About This Report

This report is based on data collected by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) during the 2021 calendar year, providing insight on the path to licensure.

NCARB maintains a database on licensure candidates and Certificate holders. This allows us to track the progression of candidates as they move through the AXP, ARE, and beyond.

Some of the data is self-reported, including age, race and ethnicity, gender, and geographic location. Other data is triggered by candidate actions such as starting the AXP or completing the ARE. NCARB also collects data from the U.S. jurisdictional licensing boards to provide a total count of architects.

Data from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) was also used in this report to provide the number of students entering and graduating from NAAB-accredited programs.

How to Read This Report

To help readers understand the data presented in NCARB by the Numbers, here are some helpful pieces of information to keep in mind.

Reading Charts

Most NCARB by the Numbers charts show a year-over-year comparison of data from NCARB’s Record holders. For example, each bar in the chart below shows the average time it took for candidates to complete the experience program in a given year.

The y (or vertical) axis of this chart measures time in years, while the x (or horizontal) axis measures each individual year. Reading this chart, you can see the average licensure candidate who completed the AXP in 2021 took 4.7 years, a slight increase compared to 2020.

A note about averages: NCARB typically calculates the median, rather than the average or mean. The median provides a more accurate measure, because it better accounts for outliers that skew the overall dataset (like a candidate who take decades to complete a program).

Race and Ethnicity

Throughout this year’s report, we segment NCARB Record holder data by a variety of demographic factors, such as race and ethnicity, gender, and age.

This year, NCARB has adjusted the way we present data around racial and ethnic diversity to reflect the fact that individuals can identify as more than one race or ethnicity. For this reason, some demographic percentages may add to over 100%.

Individuals who identify their race as either American Indian/Alaskan Native or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander make up a fraction of all NCARB customers. For this reason, they are grouped in the individuals of “another group” category.

Percentage Changes vs. Percentage Point Changes

Throughout the 2022 NCARB by the Numbers, we refer to changes in the data as either “percentage point changes” and “percent changes.” Percent change measures the rate of change from one number to another (i.e., going from 40,000 to 50,000 is a 25 percent increase). Percentage point changes, on the other hand, measures the numerical difference in percentages (i.e., going from 40 percent to 50 percent is a 10 increase in percentage points).

NCARB typically uses percentage point changes when comparing proportions of different cohorts or groups—for example, when comparing the racial and ethnic makeup of candidates who completed the AXP in 2021 to 2020. Because the number of candidates completing the AXP each year is different, referring to the change in percentage points rather than the change in percent change allows for a more accurate comparison of the proportion of candidates who identify as people of color each year.

NCARB is constantly updating how we filter and present data in NCARB by the Numbers to provide the most accurate information. If you have questions or comments about this year’s NCARB by the Numbers, please reach out to us at communications@ncarb.org.


NCARB is a global leader in architectural regulation; our members are the architectural licensing boards of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

We are dedicated to helping our Member Boards protect the public health, safety, and welfare by recommending and encouraging national requirements for architectural licensure and mobility—including the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®), Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), and NCARB Certificate. The Certificate facilitates reciprocal licensure across the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand.


Age: Median age based on self-reported dates of birth.

Architect: An individual who is licensed to practice architecture by one of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions.

ARE: The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is a multi-division exam used to assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills, and is required for initial licensure in all U.S. jurisdictions.

ARE/Exam Candidate: An NCARB Record holder who is currently taking the ARE.

ARE Completion: This data point is triggered when an exam candidate passes all ARE divisions.

AXP: The Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) provides a framework to guide licensure candidates through earning and recording professional experience.

AXP Completion: This data point is triggered when a licensure candidate fulfills the AXP’s requirements and their Record has been evaluated by NCARB.

Licensure Candidate: An NCARB Record holder who is actively documenting experience and/or taking the ARE.

NAAB: The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredits U.S. professional programs in architecture. All U.S. jurisdictions accept degrees from NAAB-accredited programs for initial licensure.

New Record: A candidate’s successful application for an NCARB Record, which is often the first step on the path to licensure.

NCARB Certificate: A credential available to architects that facilitates reciprocal licensure across U.S. jurisdictions, as well as Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand.

New Architect: NCARB does not receive reliable data regarding when a candidate first receives their license but estimates that a candidate becomes a new architect after becoming ready for licensure. “New Architects” includes candidates who became ready for licensure in 2020.

NOMA: The National Organization of Minority Architects.

Non-Certified Architect: An architect who does not hold an NCARB Certificate.

Pass Rate: Percentage of division attempts that received a passing score on an ARE division out of the total number of attempts on that division. "Overall pass rate" refers to the percentage of all ARE attempts that received a passing score across all six divisions.

People of Color: Individuals who identified their race as American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian; Black or African American; or Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, as well as individuals who indicated they were of Latino or Hispanic descent.

Ready for Licensure: The core requirements for licensure in the United States include gaining an education (typically a degree from a NAAB-accredited program), completing the AXP, and passing the ARE. Some jurisdictions have additional requirements that fall outside this “core,” such as a supplemental exam. NCARB considers a candidate ready for licensure when they have completed the core licensure requirements.

Reciprocal License: An architecture license issued by a jurisdiction as a result of the applicant holding an initial license in a separate jurisdiction.