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So You’ve Passed the ARE, Now What?

Years of hard work have led up to this point. But what do you do once the exam is finally over?

After years of preparation, you’ve finished the last division of the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). You’ve waited the grueling 4-6 weeks to receive your scores. And finally, that long awaited email pops up in your inbox. Once you work up the courage to open it, you see the 4-letter word you’ve been waiting for: PASS. And that’s it. You’re done. Years of studying and test-taking and now you can finally put the ARE behind you.

So what’s next?

Now you have to get your initial architecture license. At this point you should be very familiar with your jurisdiction’s requirements for licensure, but if not, review those ASAP to make sure you’ve met them all. 

Now, how do you get an architecture license?

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) makes things really easy for you from here. Go to their website, select your state, and you will find a link to the State Board of Architecture for your jurisdiction, where you can (in most cases) fill out an initial architecture license application online. NCARB also provides contact information for each jurisdiction in case you have any questions. The applications for some jurisdictions can be a bit lengthy, but they are pretty straightforward. Fill it out, send it in, and wait to receive your license. And that's how you get your architecture license.

You are now officially a licensed architect! Start signing emails with “R.A.” (registered architect) after your name, and make sure you update your NCARB Record to reflect your new licensure.

The final step in the process to becoming a licensed architect is an optional one: getting NCARB certified. There is an annual fee required, but it can be a great career move. NCARB certification makes you look more desirable in the eyes of potential employers and clients, showing you’ve achieved the highest professional standards available. It also makes it much easier for you to get licensed in other states outside of your jurisdiction. The benefit of this is that you can move around, and take work wherever you wish.

Getting certified is easy once you’ve met all the requirements. You can apply online through your NCARB Record. Once it’s finalized, you can start using “NCARB” after your name to show off your impressive achievement.

And the final step in becoming a fully licensed, practicing architect? Get a job! Use these networking tips and strategies to land yourself a great one.