Number of U.S. Architects on the Rise

New data from NCARB reveals that the number of architects is increasing, especially when compared to U.S. population growth.

Washington, DC—The number of architects licensed in the United States rose to 113,554, according to the 2017 Survey of Architectural Registration Boards. This represents a 3 percent increase from 2016 and a 10 percent increase from the number of U.S. architects reported a decade ago.

Conducted annually by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the survey provides exclusive insight into data from the architectural licensing boards of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The health of the architecture profession is even more apparent when compared to the U.S. population: the number of architects licensed in the United States has risen over 10 percent since 2008, while the total U.S. population has risen 8 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“With approximately one architect for every 2,900 people in the United States, each architect has the daily opportunity to significantly impact the built environment—and those who live, work, and play in it,” said NCARB President Gregory L. Erny, FAIA, NCARB, Hon. FCARM.

The survey also revealed that there are still more reciprocal (out-of-state) licenses than resident licenses issued across the U.S. Although the number of reciprocal licenses reported in 2017 fell to 125,348 (a 1 percent decrease), this number is the second highest on record—indicating that architects continue to have the mobility they need to seek work across state borders.

In 2017, over 5,200 candidates completed the core education, experience, and examination requirements for licensure —a record high. This has contributed to the increase in the number of licensed architects, and suggests that the profession should benefit from a healthy pipeline in the coming years.

“This year’s data not only shows that licensure remains valued within the architecture field,” said NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong. “It also demonstrates that NCARB’s efforts to streamline the path to licensure and remove unnecessary barriers has been effective. We’ve achieved this while maintaining rigor and ensuring each board’s ability to protect the public.”

The survey reflects registration data from January to December 2017. Additional data on the path to licensure will be available in July’s 2018 edition of NCARB by the Numbers.

To learn more about NCARB’s data and the Survey of Architectural Registration Boards, visit www.ncarb.org.

Jurisdiction Resident Reciprocal Total
Alabama 919 2,022 2,941
Alaska 214 293 507
Arizona 2,344 3,746 6,090
Arkansas 557 1,070 1,627
California 16,445 3,822 20,267
Colorado 3,452 3,820 7,272
Connecticut 1,250 2,981 4,231
Delaware 567 1,143 1,710
District Of Columbia 810 2,859 3,669
Florida 5,330 5,284 10,614
Georgia 2,488 3,184 5,672
Guam 33 77 110
Hawaii 1,055 1,509 2,564
Idaho 499 1,293 1,792
Illinois 5,913 3,944 9,857
Indiana 959 2,252 3,211
Iowa 638 1,517 2,155
Kansas 2,047 877 2,924
Kentucky 732 1,932 2,664
Louisiana 1,320 2,060 3,380
Maine 464 1,189 1,653
Maryland 2,197 4,116 6,313
Massachusetts 4,849 2,501 7,350
Michigan 2,287 3,074 5,361
Minnesota 2,083 1,751 3,834
Mississippi 353 1,324 1,677
Missouri 2,165 3,265 5,430
Montana 440 1,005 1,445
Nebraska 569 1,271 1,840
Nevada 537 2,177 2,714
New Hampshire 296 1,518 1,814
New Jersey 3,065 4,611 7,676
New Mexico 716 1,374 2,090
New York 11,104 7,885 18,989
North Carolina 2,579 3,508 6,087
North Dakota 185 960 1,145
Ohio 3,196 2,933 6,129
Oklahoma 800 1,480 2,280
Oregon 1,878 1,485 3,363
Pennsylvania 4,127 4,614 8,741
Puerto Rico 813 74 887
Rhode Island 307 1,325 1,632
South Carolina 1,128 2,955 4,083
South Dakota 124 772 896
Tennessee 1,359 1,952 3,311
Texas 8,182 4,407 12,589
Utah 924 1,751 2,675
Vermont 250 950 1,200
Virgin Islands* 163 948 1,111
Virginia 2,933 4,413 7,346
Washington 4,025 2,653 6,678
West Virginia 120 1,104 1,224
Wisconsin 1,626 3,247 4,873
Wyoming 138 1,071 1,209
  113,554 125,348 238,902

*Counts from 2015 Survey.

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About NCARB

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.

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