DISCLAIMER: Note that until you are a licensed architect, you may NOT refer to yourself as an architect or offer architectural services. Even once you are licensed, you may not practice architecture or solicit architectural services in any state or jurisdiction in which you have not met that jurisdiction’s requirements to do so.

Requirements

Texas, like every other U.S. jurisdiction, requires completion of the “3 Es” in order to obtain your license.

  1. Complete the Education requirement by obtaining your NAAB accredited professional degree in architecture.
  2. Fulfill the Experience requirement by enrolling in the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), a structured national training program that requires Interns to acquire experience under the direct supervision of a registered architect. AXP is managed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), which allows you to carry your experiences from job to job and state to state.
  3. Complete the Examination, where you must take and pass each of the six divisions of the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE).

The sooner you successfully complete the steps, as defined by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) for registration in the state of Texas, the sooner you will become a licensed architect.

NCARB

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), a federation of all registration boards in the United States, sets national standards for architectural registration (aka Model Law). It is still up to each state to define what their own laws and regulations are regarding licensure and practice requirements, but all will base their rules to some extent on the NCARB Model Law.

NCARB manages the standardized national programs used by the state boards to determine qualifications for licensure (AXP & ARE). NCARB establishes, interprets, and enforces the AXP training requirements. They develop and administer the ARE through Prometric testing centers. They also manage the NCARB certificate program, which allows for easy reciprocal licensure in multiple states once you obtain your first architectural license.

TBAE

The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) is based in Austin and is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB); it regulates the licensure and practice of architecture in the state of Texas.

Steps in the Architectural Experience Program (AXP)
  • Enroll in the Architectural Experience Program to establish an NCARB Record. Visit NCARB’s website to register for your NCARB Record online and receive information on the details of what will be expected of you. Additionally, contact your local AIA chapter for any resources and local programs offered to assist interns.
  • Download and review the AXP Guidelines. Available on NCARB’s website, the AXP Guidelines will explain to you all the ins and outs of AXP, including what is required, what experience will count, and all of the rules associated with the program.
  • Identify your AXP Supervisor. AXP Supervisors are the licensed professionals who supervise you on a daily basis and have control over and professional knowledge of your work. They are also the individuals who will certify that the information you submit in your experience reports is true and correct. For some training categories, the supervisor can be an engineer, landscape architect, interior designer, planner, or contractor. Refer to the AXP Guidelines for specific requirements.
  • Identify an AXP Mentor. Mentors serve Interns by giving them advice and offering a supportive forum for discussing challenges and aspirations. It is strongly recommended that each Intern have a Mentor outside of their place of business to be an independent guide to help them through the process. They may also substitute for your supervisor in confirming certain supplementary education activities if you are unemployed.
  • Develop a personal record-keeping system for tracking daily activities related to the AXP training requirements. All AXP experience must be submitted through NCARB’s online reporting system or My AXP mobile app.
  • Understand the Six Month Reporting Rule. NCARB has a requirement that restricts your experience reports to no more than six months in duration with a two month reporting window in which to get it submitted. Failure to do so can result in losing credit for unreported experience so be sure to sign up early and report often (quarterly is ideal). Refer to the AXP Guidelines for more information about these requirements.
Steps in the Architectural Registration Examination
  • After graduating from a NAAB school with an accredited professional degree and having at least six months of work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect documented in AXP, you may request to take the ARE in Texas. AXP does not need to be complete before you start testing, but you must have opened your NCARB record.
  • Request NCARB to submit your Record to the state. When you have completed AXP, you may request NCARB send your information to TBAE. If you have not completed AXP but meet the above-listed requirements, you may also have your Record submitted to TBAE.
  • TBAE will authorize you to test. TBAE will ask you to open an account with them pay the application fee. They will then review your Record to determine if you are eligible to begin taking the ARE. See the TBAE Exam Applicant Checklist for more details.
  • Schedule an appointment to take each section of the exam. The ARE is administered at Prometric test centers. Once you have been made eligible and have received your confirmation of eligibility from both TBAE and NCARB, log into your NCARB account to schedule an appointment. See NCARB website for more information about scheduling.
About the ARE

The ARE consists of six individual exams, each featuring a combination of multiple choice questions and design vignettes aimed at assessing your knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required in the practice of architecture. Exams may be scheduled in any order and practice guides and the practice software for the graphic vignettes are available at NCARB’s website.

The six ARE divisions are:

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

To purchase Kaplan ARE study material at a special 20% discount, please visit our Kaplan Study Materials page.

TBAE Registration Parameters

TBAE’s registration parameters are outlined in Subchapter B of TBAE’s Rules and Regulations of the Board Regulating the Practice ofArchitecture.

EESA: Education Evaluation Services for Architects

EESA is a NAAB program that assists those individuals who wish to apply for NCARB certification or for registration by an NCARB member board and who do not have a professional degree in architecture from an NAAB-accredited school of architecture. EESA often works with internationally educated applicants and broadly experienced architects. Additional information is available at the NAAB website.

Fees
Application for NCARB Council Record for licensure candidates: $100

Covers your initial application for an NCARB Record, maintains your active Record for one year, and includes one free Record transmittal to support your application for initial registration.

NCARB Annual Renewal Fee: $85

Maintains your active Record for one year.

TBAE Examination Application Fee: $100

This is a one-time non-refundable fee for processing exam applications and issuing scores.

Architectural Registration Examination
  • Total cost (six divisions): $1,410
  • Individual divisions: $235
  • Retakes: $235
TBAE Initial License Registration Fee: $155

After passing all parts of the ARE within five years of passing your first exam section, completing the fingerprint requirement, and paying the registration fee, you will receive your Texas Registered Architect license number. See the complete TBAE checklist for more information.

Resources
American Institute of Architects

National Associate Committee
1735 New York Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
800 AIA 3837 or 202 626 7300
www.aia.org

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

1401 H St., NW, Ste. 500
Washington, D.C. 20005
202 879 0520
www.ncarb.org

Texas Society of Architects

500 Chicon St.
Austin, TX 78702
512 478 7386
www.texasarchitects.org

Texas Board of Architectural Examiners

333 Guadalupe, Ste. 2-350
Austin, TX 78701
512-305-9000
www.tbae.state.tx.us