California Architects Board

The California Architects Board (Board) was created in 1901 by the California Legislature to fulfill the mission of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public through the regulation of the practice of architecture in California. It is one of numerous entities within the Department of Consumer Affairs responsible for consumer protection and the regulation of licensed professionals. The Board establishes regulations for examination and licensing of the profession of architecture in California, which today numbers over 21,000 licensed architects and approximately 10,000 candidates who are in the process of meeting examination and licensure requirements.


Latest News

Essential versus Non-Essential Services

On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20. This Executive Order provided a stay at home order for the citizens of California, except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors. The Executive Order referred to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which provides guidance regarding the identification of essential critical infrastructure workers. Please utilize this document when determining whether your business provides essential or non-essential services and whether you should remain open. That document can be found here.

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Coronavirus Update for Licensees

While California continues to navigate the uncertainty of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and limit its spread, the California Architects Board (Board) is committed to supporting our licensees, applicants, and consumers throughout the course of this pandemic and to provide continuity of service at all times. The Board is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, coordinating with the state and local governments, and working with our partners to protect the health of Californians.

The Board understands the ability to perform your jobs with a license is a priority. We appreciate your patience as we work on implementing new technologies to work remotely and adhere to social distancing guidelines. We apologize in advance for any delays in reaching our staff or potential delays in our processing times.

We have received inquiries from our licensees and are providing the below FAQ’s in an effort to provide information.

The best general guidance will continue to come from the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q. Will Continuing Education (CE) Requirements Be Postponed?
A. Currently, the law does not allow for a postponement of CE requirements.

2. Q. Are There Fee Waivers Available?
A. Currently, the law does not allow for a waiver of any fees.

3. Q. Should My Business or Practice Remain Open?
A. The Board does not have authority to close businesses or practices solely as a result of COVID-19. We strongly encourage you to assess whether your business is an essential job function as outlined by the Governor and follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Check with your local county health department to determine what activities are also considered essential and non-essential.

4. Q. My Exam Was Canceled. What Does that Mean?
A. The Board will be working to ensure that expedited exam processing will occur when they return and will be looking at ways to mitigate delays. We are actively working to reschedule exams and honoring any fees applied or providing refunds when necessary.

We encourage any other inquiries to be sent through email to cab@dca.ca.gov as a response time may be faster.

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Attention California Architects Board Candidates – Update on PSI Test Sites

The California Architects Board has been notified that PSI has made the difficult decision to close their owned and operated test centers to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please see the message from the PSI CEO related to these closures.

Effective immediately, candidates can reschedule up to and including the day of testing at no penalty and no documentation required. NOTE: In most cases, candidates can reschedule their examinations on-line and they are encouraged to do so. If a candidate chooses to reschedule through the PSI candidate support call center, hold times are expected to be extensive under the current circumstances. The PSI test sites in the United States will close starting the end of day, March 19 until April 13.

PSI will be calling all scheduled candidates that are not registered with an email address. A PSI staff person will be calling candidates starting today through Saturday. After that, an automated phone message will be used to contact candidates. The PSI toll-free line is averaging 4,000 calls per hour. Candidates should expect an unprecedented delay in reaching a live person. The online tool is available to candidates for rescheduling.

The closure of these PSI locations will impact board/bureau applicants eligible to take the following examinations:

  • California Supplemental Examination
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Now Available - Latest Issue of the Board’s Newsletter

The latest issue of California Architects is available online.
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Retired License Update

At its December 11, 2019 meeting, the Board voted to set the retired license fee at $40 and proceed with the process to adopt regulations to establish that fee. Once those regulations are adopted and effective, the Board will resume issuing retired licenses. At this time, the Board is not issuing any retired licenses; retired licenses issued on or before January 3, 2020 are not affected by this change.
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Fraud Scam Alert - Licensed Professionals Targeted

DCA licensed professionals are getting targeted by a new scam (read the fraud scam alert).
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Subject Matter Expert Recruitment for CSE Development

The California Architects Board (CAB) is seeking licensees interested in giving back to the profession by serving as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and participating in California Supplemental Examination (CSE) development.

Two-day workshops are held throughout the year in Sacramento and conducted on Friday and Saturday. Occasionally, three-day workshops are held from Thursday through Saturday. SMEs receive a $200 stipend for each day they attend the workshops and are reimbursed for travel expenses in accordance with state guidelines.

To serve as an SME, a licensee must:

  • Hold a current architect license in good standing; have no prior or pending disciplinary or enforcement actions.
  • Agree not to participate in any examination coaching or preparation activities.

Licensees interested in serving as an SME must complete a brief survey.

For more information about becoming an SME, please contact Rikki Parks by email at rikki.parks@dca.ca.gov or by phone at (916) 575-7219.

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Subject Matter Expert Announcement

The California Architects Board (Board) is accepting applications for their Subject Matter Expert (SME) program, to provide case review, technical evaluation, and courtroom testimony as needed for the Board’s Enforcement Program. Existing Board staff and departmental investigators require technical assistance to handle the complexity and number of some complaints and inquiries. Several SMEs are needed to respond to technical inquiries from Board staff, evaluate consumer complaints, provide guidance to the Division of Investigation and Attorney General in technical matters, act as an expert witness, and testify at disciplinary hearings and criminal cases regarding matters within the jurisdiction of the Architects Practice Act. The SME will need to have or acquire knowledge and understanding of the Board’s laws, rules, and regulations.

It is anticipated that up to 180 hours of work will be required per year under a three-year contract. The SME hourly rate will be fixed at $90 per hour for case review and $110 per hour for courtroom testimony. A total of $49,999 has been appropriated for each three-year SME contract.

Minimum Qualifications

Failure to meet the Minimum Qualifications will result in an application not being considered. The proposer must:

  • Reside in California;
  • Possess an active license to practice architecture in California and have no history of enforcement and/or administrative actions;
  • Have been in practice, as defined in BPC section 5500.1, within California for the last five years;
  • Have experience preparing expert analysis for, or testifying in a minimum of three architecture-related civil or administrative law matters; and
  • Be available to respond to technical inquiries from Board staff approximately one hour per week and perform a timely review (typically within 30 days) of at least three cases per year.

If awarded a contract, the SME shall agree not to:

  • Use their status as a Board expert in any advertising or sales promotion;
  • Solicit for completion of any work that they investigate as a Board expert;
  • Falsify any official documents;
  • Give false or incomplete testimony;
  • Release confidential Board information; or
  • Accept employment with another state agency.

For additional information about the Board SME program, or to request an application, please contact the Enforcement Analyst Michael Sganga at (916) 575-7203 or michael.sganga@dca.ca.gov.

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New Online Credit/Debit Card Payment System for License Renewal

The California Architects Board is now accepting online credit/debit card payments for license renewals.

This new payment option will decrease the time to renew a license, while providing a secure online payment option. This new secure online payment option provides a quick and easy license renewal experience. All other forms of payment will continue to be accepted.

A licensee may not renew online if they:

  • Renew a license more than 90 days prior to its expiration date
  • Owe a fine
  • Request a Military Waiver (no fee)
  • Are Military Inactive status (no fee)

Or if the license status is:

  • Delinquent beyond two renewal cycles (two years delinquent and two renewal fees due)
  • Revoked
  • Surrendered
  • Expired-Nonrenewable

For questions on the license renewal process, please email cab@dca.ca.gov or call (916) 574-7220.

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Waiting Period for California Supplemental Examination Retakes Reduced

Effective December 1, 2018, any eligible CSE candidate may schedule a retake appointment if it has been at least 90 days since a prior attempt.
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