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Department of Consumer Affairs California Architects Board
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Education

Overview

The Board requires a total of five years of educational equivalents. This requirement can be met in any of the following ways:

  • By obtaining a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB)*
  • By a combination of a non-accredited degree in architecture or other discipline plus work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect
  • Solely by work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect

*Note that unlike many other states, California does NOT require an accredited degree in architecture for examination and licensure. The NAAB-accredited degree is the most common path and helps tremendously if you wish to practice in other states.

Satisfying the Education Requirement

To be eligible to begin the examination and licensure process in California you must provide verification of at least five years of education and/or architectural work experience.

You can satisfy this five-year requirement in various ways:

  1. Provide verification of a three-year, five-year or six-year professional degree in architecture from a program that is accredited by NAAB or CACB, or
  2. Provide verification of at least five years of educational equivalents:
    1. You will receive a maximum of four years of credits for a professional architecture degree from a non-accredited program (e.g., not accredited by NAAB or CACB)
    2. The Board grants varying amounts of credit for other degrees and for units earned toward degrees. This might include an undergraduate degree in architecture, a degree in a field related to architecture or in another field, and (to a limited extent) units earned toward some degrees, and/or
    3. The Board-approved work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect