The road to becoming an architect may seem complicated, but it’s simpler than you think. NCARB is here to help you turn your goals into reality with the guidance and resources you’ll need to advance from student to practicing architect.

To become an architect, you’ll have to earn a license by completing your local architecture board’s specific requirements. Each of the 55 U.S. licensing boards, or jurisdictions, sets their own requirements for licensure in their jurisdiction, but they all include three core components: education, experience, and examination.

Ready to get started? Learn more about the basics of becoming an architect.


The first step to following your dream is finding a school that will support your career goals. In most jurisdictions, candidates pursuing an architecture license must earn a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Learn more about studying architecture.


No matter where you intend to practice, you’ll have to document real-world experience through the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®). The AXP provides a framework to guide you through earning and reporting your professional experience and will ensure you’re ready to practice architecture safely. Explore the AXP.


Another key part of becoming an architect is completing the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). With exam divisions designed to reflect the current profession, the ARE will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary in areas of health, safety, and welfare. Prepare for the ARE.

Licensure and Certification

Once you’ve earned a degree, gained experience, and passed the exam, you’ll need to meet additional requirements in your jurisdiction. When you’ve met all requirements for your jurisdiction, you can apply for a license to practice architecture in that jurisdiction, and soon be able to advance you career and streamline your ability to practice across borders by earning an NCARB Certificate.