NCARB Releases Latest Data on the Path to Licensure

Washington DC—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has launched its annual data report, NCARB by the Numbers. The 2018 edition provides exclusive insight into the number of U.S. architects, the time it takes to earn a license, diversity in the profession, and new analysis on attrition along the path to licensure.

Key findings from the latest edition, which is based on data from the 2017 calendar year, include:

  • In 2017, over 5,200 candidates completed their core licensure requirements—including the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP™) and Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®).
  • Over 6,700 licensure candidates completed the AXP in 2017—the second highest number on record.
  • On average, candidates take 4.1 years to complete the AXP.
  • Over 5,000 candidates completed the ARE in 2017, more than ever before.
  • Sixty-five percent of candidates overlap their experience and exams—a factor that can shave several years off the time to licensure.
  • On average, it takes 12.7 years to complete the core licensure requirements, which include earning a degree, completing the experience program, and passing the ARE.
  • Diversity continues to improve along early career stages—45 percent of new AXP candidates now identify as non-white.
  • Over a 10-year period, less than one out of every three candidates stop pursuing licensure.
  • Historic differences in attrition between men and women have disappeared since 2012; men and women now remain on the path to licensure at equal rates.
  • Non-white candidates are at least 25 percent more likely to stop pursuing licensure than white candidates.
  • In 2017, there were 113,554 architects in the United States—a 3 percent increase from 2016.

“Through NCARB by the Numbers, our organization has been able to highlight and discuss current trends in the profession,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong. “We hope to continue to use this data to inform the national conversation and address pinch points along the path to licensure.”

The findings are pulled from the nonprofit’s database of over 114,000 licensure candidates and NCARB-certified architects, making NCARB by the Numbers the most comprehensive source available for licensure statistics.

To read the full report, explore interactive data charts, and download infographics, 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.