Architect exam: NCARB prerequisites

The requirements for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) exams vary depending on your education and experience. To see which requirements apply to you, see:

NCARB exam prerequisites: Degrees and work experience
If you have… You need…
An NAAB-accredited degree
(5-year Bachelor of Architecture or 6-year Master of Architecture)
  • Work experience: 3 years of IDP. (Contact NCARB to find out when you can enroll in IDP.)
  • Exams:
    • Pass the ARE, including the seismic exam. (You can start taking the ARE through NCARB while enrolled in IDP.)
    • Successfully complete the Washington law review.
A professional degree awarded by Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA)
(5 or 6-year degree from a non-accredited U.S. architectural school or foreign architectural school)
  • Work experience: 3 years of IDP. (Contact NCARB to find out when you can enroll in IDP.)
  • Exams:
    • Pass the ARE, including the seismic exam. (Apply for your exam after completing your work experience and IDP.)
    • Successfully complete the Washington law review.
A preprofessional degree in architecture
(4-year degree from a program offering an accredited degree)
  • Work experience:
    • 2 years of practical architectural work experience under the direct supervision of an architect.
    • and
    • 3 years of IDP. (You can’t enroll in IDP until you complete the practical work experience.)
  • Exams:
    • Pass the ARE, including the seismic exam. (Apply for your exam after completing your work experience and IDP.)
    • Successfully complete the Washington law review.
Postsecondary study in architecture or related fields
(with passing grades)
  • Education credit: Up to 3 years of credit, in increments of 1 year.
  • Work experience:
    • 3 or more years of practical architectural work experience, depending on your education credit. (3 of these years must be under the direct supervision of an architect.)
    • and
    • 3 years of IDP. (You can’t enroll in IDP until you complete the practical work experience.)
  • Exams:
    • Pass the ARE, including the seismic exam. (Apply for your exam after completing your work experience and IDP.)
    • Successfully complete the Washington law review.
A degree in architectural technology
(2-year degree from a community college or trade school)
  • Work experience:
    • 4 years of practical architectural work experience, depending on your education credit. (3 of these years must be under the direct supervision of an architect.)
    • and
    • 3 years of IDP. (You can’t enroll in IDP until you complete the practical work experience.)
  • Exams:
    • Pass the ARE, including the seismic exam. (Apply for your exam after completing your work experience and IDP.)
    • Successfully complete the Washington law review.
A high school diploma
(or equivalent)
  • Work experience:
    • 6 years of practical architectural work experience, depending on your education credit. (3 of these years must be under the direct supervision of an architect.)
    • and
    • 3 years of IDP. (You can’t enroll in IDP until you complete the practical work experience.)
  • Exams:
    • Pass the ARE, including the seismic exam. (Apply for your exam after completing your work experience and IDP.)
    • Successfully complete the Washington law review.

Back to top

NCARB exam prerequisites: Reciprocity
If you have… Minimum requirements Summarize law? Oral exam?
An NCARB council record
(including the Broadly Experienced Architect and the Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect certificates)
NCARB transmits your council record to us for review Yes No
Been licensed at least 9 years in an NCARB-recognized jurisdiction
(No NCARB council record )
  • Verification of 9 years of licensure in an NCARB-recognized jurisdiction
  • Completion of the ARE.
Yes Board’s discretion
Been licensed at least 2 years, but less than 9 years, in an NCARB-recognized jurisdiction
(No NCARB council record )
  • Verification of 2 years of licensure in an NCARB-recognized jurisdiction
  • Meeting the requirements for the NCARB exam listed above (2 years of licensure = 3 years of IDP)
Yes Board’s discretion
No IDP and less than 2 years of licensure in an NCARB-recognized jurisdiction Not eligible for reciprocity. Without IDP, you must have at least 2 years of licensure in another NCARB-recognized jurisdiction. (See the NCARB exam prerequisites table above for your requirements.)

Back to top

Related laws and rules

Explanation of abbreviations

  • RCW—Revised Code of Washington (Washington State laws)
  • WAC—Washington Administrative Code (Washington State agency regulations)
Washington Healthcare Finder
Access Washington