The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is a multi-division exam used to assess your knowledge and skills regarding the practice of architecture. Developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the exam is accepted by all U.S. jurisdictions and is a key step on the path to earning a license.

As a California design professional, your two major resources in the licensing process will be NCARB, which administers the ARE as well as the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), which provides a framework to guide you through gaining and recording your professional experience; and CAB (California Architects Board), which administers the California Supplemental Exam and is responsible for consumer protection and the regulation of licensed professionals.


National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)

Licensing Information

NCARB Licensing Requirements Tool
Find each jurisdiction’s requirements as reported. Keep in mind rules and requirements may change at any time, so check with your jurisdiction for the most updated information.

About the NCARB Certificate

Contact Info:
1801 K Street NW Suite 700K, Washington, DC, 20006

California Architects Board (CAB)

Becoming a Licensed Architect

Candidates Information

Licensees of Foreign Countries

Contact Info:
California Architects Board
2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 105
Sacramento, CA 95834-9673
(916) 574-7220

 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Days: Monday–Friday (except state holidays)
Licensing: (916) 575-7220
Reciprocity (Inbound): (916) 575-7218
Reciprocity (Outbound): (916) 575-7220


Academy for Emerging Professionals (AIA California)

Architect Licensing Advisor, South

Michael Cintron, Assoc. AIA
Email Link


Further Reading for ARE Candidates

NCARB 2021 Think Tank and Re-Think Tank

Understanding How Race, Age, and Gender Impact the AXP (NCARB Blog 2/12/21)


AIA|LA has a collection of test preparation materials, including books and flash cards, that Associate and Student members will be able to use at the Chapter Office during business hours. Please email for details.



ARE/CSE California Study Hub

AIA California has a pathway for emerging professionals to study and pursue licensure – The ARE/CSE California Study Hub. These statewide ARE study sessions and virtual study groups will serve as a hub for education, connection, and community. This portal will not replace other study materials or resources, rather it supplements them, serving as a network and allowing for collaboration between EPs and AIA professionals across California.

Join the Hub

AIA CA Path to Licensure – A Simple Guide

Watch the 3-minute video on YouTube




Other community resources include:


NOTLY (Not Licensed Yet)

Started at USC by Karen Kensek and Doug Noble, NotLY is a free program of classes and support to help get people licensed as architects. It is hosted at USC, but welcomes everyone (not just USC Alumni). Nearly 100 volunteer speakers teach the classes, which are always free.

In previous years, a typical NotLY has featured 30-50 speakers offering dozens of classes. For more information, please contact Professor Douglas Noble, FAIA, at You can also join the NOTLY Facebook Group at


Preparing for the ARE (AIA National)

Includes general information, scholarship resources, and AIA Contract Documents Study Resources


AIAS Scholarship Resources Page
Lists current & upcoming scholarship programs, deadlines and requirements


Association for Women in Architecture Foundation Scholarships

The Association for Women in Architecture Foundation offers annual cash awards to women students studying Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and/or Land Planning, Interior Design, Historic Preservation or Environmental Design leading to a college degree.

Learn more and apply


Architects Foundation Scholarships

Information and applications available for a wide range of financial support for students, recent graduates and ARE candidates.

Paul W. Welch Jr. ARE Scholarship

Need help with fees on the Path to Licensure? AIA CA has a scholarship to assist with testing and registration fees as well as study preparation materials.

For over 40 years, Paul W. Welch Jr. has served the architectural profession in California. This scholarship program was created to celebrate Paul’s experiences with the California Architects Board (CAB), as well as his tenure as AIA California’s Executive Vice President. His unwavering belief in the power of the architectural license is demonstrated through this scholarship program which encourages candidates to complete the licensure process by covering all associated costs.

Submit Your Application