NCARB Offers Alternative Path to Licensure for Experienced Professionals

Design professionals with more than five years of experience can pursue licensure through a new path.

Orlando, FL—As part of an ongoing effort to make the path to earning an architecture license more inclusive, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is offering a new opportunity for experienced design professionals. By completing an online portfolio, these individuals can use examples of their work to satisfy the Architectural Experience Program’s™ (AXP™) requirements.

Through the AXP Portfolio, design professionals who put their licensure plans on hold for personal, financial, or other reasons can document experience that is older than five years by providing documented samples of past work. To complete the program, applicants must include examples for each of the key tasks identified by the AXP.

Developed by NCARB, the AXP is designed to guide emerging professionals through the process of gaining and documenting practical experience in architecture. To earn a license to practice architecture, most U.S. licensing boards require that candidates complete the AXP, and all 54 require some documentation of experience. Candidates must also meet their licensing board’s education and examination requirements.

“The AXP Portfolio ensures that the profession of architecture continues to move in a more inclusive direction, while still maintaining the rigor needed to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare,” said NCARB President Kristine A. Harding, NCARB, AIA. “We’re excited to open new doors for accomplished designers who want to continue to advance their careers.”

The standard method of completing the AXP requires reporting 3,740 hours of work experience, at least half of which must be gained while under the supervision of an architect. To earn full credit toward the requirement, licensure candidates must report hours within eight months, or up to five years back to earn half credit. The new portfolio method provides a licensure option for professionals with experience beyond five years.

Along with NCARB’s recently launched education alternative to certification, the AXP Portfolio is part of an ongoing initiative to offer advancement opportunities to licensure candidates and architects from all career paths. Professionals interested in completing an AXP Portfolio must:

  • Have a current supervisor who is an architect licensed in the U.S. or Canada, and willing to attest to their knowledge and experience.
  • Have at least two years of experience from over five years ago, including at least one year of experience earned while employed by a firm engaged in the lawful practice of architecture under the supervision of an architect licensed in the United States or Canada.

To learn more about the AXP Portfolio, visit



The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.