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How to get your license: Architect by exam

If you do not have an accredited architectural degree, or have had no activity on an existing application for over 5 years, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • and
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent and at least 9 years of practical architectural work experience, which includes completion of the Architect Experience Program (AXP), formerly known as IDP.
    • Before enrolling in AXP, you must have had at least 6 years of work experience, with at least 3 years of experience under the direct supervision of an architect.
    • Unaccredited and related degrees can receive partial credit toward experience requirements. See WAC 308-12-025 for details.

For details about these requirements, please see RCW 18.08.350.

How to apply

If you have a non-accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree in architecture from a university not recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or are applying with work experience only:

  1. Submit your license application, either online or by mail:
  2. Complete section 1 of an Architect Employment and Experience Summary form for each work experience you are having verified. Have the work verifier complete section 2 and return the form to the address shown at the top of the form.
  3. Have your college or university send official transcripts to:
    Washington State Board for Architects
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 9012
    Olympia, WA  98507-9012
    Email: architects@dol.wa.gov (Email must come directly from the school)
  4. Once your application is approved, contact NCARB to register for the Architect Experience Program (AXP).
  5. After you’ve successfully completed AXP:
    1. Have NCARB transmit your record to us
    2. Request to take the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) through your My NCARB account
  6. When all documentation has been received, we’ll approve you to take the ARE.
  7. Take and pass all divisions of the ARE.
    • If you don’t pass a division of the exam the first time, you may continue to take it until you pass. However, after you pass your first division, you must pass all divisions of the exam within 5 years.
  8. After you’ve passed the entire ARE (and the oral exam if needed), complete, sign and date an Architect Law Review. You must score 100% to pass the exam, which covers:
  9. Complete the application process, either online or by mail:
    • Online
      • Login to:
        • Upload your Architect Law Review Exam (see step 8).
        • Pay your 2-year license fee.
    • By mail
      • Send us the following:
        • A check or money order for your 2-year license fee (payable to the Department of Licensing).
        • A completed, signed, and dated Architect Law Review Exam (see step 8).

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