California Architecture Industry Licensing

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Licensing requirements for architecture industry firms and individuals in California.

This page provides an overview of architecture industry licensing in for individuals and firms. You will find state requirements, application fees, filing instructions, and more. For assistance with licensing, please contact us to learn about our software and managed license services.

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Company Licenses

California Architecture Company Licenses

California Business Entity Report

More Information:

Agency:California Architects Board

CA Business and Professions Code § 5535.2

Ownership Requirements:

None for corporations. Each director, shareholder, and officer of a PC must be licensed.


California does not issue firm licenses at the state level, however, licensed architects must submit a business entity report form and file an updated report within 30 days of a change in firm information.

Initial Registration

This section applies to architectural firms that are applying for a license in California for the first time. If you already have a license and are looking to renew it, please see the renewal section.


Business Entity Report Form

Agency fee:


Registration Renewal

This section applies to architectural firms that are already licensed in California and need to renew their license.

Not required

Business entity reports only need to be re-filed when there is a change of information.



Business Entity Report Form (Amendment)

Agency fee:



Licensees must immediately notify the Board of any name and/or address changes. In addition, licensees must submit an updated copy of the business entity form with the new information within 30 days of the change.

California Landscape Architecture Firm License

Not required

More information: California Landscape Architects Technical Committee

Registration Not Required

Not required

Individual Licenses

California Individual Architecture Licenses

California Architect License

Agency:California Architects Board
NCARB Certificate:Not required
Completion of CE/PDH:Required
Interview:Not required
NAAB-accredited degree:Not required
NCARB IDP:Required
Additional Experience:Not required
State-specific exam:Required

Initial Registration

This section applies to architects that are applying for a license in California for the first time.


Applications are available on the Board’s website or may be requested by telephone.

Agency fee:

$300 application fee + $100 exam fee. The $100 is one-time for those candidates who remain active in the examination process (taking at least one examination, pass or fail, every five years. There is an additional fee for the California Supplemental Examination.

Reciprocal Registration

This section applies to architects licensed in another state that are looking for reciprocal licensure in California.

Agency fee:

$35 California Reciprocity Application fee; $100 California Supplemental Examination fee; $300 Application for Licensure fee.

Registration Renewal

This section applies to architects that are already licensed in California and need to renew their license.

Agency fee:


Due:Biennially on the last day of the birth month for a licensee.

California Landscape Architect License

Agency:California Landscape Architects Technical Committee

Learn about architecture licensing in other states:

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.

Architecture License Service

Our licensing solutions benefit both firms and individual architects.

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