Architecture Licensing Compliance Guide

Learn about licensing requirements for architecture firms and architects.
An overview look of an architectures blueprints

Like many professional services, practicing architecture or a related design service requires a unique set of education, experience, and examination standards. Whether you are a principal of a firm, an employee within a firm, or a recent graduate starting your career, you will face certification and licensing requirements at every level of your career. The following guide contains an overview of architecture industry licensing as well as specific board requirements in each state.

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Adhering to professional licensing requirements is key to maintaining your legal authority to provide architectural services. Beyond that, full compliance demonstrates that you have the professional skills and judgment to ensure the health and safety of those who construct, maintain, and inhabit the structure you have designed. Failing to observe architectural industry requirements can result in state-imposed penalties and even denial, revocation, or suspension of your license.

In addition to our online resources, we provide complete compliance solutions for architecture firms, including advanced software for licensing, tax, and entity management and a suite of service packages to provide your staff with guidance and support from AE compliance specialists.

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Licenses for Architecture Industry Firms

Find out everything you need to know to license your firm and manage renewals, so you’re always ready to bid opportunities and provide services.

Architecture Firm Licensing

Landscape Architecture Firm Licensing

Interior Design Firm Licensing

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Licenses for Architecture Industry Individuals

Explore requirements for becoming a licensed architect or designer, including education, exams, training, applications, and state application processes. And remember to keep up with continuing education requirements and file your renewals.

Architect Licensing

Landscape Architect Licensing

Interior Designer Certification

Explore Architecture Licenses by State

ARE (Architect Registration Examination) - Assesses candidates for their knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required to be a practicing architect.

AXP (Architectural Experience Program) - NCARB program for architectural internship, a requirement for licensure that occurs after filling the educational requirements.

BEFA (Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect) - An alternative NCARB certification that allows foreign architects to independently practice architecture.

COA (Certificate of Authorization) - The most common name of the registration required for firms to practice architecture in a given state.

Design Firm - Architectural firm registration is sometimes grouped with engineering and land surveying on a single “design firm” application form.

NCARB Certification - Licensed architects have the option to become Certificate holders to signify that they have met national standards established by U.S. licensing boards for protecting public health, safety, and welfare. Certification also facilitates reciprocal registration in all 54 jurisdictions, 11 Canadian jurisdictions, and can be used to support an application for licensure in other countries.

Reciprocity - This is when a licensed architect in one state can provide documentation (often a NCARB certificate) to more easily apply for licensure in another jurisdiction.

State Board - Often referred to as the State Architects Licensure Board or Board of Architects, an individual state’s board serves as the regulatory authority for architects. The board qualifies and licenses individuals seeking architectural licensure. The board is responsible for preserving the public health, safety, and welfare of individuals who occupy built environments.

National Architecture Accrediting Board
NAAB establishes criteria for and accredits professional architecture degree programs in the United States.

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
AIAS is an independent, student-run group that promotes excellence in architecture education, training, and practice.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
AIA is a voluntary professional organization for architects providing advocacy, information, and community.

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)
ACSA represents architectural education programs across the globe.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
NCARB is the national organization representing the state registration boards.

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