A candidate must provide verification of at least five years of education and/or architectural work experience to be eligible to begin the examination and licensure process. Candidates can satisfy the five year requirement in a variety of ways, including the following:

  1. Provide verification of a three year, five year, or six year professional degree in architecture through a program that is accredited by NAAB or CACB
  2. Provide verification of at least five years of educational equivalents. Candidates are granted educational equivalents in various amounts pursuant to the Board’s Table of Equivalents:
    • A maximum of four years for a non-accredited professional degree in architecture
    • Various amounts for other degrees and for units earned toward degrees, including: an undergraduate degree in architecture; a degree in a field related to architecture or in another field of study; and, (to a limited extent) units earned toward some degrees
    • Work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect in the US or Canada

Under some circumstances, a candidate may apply for eligibility to take the ARE prior to completing his or her degree, using work experience credit to meet the educational requirement. In such a situation, when a candidate is working toward a degree in architecture or in a field related to architecture, the maximum credit the Board grants for the units earned toward that degree is six months less than the maximum credit that would be granted if the degree had been obtained. The Board conducts a unit evaluation to grant credit in this instance. For the unit evaluation, 30 semester or 45 quarter units are considered one academic year. Fractions greater than one-half of an academic year are counted as one-half of a year, and smaller fractions are not counted.

Generally, candidates may not receive credit for more than one degree. However, a candidate who possesses a professional degree in architecture and a post-professional degree (e.g., Master of Science, Ph.D.) in architecture may receive one additional year of credit for the post-professional degree.

Note: As described above, California does not require an accredited degree in architecture for examination and licensure. However, most other states require an accredited degree for licensure. California candidates may also receive credit for qualifying work experience to fulfill the education portion of the examination and licensure eligibility requirements.