Path to Licensure

Emerging Professionals are generally considered to be intern architects aspiring towards licensure, as well as those who have been licensed for 10 years or less.

AIA provides a number of resources for Emerging Professionals as well as the firms that support them:

  • Emerging Professional’s Companion {} – The Emerging Professional’s Companion is an online resource developed by the AIA and NCARB primarily for use by interns in gaining IDP credit. The Companion can also be used by educators, young architects, AIA components, and firm leaders in a variety of ways to provide professional development opportunities and to enhance or create new learning opportunities.
  • For Firms {} – The AIA provides tools, resources, and best practices to help firms, supervisors, mentors, and IDP Coordinators foster intern professional development on the path toward licensure.
  • IDP Firm Awards Program {} – Through this awards program, the AIA and NCARB recognize firms that actively embrace the Intern Development Program and demonstrate a commitment to interns by making the path to licensure an integral part of the firm’s culture.

Architect Registration Examination (ARE®)

The Architect Registration Examination (ARE) is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) {} to assess candidates for their knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required in the practice of architecture.

The ARE 4.0 currently consists of the following seven divisions that can be taken in any sequence. Exams include a combination of multiple-choice, check-all-that-apply, and fill-in-the-blank questions and graphic vignettes.

  1. Construction Documents & Services
  2. Programming, Planning & Practice
  3. Site Planning & Design
  4. Building Design & Construction Systems
  5. Structural Systems
  6. Building Systems
  7. Schematic Design

For a visual reference about the path to licensure in California, download the Path to Licensure Cheat Sheet: A Guide for Understanding the Requirements for an Architecture License in the state of California.

AIACCC’s Intern Architect Library

The AIACCC’s Intern Architect Library maintains current ARE and CSE study materials available for free to our Associate AIA Members. Go to our Intern Architect Library page for details.

Other Resources

Exam guides and practice tests are available in the Preparing for the ARE {} section of the NCARB website.

Additional study resources are available through Brightwood Architecture Education (formerly Kaplan Architecture), the nation’s leader in standardized testing preparation for more than 75 years. Brightwood Architecture offers an array of libraries, packages, seminars, and resources in both online and text options to help you prepare for all seven divisions of the ARE exam.

For those looking to get licensed in California, in addition to the ARE, the California Architects Board requires the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) {} for licensure. The CSE ensures that candidates are able to demonstrate minimum standards of competency and necessary architectural knowledge and skills to respond to the unique requirements and conditions in California.