Becoming a Licensed Architect

Starting the Licensure Process

Candidates for licensure must complete the following:

Steps 1–5 are for candidates seeking their first license

  1. Establish an NCARB Record and select California as the testing jurisdiction (if you previously had an eight digit testing number please contact the Board before you establish an NCARB Record)
  2. Completed Application for Eligibility Evaluation – Online
  3. Complete one of the four pathways
    • If you have a degree from any US university/college or you earned a degree from a Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) program, complete NCARB’s Transcript Form (Form 122) and have your school(s) send your transcript(s) directly to NCARB.
    • If you do not have a degree from a NAAB/CACB program, you must submit an Employment Verification Form with original signature to the California Architects Board’s physical address.
  4. Complete the ARE (pass each division within the five-year rolling clock period); the following are the current divisions:
  5. Complete the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) or Internship in Architecture Program (IAP) (you may begin reporting AXP hours once you turn 18 or the equivalent of a graduate from high school; you may also concurrently fulfill this requirement at the same time as you are completing the ARE).

Steps 6–7 is required for all candidates, including reciprocal candidates, seeking an architect license in California

  1. Complete the CSE
    • Submit a completed Application for the CSE1 and fee to the Board
    • Examination results are provided at site and either a license application or a retest application is provided to candidate
  2. Complete an Application for Licensure1
    • Application must contain the candidate’s original signature
    • Include application fee (check or money order in US dollars)
    • Mail to the California Architects Board

1These applications are only available in hardcopy format to eligible candidates as determined by the Board in accordance with the relevant statutes and regulations. The Application for the CSE will be automatically sent to an eligible candidate.