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
David Garcia, Assoc. AIA


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 Los Angeles offers seminars to prepare for specific sections of the ARE as well as the California Supplemental Exam. Dates and topics will be announced here and in our Chapter e-newsletter as they are finalized.

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

Other community resources include:

AIA San Francisco
NCARB / CAB + YOU: AXP, ARE, + Certification
(online event, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, from 6-8pm PST)

AIA San Fernando Valley
AIA SFV offers a free series of seminars at Woodbury University. For dates, times and details, please email

The newest ARE® prep resource from AIA

NOTLY (Not Licensed Yet)

Started at USC by Karen Kensek and Doug Noble about eleven years ago, 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


Association for Women in Architecture Foundation Scholarships

There are six AWAF scholarship awards opportunities for 2022. Apply by April 15

Environments for Health Architecture Scholarships

4wrd Diversity in Design Scholarship 2022 (apply by March 7, 2022)

IESLA RCM Student Lighting Design Competition 2022

Apply by May 15, 2022

Architects Foundation Scholarships

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

AF/McAslan Fellowship
$15,000 | Apply by May 31, 2022
A travel fellowship and mentorship for an architecture student with UK-based firm John McAslan+ Partners.

Applications that will be open in 2022:
Diversity Advancement Scholarship
Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship
Yann Weymouth Graduate Scholarship
a/e ProNet David W. Lakamp Scholarship
AIA Large Firm Roundtable ARE Scholarship
Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship
AF/McAslan Fellowship
Richard Morris Hunt Prize
Sho-Ping Chin Women’s Leadership Summit Grant