Becoming a Licensed Architect vs Architectural Engineer?


So I am considering my career path, and trying to determine which suits my goals best. The reason I'm considering these two pathways is because I do architectural drafting, and I want to become more involved in the design of buildings. My background is environmental science so I have a particular interest in sustainability. Here is what I am considering so far:

Licensed Architect: Complete 3.5 yr M.Arch program. Complete ~1400 hrs of AXP internship work experience. Take the ARE to become licensed. Look for jobs as an architect.

Architectural Engineer: Take 3 pre-requisites (before graduation). Complete 1-1.5 yr masters of science in architectural engineering. Look for jobs as an architectural engineer.

Am I missing any considerations? Am I overlooking any important aspects? Is there another option I haven't considered?

Thank you :)

Nov 21, 19 1:46 pm

Architectural Engineer will still require working for a Professional Engineer (EIT) and then passing the NCEES exams (FE and the PE exams).

Nov 21, 19 2:18 pm

Interesting. I'm reading up on this and am a little confused about education requirements.. most sites reference a 4 year engineering Bachelors degree. Do you happen to know if it's possible to get licensed with a non-eng BS + an eng Masters?

Non Sequitur

Most jurisdictions will require an accredited M.arch. Is this M.eng accredited? If not, then you're likely not going to have a clear path towards license.


So I reached out to someone at the MD Dept. of Labor to ask about the education requirements for licensing in MD. He said if I were to complete an engineering Master's from an institution that offers an accredited engineering Bachelor's of the same discipline, that my degree would qualify me for licensing. This is helpful because I was looking at the U of CO Boulder's Masters of Science in Architectural Engineering. This program itself is not accredited, but the school offers a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering that is accredited.


N.S., don't confuse the licensing process for architectural engineer with architect. An A.E. is a Professional Engineer with a multi-discipline background [structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering disciplines]. This type of engineer would be required to obtain an ABET accredited degree and in a number of states will have varying amount of experience working for an engineer depending on whether the degree is an associate degree or a bachelors degree. 


Each state ultimately has a list of education that is accepted for both architect licensure and engineer licensure.


architrekkie, I would double check it. What does the laws and rules does the engineer board require. READ IT. Make sure that person isn't mistaken in any way. Don't forget that you will likely need to take the FE exam to get to start EIT and then the appropriate PE exam(s) for the architectural engineering license. For the architect license, you will need the AXP and pass the ARE exam divisions and you might need an NAAB accredited architecture degree. I don't know what bachelor level degree that you currently have if you have one but I am assuming a non-architecture education. 


Oops - I accidentally replied in a separate comment. See below!


I have a BS in Envi Sci and Policy. So non-architecture and non-engineering. The person I spoke to is the Executive Director of Professional Licensing Boards at the MD Dept of Labor so I hope he is not wrong! But perhaps I will reach out to someone else tomorrow to double check his information. From what I read, there are 3 options - none of which specify whether a non-eng bach + eng masters would qualify as “equivalent” to any of their education requirements - which is why I reached out. For reference, here is where I read the requirements:

Nov 21, 19 5:53 pm

People can make accidental mistakes especially if they were confused in anyway during the conversion. It is always worth it to double check and verify. Sometimes if the person is in charge of a licensing department that does licensing for a lot more than the specific board, it can happen. Keeping track of dozens of professional licensing requirements can be complicated. Another thing suggested to me by someone is getting the info in written form. Email works but phone calls are often not recorded so it becomes he said/they said.... kind of thing. The statutes and the administrative rule or regulation in Maryland, is the definitive laws and rules. Statutes supersedes regulation/administrative rules when there is conflict.... generally because statutes are legislated by state legislators. I am not sure if the masters will count unless its content is about 2-3 years in length and compares to what you would have in an ABET accredited bachelors. An option maybe that you could simply get a second bachelors by just taking the engineering courses and maybe a little general ed if necessary due to the different states general education requirement.If you can get a job with an engineer, you could possibly be licensed by experienced and you might get a "little" credit for the learning you done. Consider your options.... assess and evaluate all your possible options. Find whatever with be the path of least resistance but that you also enjoy. Don't pursue it if you don't find it interesting. Do you want to design or do you want to engineer? Where is your passion at? The creative designing and the art or the science and math? You may pursue an M.Arch for architectural licensing and become an architect. Depending on the state where you may want to practice, you may have eligibility very easily to start the ARE and AXP. Consider your options. Some architects are technical oriented and love the science and so they practice engineering where it is incidental to the practice of architecture as part of delivering their architectural services not as a separate professional service. As architects should not represent themselves as engineers and engineers should not represent themselves as architects.


What you want to look for is a AE program that is both ABET and NAAB accrediated.  Then you run the internship concurrently; they closely align.  And get your Architectural and Structural Engineering license.  There are few out there...

Nov 22, 19 1:35 am
Chad Miller

As was already stated each state may have different 'alternative' paths to obtaining an architectural license, which is the path you'd have to take with an AE degree.  It's important to note that the these 'alternative' paths are rather long (10 plus years experience), do not offer reciprocity (have to redo the process and experience for each state), and are NOT accepted by every state.

A degree from an accredited architectural program has reciprocity and requires a person to go the IDP (experience phase) only once.  

Nov 22, 19 9:25 am


Dec 3, 19 5:09 pm

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