Become an Architect


California’s examination and licensure requirements are more flexible than you will see in most other states. The process here is typically not a single set of sequential steps. You can meet the requirements in multiple ways, and each requirement can have several possible entry points. In short, becoming an architect is a process as individual as you are!

The Board looks at three separate aspects of licensure readiness: education, experience, and examination. No single aspect can accurately measure whether an individual is qualified to become licensed. That’s why the Board takes all three into consideration.

No matter which path you choose, you will complete the process with the necessary knowledge, skills, and ability to become licensed and practice architecture while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of Californians.

Here is a brief overview of the requirements to obtain a license in California:

  • Five years of education equivalents and three years of architectural practice experience for a total of eight years of experience as evaluated by the Board; including a minimum of one year of work experience under the direct supervision of an architect licensed in a US jurisdiction or two years of work experience under the direct supervision of an architect registered in a Canadian province
  • Successful completion of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE)
  • Completion of the Architectural Experience Program (AXP)
  • Successful completion of the California Supplemental Examination (CSE)