U.S. architects without a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) can pursue an NCARB Certificate through one of two “Education Alternative” options. Both of these paths enable architects to satisfy the education requirement for NCARB certification. Your eligibility will depend on your educational background, as evaluated by NCARB:

  1. NCARB Certificate Portfolio: Submit a portfolio of your work that demonstrates learning through your experience as a licensed architect; or
  2. Two Times AXP: Document double the AXP’s requirements (7,480 hours total)


This NCARB Certificate Portfolio option is for architects who do not qualify for Two Times AXP. To qualify for this option, you must:

  • Have at least three years of continuous licensure for the last three consecutive years in any U.S. jurisdiction without disciplinary action.
  • Any education other than a four-year degree with significant coursework in architecture.

Please note: Certificate Portfolio applicants may only include projects completed post-licensure for the project duration. Projects outside of the applicants jurisdiction(s) of registration must have been completed under the supervision of an architect licensed in that jurisdiction. All projects must be completed and/or built in a U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants may not use projects completed or built outside of the United States to demonstrate learning as an architect registered in the United States.

Applicants completing the Certificate Portfolio fall into two categories:

  • U.S. licensed architects with other post-secondary (collegiate) education who have obtained more than 64 semester credit hours. These applicants have the option to:
    • Obtain an EESA evaluation of their education, then submit a portfolio to address any identified deficiencies; or
    • Submit a portfolio all education requirements without obtaining an EESA
  • U.S. licensed architects with less than 64 semester credit hours of post-secondary education. These applicants must address all education requirements through a portfolio.


The NCARB Certificate Portfolio option is offered at no additional charge to the cost of maintaining your active NCARB Record. However, the NAAB does charge a fee for EESA evaluations. If your NCARB Record has lapsed at any time, you will be charged the initial certification application fee of $1,280.

Your Jurisdiction’s Requirements

Please note: Not all jurisdictions accept an NCARB Certificate issued through the Education Alternative paths. Use our Licensing Requirements Tool to learn which jurisdictions currently grant reciprocity through the Education Alternative.

How to Get Started

  1. First, you will need to establish or reactivate your NCARB Record.
  2. Next, you must email EducationAlternative@ncarb.org to determine which option(s) you are eligible for.
  3. To learn more about applying for the NCARB Certificate through the Education Alternative, download the Education Guidelines and Certification Guidelines.