The Voice for Texas Architecture

Become an Architect

Learn about the path to architecture licensure and beyond.

Become an Architect

Learn about the path to architecture licensure and beyond.

Steps to Becoming an Architect

Becoming an architect can seem like a confusing process, but we’re here to help. There are several paths to licensure depending on your preferred timeline, but they all include “The Three Es”: Education, Experience, and Exams. In some cases, your architectural education can begin in high school or community college; however, to qualify for licensure, you will need to attend an accredited school of architecture and obtain a professional degree in the field. You will also need to fulfill professional experience requirements and pass the Architectural Registration Exam.

Become an Architect

High School

Still in high school? It’s not too early to begin thinking about a career in architecture. Some schools offer students an opportunity to begin their foundational architectural education for college credit while they are still in high school, and then transfer into either an associate degree program at a local community college or an accredited architecture program at a university. Check with your school about whether it offers such a dual-credit program.

Community College

After high school graduation, some students enter a university school of architecture (see below). You can also choose to begin your architectural studies at a community college. Several community colleges around the state of Texas offer foundational architecture programs consisting of the first one to two years of architectural coursework, transferable to universities in Texas offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture. If you are planning to start at a community college and then continue at a school of architecture, you should contact the university you wish to attend to confirm your coursework will be transferable.

See list of Community Colleges with Architectural Foundation Programs.

There are eight schools of architecture in Texas accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the agency that evaluates architecture programs to ensure that graduates have the skills required for a rewarding career in the profession. Most states require you to have a professional degree from an NAAB-accredited program to obtain a license to practice architecture. 

NAAB recognizes three types of professional degrees:

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Doctor of Architecture

A professional bachelor’s degree in architecture normally takes a minimum of five years of study. Professional graduate degrees require one to three years of study. 

Note  Many universities offer pre-professional undergraduate degrees in architecture, but these degrees require an additional, professional graduate degree. Some universities also offer advanced master’s or Ph.D. degrees in architecture that are likewise not professional degrees.

Texas Schools of Architecture

The following is a list of the eight schools of architecture in Texas. Consult the website or contact the school for information about available architecture degrees and related programs.

Prairie View A&M University School of Architecture

pvamu.edu/soa | 936 261 9800 | Email the School
Nathelyne Archie-Kennedy Building, L.W. Minor St., Prairie View, TX 77446

Rice Architecture

arch.rice.edu | 713 348 4864 | Email the School
Rice University MS-50, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005

Texas A&M University College of Architecture

arch.tamu.edu | 979 845 1222
798 Ross St., 3137 TAMU Langford Building A, Room 122, College Station, TX 77843-3137

Texas Tech University College of Architecture

depts.ttu.edu/architecture | 806 742 3136 | Email the School
1800 Flint Street, Lubbock, TX 79409

The University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture & Design

uh.edu/architecture | 713 743 2400
4200 Elgin St | Houston, TX 77204

The University of Texas at Arlington College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs

uta.edu/cappa | 817 272 2801 | Email the School
601 W. Nedderman Dr., Ste. 203, Arlington, TX 76019

The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

soa.utexas.edu | 512 471 1922
310 Inner Campus Dr. B7500, Austin, TX 78712

The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Architecture, Construction and Planning

cacp.utsa.edu | 210 458 3090
501 W. Cesar E. Chávez Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78207

TxA Scholarships  

TxA operates the Texas Architectural Foundation (TAF), which awards scholarships to undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate students enrolled in accredited schools of architecture in Texas. You can view a list of available scholarships by school on the TAF page; however, all applications for TAF scholarships are made through the office of the dean of your school,  and scholarships may not be available each year. Check with your dean’s office for the latest information.

TxA Student Membership 

TxA offers free membership to students enrolled in accredited school of architecture in Texas. Learn more. 

After you have graduated with a professional degree, your next chapter in the licensure process revolves around gaining professional experience, through the Architectural Experience Program   (AXP), and taking the professional licensing exam, known as the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). 

The ARE consists of the following six divisions, with the AXP requiring candidates to complete a specific number of hours in each practice area.

  • Practice Management
  • Project Management
  • Programming & Analysis
  • Project Planning & Design
  • Project Development & Documentation
  • Construction & Evaluation

The organization that administers the both the ARE and AXP is the National Council of  Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Once you complete your exams and AXP requirements, you can apply for your architecture license. In Texas, you would do this through the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE). 

Explore the links below for more information on each step involved in qualifying for licensure. There may be fees and additional requirements associated with each step in this process. 

Qualifying for Licensure

Associate AIA Membership

TxA is a state-level component of the American Institute of Architects. Two kinds of AIA memberships are available through TxA for individuals who do not yet have their architectural license: Associate membership and Associate Intern membership. Learn more.  

Once you’ve graduated with a professional degree, fulfilled your AXP experience requirements, passed all divisions of the ARE, and obtained your architecture license, you can finally call yourself an architect! Your path as an architect may continue down the road you imagined when you began your education, or it may diverge — and there are numerous avenues available in areas such as design, management, academia, nonprofits, or allied fields. Whatever path you take, once you have your license, it’s important to protect it. This includes renewing your registration with TBAE or other state licensing agency every year, as well as completing the required annual continuing education hours. Depending on the direction you take in your career, you may obtain additional memberships or certifications you may need to maintain as well.

Learn more about continuing education requirements for architects.

AIA Membership

Becoming an active member of AIA and TxA offers can be a truly meaning part of your professional practice. Membership offers many benefits, including community, continuing education, advocacy, professional development, and networking. Learn more. 

“The title ‘architect’ is a regulated term, which means that only those who have become licensed professionals may legally call themselves an architect.”

— Texas Board of Architectural Examiners