Architecture Licensing Compliance Guide
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Pennsylvania Architecture Industry Licensing

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Licensing requirements for architecture industry firms and individuals in Pennsylvania.

This page provides an overview of architecture industry licensing in Pennsylvania 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

Pennsylvania Architecture Company Licenses

Pennsylvania Firm Registration

Agency:Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board
Law:

PA Stat Title 63 § 34.13

Eligible Entity Types:
  • Business Corporations
  • Professional Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Ownership Requirements:

Business Corporations:

  • At least 2/3 of the directors are licensed in a state to practice architecture, engineering or landscape architecture.
  • At least 1/3 of the directors is licensed in a state to practice architecture.
  • At least one director is a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.
  • At least 2/3 of all classes of voting stock issued and outstanding at any one time are owned by architects, engineers or landscape architects.
  • At least 1/3 of each class of voting stock issued and outstanding at any one time are owned by individuals licensed in a state to practice architecture.

Professional Corporations:

  • Every shareholder is licensed in a state to practice architecture, engineering or landscape architecture.
  • At least one shareholder is a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.

Limited Liability Companies:

  • At least 2/3 of the members if managed by members or at least two-thirds of the managers if managed by managers are licensed under the laws of any state to practice architecture, engineering or landscape architecture.
  • At least 1/3 of the members if managed by members or at least one-third of the managers if managed by managers are licensed under the laws of any state to practice architecture.
  • At least one member or manager is a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.
  • At least 2/3 of all classes of voting membership at any one time shall be owned by an individual or individuals licensed under the laws of any state to practice architecture, engineering or landscape architecture.
  • At least 1/3 of all classes of voting membership at any one time shall be owned by an individual or individuals licensed under the laws of any state to practice architecture.

Partnerships:

  • At least 2/3 of the partners are licensed in a state to practice architecture, engineering or landscape architecture.
  • At least 1/3 of the partners is licensed in a state to practice architecture.
  • At least one partner is a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.

Professional Associations:

  • At least 2/3 of the members of the board of governors are licensed in a state to practice architecture, engineering or landscape architecture.
  • At least 1/3 of the members of the board of governors is licensed in a state to practice architecture.
  • At least one member is a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.

NOTE: A partnership, professional association, corporation, limited liability company or limited liability partnership engaged in the practice of architecture having fewer than three partners, governors, shareholders or directors, members or managers under this section shall have at least one partner, governor, shareholder or director, member or manager who is an individual duly certified to practice architecture in the Commonwealth.

Fact Checked:5/28/20

Initial Registration

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

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$50

Before you Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  • A copy of the proposed company letterhead displaying the full firm name, including the corporate designator, fictitious name (if applicable), names of the principals, followed by credentials indicating their respective professions, which must be permanently imprinted, as well as the word “architect” or some derivation thereof as part of the name of the business, or as a subtitle thereto.
  • A recent Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) from the state police or other state agency that is the official repository for criminal history record information for every state in which you have lived, worked, or completed professional training/studies for the past five (5) years. The report(s) must be dated within 90 days of the date the application is submitted.
  • A PALS account must be created or accessed in order to begin filing. 

Foreign Applicants:

  • A copy of the proposed company letterhead displaying the full firm name, including the corporate designator, fictitious name (if applicable), names of the principals, followed by credentials indicating their respective professions, which must be permanently imprinted, as well as the word “architect” or some derivation thereof as part of the name of the business, or as a subtitle thereto.
  • A recent Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) from the state police or other state agency that is the official repository for criminal history record information for every state in which you have lived, worked, or completed professional training/studies for the past five (5) years. The report(s) must be dated within 90 days of the date the application is submitted.
  • A letter of good standing from the relevant state's board of architects showing that the out-of-state licensed professionals listed on the application have active licenses in their home state
  • A PALS account must be created or accessed in order to begin filing. 
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. Submit an architecture firm license application online through the PALS system. A criminal history check and the proposed company letterhead must be submitted with the application.
  2. Register your business entity and fictitious name(s) with the Pennsylvania Department of State. For businesses with some form of 'Architect' in their name, the board of architects will provide a letter of name approval which must be submitted with the Department of State filings.
  3. Submit a copy of the approved entity formation documents (including fictitious name approval documents) to the Architects Licensure Board.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Submit an architecture firm license application online through the PALS system. A criminal history check and the proposed company letterhead must be submitted with the application. Out-of-state firms must also submit letter(s) of good standing for each individual owners' architect license to show that they are in good standing.
  2. Register your business entity and fictitious name(s) with the Pennsylvania Department of State. For businesses with some form of 'Architect' in their name, the board of architects will provide a letter of name approval which must be submitted with the Department of State filings.
  3. Submit a copy of the approved foreign entity registration documents (including fictitious name approval documents) to the Architects Licensure Board.
Fact Checked:5/28/20

Registration Renewal

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

Form:

Online Renewal

Agency Fee:

$100

Due:

By June 30 of odd numbered years.

Fact Checked:4/15/20

Amendment

Form:

Amendment Application for Firm Registration

Agency Fee:

$50

Due:

Within 30 days of the effective date of the change.

Fact Checked:11/5/19

Reinstatement

Agency Fee:

$130

Notes:

A reactivation form must be requested via email or by calling the board.

Fact Checked:11/5/19

Pennsylvania Interior Design Firm License

Not required



Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Pennsylvania Landscape Architecture Firm License

Not required



Landscape Architecture Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Pennsylvania.

More information: Pennsylvania Board of Landscape Architects

Individual Licenses

Pennsylvania Individual Architecture Licenses

Pennsylvania Architect License

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

Initial Registration

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

Form:Calling Board Office 717-783-3397 Download from websitehttp://www.dos.state.pa.us/arch
Agency Fee:

$40.00 application fee + $30.00 exam fee only when applicant does 0T have an NAAB Degree.

Reciprocal Registration

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

Agency Fee:

With NCARB Certification $30.00 - Without $50.00

Registration Renewal

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

Agency Fee:

$100

Due:

By June 30 of odd-numbered years.

Pennsylvania Interior Designer License

Not required



Interior Designer licensure is not required on the State level in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Landscape Architect License

Agency:Pennsylvania Board of Landscape Architects
Fact Checked:8/27/19

Reciprocal Registration

Filing Method:

File online.

Agency Fee:

$45

Fact Checked:8/27/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

File online.

Agency Fee:

$194

Due:

By May 31 of odd-numered years.

Fact Checked:8/27/19

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.

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