 10th Anniversary/2021 Edition of NCARB by the Numbers

A lot has changed since we published the first edition of NCARB by the Numbers 10 years ago. As always, we have continued to adapt, improve, and add to this information in order to offer clear, reliable data that helps licensing boards and the entire architecture community address today’s most pressing challenges.

More than a year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the field of architecture is still recovering from changes in mobility; travel and jobsite restrictions; health and safety concerns; adapting to remote work; reckoning with racial, gender, and age inequity; test center closures; and more—all of which have not only greatly affected the profession, but also our own personal lives. This is why we have added a new section to 2021 NCARB by the Numbers, providing insight into the dramatic ways the pandemic impacted architectural candidates’ ability to progress along the licensure process—but also highlighting the important ways the profession has begun to recover, giving us hope for the years ahead.

Enhanced data science capabilities have also allowed us to segment and analyze pass rates from more than 30,000 test takers by demographic information, including race and ethnicity, gender, and age. Unfortunately, these findings reveal troubling disparities faced by candidates of color, women, and older candidates—further affirming to us the critical necessity of promoting greater equity and inclusion work by NCARB through its data analytics and its programmatic design and implementation, as well as by other leaders and organizations within the greater architecture community. Armed with data from this year’s publication, as well as from our joint Baseline on Belonging survey of licensure path attrition with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), we will continue leading and listening at these essential discussions, as well as seeking partnership with related organizations, to present solutions to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion on the path to licensure.

There is much to be done to address the disparities demonstrated by this year’s NCARB by the Numbers, as well as to support the ongoing evolution of the licensure process while we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with areas for focused improvement, there are positive trendlines regarding the overall health of the licensure pipeline and the value of the regulatory framework. The tenth edition of NCARB by the Numbers provides insights into these challenges and trends, which will help guide the initiatives we are actively working on to support our Member Boards in delivering a stronger, more equitable path to licensure. 

signature of Michael Armstrong.

Michael J. Armstrong
Chief Executive Officer
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards