How to become an Architect in California - Architecture Career Guide
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How to become an Architect in California

California is one of the more lenient states in terms of the type of education and experience needed in order to become licensed. Candidates can apply as soon as they have 8 years of experience which can be through school, work and/or combination of the two. Candidates are also required to complete the Internship Development Program (IDP), which ensures the proper type of experience is acquired, completion of the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) as well as an additional examination requirement beyond the Architectural Registration Exam, which test candidates on State specific issues.

How to become an Architect in California:

1. Complete 8 years of experience or the equivalent.
*8 years can be completed in numerous ways based on the Table of Equivalents:

  • 5 years for NAAB accredited degree
  • 4 years for non-NAAB accredited 5-year degree program
  • 3.5 years for four-year architecture degree
  • 2 years for degree which consists of a four-year curriculum in field related to Architecture
  • 1 year for any other four-year degree
  • 6 months for two-year degree (city/community college)
  • 1 year for city/community college degree or technical school certificate in field related to architecture
  • Any number of years of work experience as indicated in Table of Equivalents

2. Completion of Intern Development Program (IDP) as administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)

3. Successful completion of Architect Registration Exam (ARE) as administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)

4. Success completion of the California Supplemental Exam

To find more information on licensing requirements visit the California Architects Board.


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