If you’re a student interested in pursuing a career in architecture, there are several steps you’ll need to take to ensure you’re ready to become licensed. Here are some resources to guide you on your journey to officially becoming an architect. 

Destination Architect 

Our Destination Architect resource clearly breaks down each step on the path to licensure—from gaining experience to passing the national exam—and includes helpful videos to get you one step closer to earning your license. You’ll also find trusted tips to help you get the most out of your experience and shorten your time to licensure.  

Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) Guidelines 

The Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) provides a framework to guide you through gaining and recording your professional experience. The program focuses on six key experience areas—Practice Management, Project Management, Programming & Analysis, Project Planning & Design, Project Development & Documentation, and Construction & Evaluation—to prepare licensure candidates to practice architecture independently. Learn more about the AXP and how to get started by reviewing the AXP Guidelines.  

As you start gaining experience, use this helpful guide to ensure that you have established clear, reasonable expectations with your AXP Supervisor. Plus, use our Licensure Progress Worksheet with your AXP Supervisor to guide your progress and understand what steps you need to take to earn a license. 

Starting an NCARB Record 

Your NCARB Record is a detailed, verified account of your education, experience, and examination history. You’ll need a Record to report experience through the AXP, start the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), earn your initial license, and apply for an NCARB Certificate. Follow these steps to get started

Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) Guidelines 

The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is a multi-division exam that will assess your knowledge and skills regarding the practice of architecture. The current version of the exam, ARE® 5.0, features six divisions organized around the progression of a typical architecture project and current practice. Review the ARE Guidelines and watch our test prep videos to learn what you can expect from each division and create your testing strategy. 

Be sure to take advantage of each division’s free, full-length practice exam to assess your knowledge and prepare for the real thing. 

Licensing Requirements Tool 

With the Licensing Requirements Tool, you can not only see the specific requirements for licensure where you live, but you can also easily compare it to requirements in other jurisdictions! Through the tool, you can:  

  • Click the type of requirements you want to see (initial licensure, reciprocal licensure, renewal, or practice) 
  • Click on the jurisdiction you want to see requirements for  
  • See what your jurisdiction requires by reviewing the items highlighted in blue  
  • Share or reference your requirements at any time with new direct links (e.g., www.ncarb.org/mississippi)   

Find Your Local Licensing Advisor 

Architect licensing advisors are professionals, educators, and students who volunteer their time to help others on their journey to earning a license. Use our Licensing Advisor Lookup Tool to find someone you can go to for advice and encouragement along the way. 

Inspiration from Real Architects 

Whether you’re interested in sustainable design or tips for juggling your personal life with your career goals, find encouragement from other licensure candidates and architects on the NCARB Blog

Staying Connected 

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