So You Want to be a Licensed Architect: Determing Your Education Path
October 15, 2020View Article
Your educational background is incredibly important, but the real lessons come when you start working in the field. Whether it’s a construction company, architecture firm, landscape architecture office, or a related field, the real-life experience is invaluable.
The first source that I highly suggest is NCARB’s website. Many states require an individual to complete the NCARB AXP program to become a licensed architect. The AXP® program is the Architectural Experience Program®. It outlines what areas of experience and how many hours you need to achieve to attain licensure. These six areas of experience align with the six ARE exams and require a total of 3,740 required hours. Depending on your degree, your state may require additional experience hours. Refer to NCARB’s AXP® Guidelines for more information.
Once you have established a path to complete your required experience, sit down with your supervisor, and communicate what areas of expertise you would like to achieve. Suppose your workplace has various project types that range from schematic design to construction administration. In that case, you and your supervisor could make a plan that matches your experience goals with the firm’s ongoing project needs. Setting your goals with your supervisor will ultimately lead to a successful outcome and help you and the firm work together toward the same purpose.
Once you start earning experience hours, log them into your NCARB account. Keep in mind; you can only log up to 6 months’ worth of hours. If you have over 6 months hours, it will not count towards your required hours, and those “extra” hours will be lost.
Another great source I recommend is investigating your state’s licensure requirements. On many state websites, experience requirements are listed, including the AXP® program, that need to be met to become a licensed professional. New York State, where I’m pursuing licensure, requires completing the AXP program and additional hours based on a point system. In this system, you need a total of 12 points to be licensed. The degree you graduate with will determine how many points you received from your years in school. Every year of working in an architectural field will earn you one additional point. For example, if you graduate with a Bachelor of Architecture from a NAAB accredited school. In that case, you will receive 9 points upon graduation. You will need an additional 3 years of working experience to reach the required 12 points to become licensed.
Additionally, some states allow individuals to start taking their exams while concurrently gaining their AXP® hours. Every state is different in their requirements for licensure, so do your research! Check into your state’s website to find out more information before charting your path.
Throughout my time at NKB, I’ve learned many practical applications and continue to work with our leadership team to plan for the future. Keeping your company involved in your experience can really help you with your exams and ensure you truly have the proper experience to get your licensure.