NCARB - LICENSURE FOR FOREIGN ARCHITECT
Follow this link to see the most up-to-date information from NCARB’s for foreign applicants: click here
LA.IDEA is trying to help applicants get licensed. This information might not be up-to-date; please consult NCARB’s website for the most current resources.
To become a licensed architect in the United States, you need to complete the requirements of the licensing board where you want to get licensed. In most jurisdictions, you will be required to complete three key components:
1. Earn an architecture degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).
2. Complete the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) by documenting your experience. Reports will need to be reviewed and approved by your AXP supervisor. Experience obtained after you graduate from high school or established equivalency may be eligible. You just need to start an NCARB Record to submit your experience.
3. Pass the six divisions of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®).
If you have foreign education or a license to practice architecture outside the United States or Canada, you have a few options. Before you begin any process, you should check with your chosen jurisdiction to confirm that the path you have selected meets their specific requirements.
If you currently hold a license to practice architecture in a country outside of the United States, you may be able to pursue an NCARB Certificate. You can use your Certificate to apply for a license in a U.S. jurisdiction.
Qualifying for the Foreign Architect Path:
To be eligible for this path, your foreign architecture license must meet specific requirements.
1. Your license must be currently active and remain active until you receive your NCARB Certificate
2. Your license must allow unlimited practice—the design of all types and sizes of buildings
3. Your country must have a system for tracking disciplinary action for architects
4. You must have no record of disciplinary action.
For a detailed outline of the application process, check out NCARB’s documentation checklist.
If you received an architecture degree in a foreign country but do not hold a license, you can follow these steps to earn a license in the United States. Degree programs completed abroad are most likely not accredited by the NAAB.
1. Establish an NCARB Record and complete the education information in the Education tab.
2. Have NAAB evaluate your architecture education through the Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) program - Obtain a transcript and a course description of all courses you were enrolled in from your university, pay the evaluation fee, and send them to NAAB.
3. The EESA evaluation can determine two scenarios for you:
A. Your education meets the NCARB Education Standard - go to step 7!
B. You need to supplement your education. The EESA evaluation report will identify deficiencies and indicate additional examinations and/or coursework required to meet the NCARB Education Standard. You can take online courses from NAAB-accredited programs or attend classes in person. Some deficiencies may be satisfied by passing a one-time exam. Applicants must request pre-approval from NAAB before enrolling in a course or registering for an examination.
4. Once you complete the required coursework and/or examinations, ask the school’s registrar’s office where you took the additional courses to send your transcript to NAAB.
5. NAAB will then issue an official letter stating you have met the Education Standards. That gets posted to your NCARB Record. At this point, you can request your eligibility to take the ARE by the licensing board where you are seeking licensure.
6. Don’t forget that you can start documenting your experience with the AXP before your foreign education has been evaluated. Start this as soon as possible!
7. Pass the ARE!
NCARB has established agreements with the licensing authorities of Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand based on the concept of mutual reciprocity of licensed individuals. Learn more about these arrangements here.