AIA San Mateo, in conjunction with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the California Architects Board (CAB), are here to help you turn your goals into reality with the guidance and resources you’ll need to advance from student to practicing architect. To become an architect in California, you’ll have to earn a license by completing CAB’s specific requirements which is a combination of education, experience, and examination. Although each candidate’s path to licensure may differ, all will complete the process with the necessary knowledge, skills, and ability to be a licensed architect who practices in a way that protects the health, safety, and welfare of Californians. A candidate who provides evidence of having completed the following requirements is eligible to receive a license to practice architecture:
- Be at least 18 years of age or the equivalent of a graduate from high school;
- Five years of architectural educational experience or the equivalent as specified in the Board’s regulations;
- Architectural Experience Program (AXP) or the Canadian Provincial Internship in Architecture Program (IAP);
- All divisions of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and California Supplemental Examination (CSE).
The Architect Registration Examination (ARE), developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), is the national computerized architectural licensing examination that consists of multiple divisions. The ARE assesses a candidate’s knowledge and skills to provide various services required in the practice of architecture. No single examination can test for competency in all aspects of architectural practice; the ARE is not intended for that purpose. The ARE concentrates on the professional services that affect the public’s health, safety, and welfare. The ARE 5.0 consists of the following five exams: Practice Management, Project Management Programming & Analysis, Project Planning & Design, Project Development & Documentation, and Construction & Evaluation.
In addition to the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), the California Architects Board (CAB) requires the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) for licensure. The CSE ensures that candidates are able to demonstrate minimum standards of competency and necessary architectural knowledge and skills to respond to the unique requirements and conditions in California.
Candidates are required to demonstrate entry-level competence in the areas outlined in the CSE Test Plan. A competent entry-level architect is able to perform the responsibilities incumbent upon themselves in providing professional architectural services to the public. Additionally, a competent entry-level architect must understand the integration of architectural practice and the architect’s responsibilities as they relate to practice in California.
More about the California Supplemental Exam