ARE at California


hi all,

I have a question about the eligibility of taking ARE at California.

contacted California Architects Board and they said specific questions will only be answered by $100 process fee....just wondering if anyone has the same/similar issue. I have a NAAB accredited 3 yr Master of Architecture. But a 4 yr Bachelor in non-Architecture field.  just started working (in IDP) (only 6 months until now...) 

Since CA Board requires: "When a candidate has reached 5 years of work experience (under a licensed architect) and/oreducation credit, has established an NCARB Record, and enrolled in IDP (Candidates may begin taking the ARE while completing the IDP), they are then eligible to begin testing."

Does that mean I am not allowed to sit in ARE until 2 years of working? regardless of the 'concurrent IDP/ARE'?

many thanks!

Oct 8, 15 9:23 am

I think you are confusing the CSE with the ARE's

"In addition to the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), the California Architects Board requires the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) for licensure."

Once you have completed the 7 ARE's (you can do this now) you then need to meet the requirements for the CSE to become licensed in California. So it is likely by the time you have completed the ARE's you will have the 5 years in to sit for the CSE.


Oct 8, 15 12:36 pm  · 

The 5 years experience can also be gained using the education equivalent.

10     Does your board allow early eligibility for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE)?              


10a     When can an Intern-Architect access the ARE?

      After earning five years of education or work experience equivalents


A professional degree in architecture, where the degree program has been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB), or units toward such a degree.

Up to 5 years


Any other university or college degree which consists of at least a four-year curriculum.

1 year


A degree which consists of at least a four-year curriculum in a field related to architecture as defined in subsection (b)(6), or units toward such a degree.

2 years


Degrees in a field related to architecture shall be evaluated under subsection (a)(5) and defined as the following: Architectural Design; Architectural Engineering; Architectural Studies; Architectural Technology; Building Science; City and Regional Planning; Civil, Mechanical, Structural, or Electrical Engineering; Construction Engineering; Construction Management; Environmental Design; Interior Architecture; Landscape Architecture; and Urban and Regional Design.


So if you have a "related" 4 year degree, you have 3 years of equivalent experience from your grad degree plus 2 from the undergrad, and therefore more than the 5 needed to begin.


If you have a NON related degree, you have 3 years of equivalent experience from your grad degree plus 1 from the undergrad, and therefore you'd need one year of work to be eligible.


Or at least that's how I read it.

Oct 8, 15 12:47 pm  · 

Hold on... if you have a 3+ year (NAAB accredited) M.Arch and an undergrad degree which you need to have to enroll in an M.Arch.... you get 5 years credit. Remember, 2 years of a 5 year B.Arch curriculum is customarily general education courses. If you get a 4-year Pre-professional degree and get a 2-yr NAAB accredited M.Arch, you get 5 years credit. This is because you will get roughly 3 years of your educational curriculum in the major and 2 years of liberal arts/general education required of all bachelors degrees. You don't get credit in that case for courses in unrelated major. They aren't out f---ing people. 5 years for an NAAB accredited degree if you COMPLETE it. If you enroll and partially complete it then you get partial credit (less than 5 years).

A person who has an NAAB accredited degree in California can start taking the ARE right away after graduation. However, 3 years experience will be needed to be attained before taking the CSE and upon passing that, the person may become licensed. I talked to them.

Remember, you need to tweak your questions to the law. Upon reading the law, you should have an idea of how to frame the question. Don't ask them to determine if you meet the rules prior to paying the fee. Ask clarifications of the law and then you can determine from the information if you are ready to take the ARE (after you have transcripts transmitted to them and submit appropriate forms with fee to CAB. 

I talked to them so I would know the rules at hand. 

If you have an NAAB accredited degree (M.Arch or B.Arch), you get 5 years credit. You get less than that if you didn't complete it but did enroll in it. Remember, you need to complete IDP and at least 3 years qualified experience. 

Oct 8, 15 8:34 pm  · 

Hi, I had a quick question about being licensed in California. I have a B.S. in Architectural Studies, so to be licensed would I need 4.5 years of work experience before I can start the ARE ?


thank you guys! very helpful!

I would summarize as:

I have a NON related Bachelor degree (count 1 yr from undergrad) and 3 years of equivalent experience from my grad degree, therefore I need at least one year of work to be eligible.

is that right? @Richard

Oct 8, 15 11:24 pm  · 

read thru a smattering of this thread- THEN decide if you want to rely on RWCB-PBD for advice...

Oct 8, 15 11:32 pm  · 

What does the rule say? 


Hold on there for a second.... every accredited bachelors degree has about 2 years of general education. A 3+ year M.Arch has about the same amount of Architecture major credits. The reason a 5 year B.Arch is 5 years long instead of 3 years is because you have to also take about 2 years worth of general education as required by all regionally/nationally accredited academic institutions. The reason a 3-year M.Arch is 3 years (well 3 years + 1 term/semester) is because you already taken the general ed.

You get one credit for a non-related bachelor's degree when it is just that degree. The benefit comes when you get an NAAB accredited degree. The rules are designed to ENCOURAGE people to get an NAAB accredited degree.

You spent 7+ years in college. Contact CAB and explicitly ask them how many years of experience equivalency does someone receive for obtaining a 3+ year NAAB accredited Master's of Architecture.  Keep the question simple and clear. 

Remember, you would be sending transcripts from ALL your college institutions you attended. That is, your bachelor's degree and your master's degree. The 3+ year M.Arch + your B.A. or B.S. in whatever is equivalent to the 5-year B.Arch which is what credit you would get.

Do you think every person who undergoes a 3-year M.Arch is going to go through 2 years of IDP before ARE. They might do that if they feel they need it for preparation for the ARE but they aren't required to.

California follows similar standards as other states that allows people to take the ARE while working on IDP if the person has an NAAB accredited degree.

NCARB promoted that some years ago and several states had adopted laws to allow people to begin taking the ARE after a person obtained their NAAB accredited degree before completing IDP (experience).

Oct 8, 15 11:40 pm  · 


Candidates Eligible January 1, 2005 or After and Subject to IDP/IAP Requirement


Education Equivalents Max. Credit Allowed

(1) A professional degree in architecture, where the degree program has been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB), or units toward such a degree.

Column D: 5 years   (Candidates Eligible January 1, 2005 or After and Subject to IDP/IAP Requirement)

Since you completed the degree.... you get full credit. You spent 7+ years in college (4 plus 3+ years). You don't get 5 years plus 1 year value nor are you penalized by a 1 year plus 3.333-3.5 years where you get 4.333-4.5 years credit. You get the credit equivalency of 5 years because you have an NAAB accredited professional degree in architecture. The 3+ year M.Arch is a professional degree. 


File the paper work to begin testing for the ARE and pay the $100 fee and begin working on the ARE. 

You have a professional degree of architecture. Don't over complicate it.

Oct 8, 15 11:53 pm  · 



There has NEVER been anyone who went through the 3+ year M.Arch program in California and had to work 2 years before taking the ARE in a very VERY VERY long time. Lets put it simply, if CAB was requiring people who obtained a 3+ year M.Arch to have to work 2 years before taking the ARE, you would be hearing about it on this forum and ARECoach's forum all the time. They aren't.  Why is that?

People would be ranting and raving every friggin' day or darn near.

I had inquired these questions with CAB about two to three weeks ago.

Oct 9, 15 12:00 am  · 

vvii wrote:

 I have a NAAB accredited 3 yr Master of Architecture. But a 4 yr Bachelor in non-Architecture field.

vvii.... 3 year NAAB accredited Masters of Architecture (M.Arch) is a PROFESSIONAL DEGREE OF ARCHITECTURE accredited by NAAB.

Oct 9, 15 12:08 am  · 


I'm looking for some guidance on ARE and CSE eligibility requirements. 

I hold a Masters degree in sustainable design (field related to architecture- United States issued degree) and a bachelors in Interior Design (field related to architecture - Indian issued degree- which evaluates to same in United states- evaluation report has already been submitted to NCARB). Additional to this I have 16 months of experience in India and 20 months in United states. which equates to 3 years.

I want to apply for California initial license for which I understand that I will need the following:

  • I need only 3 years of experience in total regardless of it being in India or US for ARE's
  • After my ARE's I will need another 3 years of experience for being eligible to give the California Board- jurisdiction- specific exam. (CSE)
  • I will have to submit all employment verification forms. The forms does NOT have to be mailed by the employer directly to NCARB, I can collect all the forms and send it myself. 

Is my understanding right?

P.S. I want to be very sure before applying for eligibility as I don't want to get rejected.  

Jul 12, 19 5:45 pm  · 

You have a verrrrry specific ask, why not just contact NCARB?


I did! all they say is "five years of educational and/or work experience"- also they said that they will not be able to give me anymore information before I submit my doc uments for eligibility.

atelier nobody

Thank you!


1) setup an ncarb account

2) log your hours

3) check your hours against the values in the table provided here:

4) If you fulfill the requirements,  fill out all your forms -

5) Send everything to NCARB and wait for eligibility confirmation

Jul 15, 19 2:38 pm  · 

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