Introduction for Prospective Architecture Students and their Families
In the United States, there are several ways to become a licensed architect. Each state sets their own requirements for licensure. While this can be confusing to prospective architecture students and their families, it does provide a variety of options to accommodate a range of personal needs and educational styles. The National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB) establishes minimum conditions that all professional architecture programs must meet, but allows each program to design how best to deliver an architectural education. A Professional degree program must be accredited by the NAAB, these degrees are typically B. Arch, M. Arch, or D. Arch.
The Illinois School of Architecture is one of over 130 accredited architecture programs in the United States. These 130 schools vary widely in their curricula and the breadth of study available beyond the architecture curriculum. In today’s rapidly changing world this can be an important consideration when you compare architecture schools. At the Illinois School of Architecture, you will have access, through your elective coursework, to undergraduate courses in more than 150 undergraduate programs across campus. If you are interested in combining your interest in architecture with another field there is no better choice than Illinois.
Our Master of Architecture (M.ARCH) Degree is our NAAB accredited degree. Admission to this 2-year degree program requires an undergraduate degree in architecture. A Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies (BSAS) degree, like the one offered at Illinois, would allow admission to our 2 year MARCH program as well as most other NAAB accredited Master of Architecture degree programs in the United States.
The Journey (The Three E’s)
A NAAB-accredited professional degree is required for licensure in most states. There are many possible ways to complete an architectural education. At Illinois, we offer a 4 + 2 program, a four-year undergraduate pre-professional program (Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, BSAS) followed by a two-year NAAB accredited professional program (Master of Architecture, M. ARCH).
In the fall of 2017, The Illinois School of Architecture introduced entirely new 4-year (BSAS) and 2-year (M.ARCH) curricula. These new curricula recognizes the tremendous changes that have occurred during the past 25 years, not only within the architecture profession but also in society more broadly. We are more connected, more diverse, and more mobile than ever and technology has radically altered the way we accomplish many aspects of our lives. Together, these changes offer numerous challenges and opportunities for architectural education in the 21st century. Our new curricula addresses these challenges head on and leverages the many opportunities they afford, from a greater engagement with new technologies for delivering content to students, to taking advantage of a truly diverse and global student body. Our new curricula will position you for a meaningful and sustained career in architecture and allied field and provide you with the agility to respond to the many changes that you will encounter as an architect in the 21st century.
In all states, some form of internship is required for professional licensure as an architect. Illinois, along with 53 other jurisdictions participate in the National Council of Architecture Registration Board’s (NCARB) Architectural Experience Program (AXP). AXP requires interns to document their experiences in the defined categories. Interns must complete 3,740 hours in six experience areas.
Upon receiving a high school diploma, students are eligible to begin earning AXP hours. Many students find part-time or summer jobs in professional offices and begin counting AXP hours while still in school. (AXP hours can be 100% recorded within 8 months of your experience, so make sure to plan ahead).
Each state sets own rules for when an individual can begin the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). In Illinois, an intern can begin testing upon completion of a NAAB accredited professional degree program (i.e., M. Arch offered at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign). ARE 5.0 will launched in November 2016 and requires a five-part computer based exam. Each part of the exam may be taken separately. Candidates have five years to successfully pass all sections of the ARE.
For those who are on the process of ARE 4.0, you would be able to complete the rest for the next 18 months (until June 30th 2018) starting from November 2016. Use the transition calculator (https://arecalc.ncarb.org/) to help guide through the process. There is the opportunity to only need to take five exams if transferring between the two exams.
Licensure, Reciprocity, and Continuing Education (AFTER GRADUATION)
Once you’ve passed all sections of the exam, you may apply to your state registration board for a license. They will review your record and, if satisfied, you will be an architect. If in the future you choose to move or work on a project in another state, it is recommended that you apply for an NCARB certificate. Not only does this mean you can put the initials NCARB behind your name, but it also allows for a smoother process to obtain a new license in a different jurisdiction.
Architecture, like all professions, is continually changing in response to new societal demands, legal decisions and technological advancements. Continuing education is an important part of the profession and is required to maintain your license in Illinois (and many other states) and to maintain professional membership in the American Institute of Architects (AIA).