Licensing is Key
The role of architects is not just to design buildings; architects protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
Protecting Public Safety
Architects have a professional responsibility to design buildings that are safe to occupy. The importance of safety cannot be overemphasized - especially in a densely populated state like California, prone to earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and floods. Buildings must be able to withstand the forces of natural (and other) disasters, as well as the day-to-day demands of occupancy/use.
This is why architects, like medical doctors and others with a high level of responsibility for public safety, must be licensed in any state where they are practicing. Sometimes other states use the term "registered" architect, as opposed to licensed.
Personal and Professional Validation
Many highly skilled people are employed in the building professions, performing drafting, code research and other tasks that are part of the design process. But they are not "architects" unless they have a valid architect license.
Obtaining your architect license is worth it! It’s an official, tangible validation of your hard work and professional abilities.
Licensure in California
In California, as in other states, the law prohibits you from calling yourself an architect or practicing architecture unless you have been granted a license by the California Architects Board (Board).