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Department of Consumer Affairs California Architects Board
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Architect Registration Examination (ARE)

The ARE is the national examination developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) which tests your knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required in the design and construction of buildings.

The ARE concentrates on those services that most affect the public health, safety, and welfare. Its contents relate closely to the actual tasks you will encounter in real-world practice.

ARE tests for your competence in specific subject areas, your qualifications to perform measurable tasks, and your skills and judgment to be able to work with a team of building specialists. In short, the objective of the ARE is to reflect the practice of architecture as an integrated whole.

Effective July 1, 2008, the ARE was reformatted from nine to seven divisions. ARE version 4.0 includes six divisions containing both graphic vignettes and multiple-choice questions and one division with graphic vignettes only.

Complete information about the exam including the ARE Guidelines (PDF, 3.7M) and can be found at the NCARB website in the ARE section.

ARE Testing

ARE testing is done at computer testing facilities. Tests are given year-round. There are approximately 30 testing facilities throughout California.

Each of the seven ARE divisions is tested separately (test times range from 2 hours to 5.25 hours per division). You must pass all divisions of the ARE test within a five year time period.

Eligibility

If you are a California resident looking to take the ARE, your eligibility is determined by the Board. You can apply for exam eligibility evaluation as soon as you believe you have met the education and experience requirements.*

To be eligible to take the ARE, you must have five years of postsecondary education and/or work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect.

Your eligibility remains valid as long as you are active in the examination process and can only be maintained in one state, jurisdiction, or province at a time.

*California also permits candidates to take ARE divisions while concurrently completing the structured internship requirements.