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Department of Consumer Affairs California Architects Board
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Experience

As they say, there’s no substitute for experience. Architecture is no different from other professions that require apprenticeships, clerkships, or internships. It’s important that you be able to put educational theory into real-world practice.

Many aspects of architectural practice can only be learned through hands-on experience. For this reason, training under a practicing architect is required prior to licensure.

Experience Defined

Work experience may refer to experience gained and used to satisfy the educational requirement (see Education).

However, you must have an additional three years of experience before you are eligible to take the California Supplemental Examination (CSE). Most people get their supplemental three years of experience through a formal training program called internship, where they work at an architectural firm in paid positions.

The foundation of the internship program is the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). This is a national program administered by National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

The AXP requirement helps to ensure a threshold of experience and training for all architectural candidates. It also facilitates interstate and international practice, should you choose to take your architectural credentials outside of California.

Everyone applying for architectural exam eligibility must complete AXP.