A Guide to Architecture Organizations

From advocacy to accreditation, NCARB and its partner architecture organizations play important and distinct roles in the profession, but keeping track of which organization is responsible for what can be confusing at times. Learn more about what each organization does to serve the public and the profession with our helpful guide!

Collateral Organizations
NCARB is part of a group of nonprofit organizations that partner to ensure various aspects of the profession’s health, which we collectively refer to as the “architecture collaterals.” These include:

  • The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
    The AIA is a professional organization for architects, with membership open to all registered architects and licensure candidates. The AIA serves the architecture profession as a source of advocacy, information, and community, and works to advance public policies that promote a sustainable built environment.
  • The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
    The AIAS is a student-run organization that promotes excellence in architecture education, training, and practice. The AIAS serves as the voice of students to the educational system and the profession, and encourages community engagement through its Freedom by Design™ (FBD) program.
  • The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)
    The ACSA represents architectural education programs worldwide, including all NAAB-accredited programs. The ACSA works to shape the future of the profession by empowering architecture faculty and schools, enhancing teaching and research, and engaging potential architecture students through StudyArchitecture.com.
  • The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)
    The NAAB ensures quality architecture education by establishing the criteria for the accreditation of architecture programs in the United States. Most U.S. licensing boards require applicants for licensure to have graduated from a NAAB-accredited program.
  • The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)
    Rooted in a rich legacy of activism, NOMA seeks to empower its local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence. NOMA officially joined the collaterals group in summer 2021!
  • The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
    NCARB is made up of the 55 architecture licensing boards of the U.S. states and territories, which we collaborate with to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. NCARB develops and administers national programs for candidates pursuing architectural licensure and helps architects expand their professional reach through the NCARB Certificate.

Related Organizations
In addition to our collaterals, NCARB works with several other organizations related to the practice of architecture and regulation, as well as our counterpart organizations in engineering, landscape architecture, and interior design. These include:

Alliance of Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL)
NCARB is also one of the founding members of ARPL, a new coalition of technical professions focused on educating policymakers and the public about the importance of rigorous professional licensing standards. Created in 2019, ARPL brings together professional organizations and their registration boards to promote a responsible, balanced approach to professional licensing. The alliance offers best practices and solutions drawn the experiences of its members, and advocates for fair, equitable, and safe licensing practices.

Licensure Advisory Forum
In 2019, NCARB created the Licensure Advisory Forum (LAF), which is made up representatives from various architecture and architecture-related organizations—including the architecture collaterals as well as ALA, SARA, and the SDA. The forum's goal is to provide feedback on the entire licensure process and identify ways the organizations can work together to address common issues facing the architecture profession.