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Explore the Licensing Landscape: The map below illustrates nationwide licensing requirements
for landscape architecture firms.
Click on a state to read about detailed license requirements in that state.
28 States Do Not Require Firm Licensure
18 States (and D.C.) Require Firm Licensure
4 States Require Firm Registration or Other Prerequisites
Overview of Landscape Architecture Firm Licensing Requirements
In addition to individual landscape architect licensing requirements, many states require firms that
provide landscape architecture services to be licensed as well. While not every state requires licensure
of firms, there are often ownership, corporate structure, and entity name requirements to meet.
Before applying for a license, firms should identify a licensed landscape architect to serve as their
landscape architect in responsible charge. The landscape architect in charge must have an active license
in the state and is generally required to be an employee of the firm, although some states, like Oklahoma,
require this individual to also hold a legal position within the firm.
License application requirements vary by state, but many applications ask for:
Business entity information
A list of officers or owners of the firm
Landscape architect-in-charge information
A certificate of authority (for out-of-state entities)
A certificate of good standing from the secretary of state
Firms operating in more than one location within the same state will likely also need to provide landscape
architect-in-charge and contact information for each of their branch office locations. In some states,
each branch office must obtain its own firm registration or license.
Landscape architecture firms that provide other design services like architectural or interior design
work will typically need a separate license for each professional service they provide. A few states do,
however, issue design firm licenses that cover a multitude of architectural disciplines, as well as
engineering and land surveying, under a single license.
Geology firms pursuing projects outside of their home state should expect to have to register with the
board of geologists, secretary of state, and sometimes the department of revenue before providing services
in a new state. In states with no licensing requirement for businesses, firms should still make sure
that they are clear to operate in the jurisdiction under their entity type and that there is a licensed
professional geologist in charge of all geology-related services for the firm.
For states with a licensing requirement for firms, the order of the licensing process varies. Some states
require firms to foreign qualify their business entity with the secretary of state before applying for
a geology firm license, while others give firms the flexibility to complete these registrations in the
order they choose.
Firms should also apply for any necessary tax-related registrations before providing geologic services
in a state. Corporate income tax, withholding tax, and unemployment insurance tax registrations are
commonly required when doing business in a new state.
After licenses and registrations are obtained, firms must file renewals to remain in good standing. Geology
firm licenses renew on an annual or biennial basis in every state except for New York, which requires
firms to renew their license every three years. Along with license renewal, firms may also need to submit
annual reports to maintain their entity registration with the secretary of state.
In addition to these structured renewal events, firms must also report address, contact information,
qualifying individual, and ownership changes as they occur. States typically require these types of
changes to be reported within 10 or 20 days of their occurrence.
Firms should also track continuing education requirements to ensure that their qualifying individuals
meet their individual license renewal requirements. Geologists in charge who fail to meet renewal
requirements will jeopardize the good standing of the firm license.
A loss of good standing with the board of geologists or secretary of state typically results in the payment
of penalty fees to reinstate, and registrations left delinquent for long enough can become dissolved
entirely. Maintaining compliance in these areas is the key to avoiding unnecessary penalties and preventing
costly delays caused by delinquent registrations.
Keeping up with each state’s requirements, tracking renewals, and submitting the applications on time are
critical to avoiding penalties. Our compliance software and services
can help you keep track of varying jurisdiction requirements and relevant updates to state laws.
Firm License Requirements by State
Looking for architecture certification requirements in a particular jurisdiction? The following table
summarizes architecture firm licensing requirements across the United States. Click on any state for
the licensing information specific to that state.
Landscape Architecture Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Wyoming
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.
Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create
an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review
information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency. Access to our website is subject to
Filing fees depend on your individual situation. We do our best to calculate your filing fees
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