The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, NCARB, is comprised of architectural registration boards of all fifty states, as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists the member boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects. NCARB has established the minimal educational, experience and examination qualifications necessary for an individual to become a licensed architect in any of the states or jurisdictions mentioned above. NCARB is instrumental in providing licensed architects in any state or jurisdiction a pathway to become licensed in other states or jurisdictions through reciprocity or endorsement.
On April 26, 2017, NCARB issued a press release stating that the number of total architects remains consistent with previous years and the number of practitioners looking to become licensed also remains somewhat consistent. As of the date of the press release, there are total of 109,748 licensed architects; a total of 126,554 reciprocal registrations; and a total of 236,422 combined registrations. These numbers represent a 3 percent increase from 2015. The press release also states that: “The pool of emerging professionals working toward licensure also held steady in 2016, with more than 41,400 candidates taking the Architect Registration Examination and /or reporting Architectural Experience Program (AXP) hours.” In my opinion, this is a surprising number given the economic realities of the last few years.
It is interesting to look at the breakdown of architects scattered across the 54 jurisdictions comprising NCARB’s membership. The chart below provides a sampling of Illinois Architects in comparison with a few other jurisdictions.
State Resident Architects Reciprocal Architects Total Architects
California 17,241 4,106 21,347
New York 10,734 7,601 8,335
Texas 7,941 4,177 12,118
Florida 5,101 4,696 9,706
Illinois 5,618 3,621 9,239
Ohio 2,673 3,762 6,435
Missouri 2,092 3,069 5,161
Michigan 2,381 2,993 5,374
Wisconsin 1,515 2,952 4,467
Minnesota 1,974 1,599 3,573
Indiana 1,014 2,381 3,395
Guam 33 77 110
The full report can be viewed at www.ncarb.org.
NCARB allows each member board to be represented by two member board members. Only one of the two member board members can cast a vote for each jurisdiction. A small jurisdiction has as much say as a large jurisdiction. California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois can be out voted by smaller states having much fewer architects. NCARB intended for equal representation of all 54 member jurisdictions regardless of the actual number of licensed architects residing in each jurisdiction. In my opinion, NCARB has been an outstanding source in helping architects to obtain reciprocal licenses to practice in other jurisdictions.