Washington, DC—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) eleventh annual data report, NCARB by the Numbers, delivers essential insights into the latest licensure trends and illustrates the architecture field’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as new trends toward greater diversity. The 2022 edition also provides enhanced demographic reporting, including more detailed information about gender, racial, and ethnic diversity in the profession and the status of attrition for various demographic groups throughout the licensure process.  

Key findings from the latest edition, which is based on data from the 2021 calendar year, include: 

  • Over 3,500 candidates completed the path to licensure in 2021, a rise toward pre-pandemic levels. 
  • The average candidate took 13 years—from starting college to receiving a license—to complete the path to licensure, with women finishing on average six months sooner than men.   
  • Gender diversity continued to improve slightly at most career stages, with women representing 40% of new architects. 
  • More than half (60%) of new licensure candidates identified as a person of color, and—for the first time in NCARB’s history—over 500 Black or African American candidates started the path to licensure in 2021. 
  • The racial and ethnic diversity of candidates reporting experience and taking the national licensing exam increased, though white candidates—especially white men—are still overrepresented compared to U.S. census data in the pool of candidates completing these programs. 
  • Over the past decade, 64% of all candidates stayed on the path to licensure; however, candidates of color are far more likely to stop pursuing licensure. 
  • More than 80% of newly licensed architects graduated from an accredited architecture program. 
  • The number of candidates working toward completing the path to licensure rose by 7% in 2021, with over 32,000 reporting experience, taking the exam, or both. 

“While the architecture profession continues to grapple with the changes brought on by the pandemic, NCARB’s data shows that many key indicators of the overall health of the licensure pipeline are either numerically on the mend or showing growth in areas of diversity,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong. “The number of candidates starting the licensure process, completing the exam, and becoming licensed all rebounded over the past year.” 

The findings in NCARB by the Numbers are pulled from NCARB’s database of nearly 115,00 licensure candidates and architects, making this annual report the most comprehensive source for licensure statistics. 

To read the full report and explore interactive data charts, visit www.ncarb.org/NBTN2022