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How to Become a Licensed Architect

Equal parts engineering, advanced mathematics, and creative thinking, careers in architecture represent a unique opportunity to influence both the aesthetic and structural design of the nation’s buildings and structures. Offering a chance for those with both artistic and technical skills to apply their full capabilities to a challenging profession, the field of architecture has always attracted multi-talented individuals.

As a result of the nation’s ongoing interest in further residential, commercial, and recreational development, the industry sees no shortage of growth. The field is expected to grow rapidly through 2020, being projected to see a 17% increase in available jobs, which is higher than the national average.

However, pursuing a career in architecture does require a significant amount of schooling and credentialing. Beyond that, all architects must be licensed by the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards (NCARB) before they can move into professional practice. Here’s a breakdown of the essential steps towards becoming a licensed architect.

Becoming a Licensed Architect: The Process

Each state’s architectural board sets distinct necessary standards for earning licensure. You can learn more about the criteria required in your state by clicking here.

1. Fulfill necessary education requirements

Most state boards require that the aspiring licensee have earned one of the following degrees from an NCARB-accredited institution.

2. Complete internship
After completing the educational requirements, those pursuing licensure must complete a practical internship with an existing, licensed firm or agency. This should involve performing tasks and addressing areas essential to the field, including the pre-design, design, and management elements of a career in architecture.

3. Pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE)
The Architectural Registration Examination is a comprehensive test built to reflect the situations and challenges that architects frequently encounter in their work. Questions are designed to test not only the student’s individual skills, but also their grasp of complicated projects and coordinating with specialists of varying competencies. The complete exam guidelines are available for download here.

In most states, licensees will also be required to maintain their licenses through continuing education. The requirements and timeframes vary by state, so check with your local NCARB board to determine your continuing education needs.

Online Master of Architecture

If you’re interested in becoming a licensed architect but haven’t yet fulfilled the education requirement, LTU offers an NCARB-accredited, relevant, hands-on online Master of Architecture program that can help you qualify for the exam and take the next step in your career. Click here to learn more.

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