Licensing FAQ

The last couple months have been a bit unstable to say the least.  For many who are in the process of taking exams and studying for them it has been a sort of limbo that no one asked for. NCARB has attempted to get out in front of it all and allow for extensions on testing windows, explanations into testing time tables, and how to continue to gain AXP during these unprecedented times.  While I will never be able to bring to light information at the level of NCARB, I did think it would be a good time to share some of the questions I’m asked relatively often on topics such as examination, studying, reciprocity, and a few other items.

Question: I’ve met my requirements in a category for hours as I accrue them to sit for exams.  Should I continue to accrue hours in those categories even though I’ve met the minimum?

Answer: A simple answer, yes. While doing this it may seem like you’re just stacking hours away in a specific category when you would prefer to have hours going elsewhere, but this can be helpful for a handful of reasons.

  1. It shows where the vast majority of your time is which can help you determine where your possible strengths and weaknesses are with your experience.  This helps with the exams and topics for each section, as well as your general work experience.
  2. It’s helpful in those times where you would like to get opportunities for other work experiences in the office by being able to show superiors where more time could be allocated to assist your growth.
  3. Depending on where you are accruing AXP, logging all hours can help you in other categories if ARE updates to a new and improved 6.0.  When the jump was made from 4.0 to 5.0 how and where credit hours went were moved around.  Those who were short hours in on area were now meeting or exceeding their requirements.  At the moment, there isn’t an ARE 6.0 on the horizon, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Question: With working from home, or not being able to secure a position for a summer internship, what other ways can I accrue hours towards AXP?

Answer: The current times are horribly unfortunate and that’s likely an understatement.  Many AIA chapters, both local and state, would be the first place to look.  Remain tapped in as they have been looking to provide online seminars that can assist in these areas. Even if it doesn’t assist with AXP, there are a number of online seminars that talk to you about the things you will need to know and learn in practice and for exams.  These can range from seminars on curtain wall systems to water and air barriers.

Question: What’s the current situation with Prometric and testing?

Answer: Prometric is currently open although at a limited capacity.  While you may be able to locate a spot to get in there it may be best if you can to wait until later in the fall.  Much of Prometric’s focus currently is on first responders and getting those people in.

Question: With working from home, opportunities to meet specific categories for AXP have become more difficult (CA, etc.), what suggestions are there to continue to accrue time in these categories?

Answer: I would simply advise you to have an honest conversation with your supervisor or studio director.  Hours may become crunched and fees may become tight where jobs are not as likely to have the fluff in them to allow for extra people to contribute to certain phases of projects. 

Question: Where can I find information on obtaining reciprocity in other states/jurisdictions?

Answer: NCARB updated much of the content on their website last year and added in a really helpful page on this very topic.  It provides an interactive map where one can click on the state (or territory) they’re looking to either gain their initial licensure or reciprocity in and what it will require of them.  It will list degree requirements, examinations achieved, additional paperwork, and anything else a jurisdiction will need from you.  In many cases, it will even provide hyperlinks to the appropriate entities to file paperwork or at a minimum who to contact (The link to this is:

In closing, if at any point you have any questions or need clarification on anything regarding NCARB, AXP, ARE, or reciprocity please reach out, even if your question is an extension of one of the questions above.

Michael Hammon, AIA

AXP Supervisors and Licensure Candidates

NCARB’s Architectural Experience Program (AXP) has been revamped to better help candidates get the experience they need to practice architecture.  The role of Supervisor has become much more important than it seemed to be with the IDP program.  Hopefully, as a supervisor, you are taking your role seriously and helping your coworker create a strategy to gain the experience they need to become licensed.  It is up to the Supervisor to make sure a candidate isn’t spending all 360 hours of project management doing a single task but is getting the array of experience an architect should have to be practicing.  As a licensure candidate, you should be engaging with your supervisor on a regular basis to review your experience and make sure you’re on track. For more information on the role of supervisor, check out this website:

Helpful info for AXP supervisors from NCARB:

  • If your candidate plans on finishing in ARE 4.0, remind them that time is running out. Candidates’ ability to test in each division is limited to three attempts in a 12-month period, and they must wait 60 days before retaking a division. Encourage them to test early as exam appointments will be difficult to come by as the deadline gets closer!
  • If your candidate plans on transitioning to ARE 5.0, encourage them use our Transition Calculator to create a smart testing plan. Switching to 5.0 may help your candidate finish testing in fewer divisions or get a fresh start on testing.
  • Whichever plan your candidate chooses, make sure they keep rolling clock dates in mind. Whether they’re testing in ARE 4.0, 5.0, or a combination of both, candidates still need to complete all divisions within five years of their first passed division.

ARE 5.0 Provisional Scoring
Candidates testing in ARE 5.0 can now receive provisional feedback in the testing center! As of November 1, 2017, testers have the option to view likely results at the end of their exam.

ARE Fees
As NCARB first announced in 2015, the cost per ARE division will increase in October 2018 from $210 to $235. Following this increase, the cost for all six divisions of ARE 5.0 will be $1,410, still $60 less than ARE 4.0’s seven divisions.
Thank you for taking the time to mentor and support the next generation of architects. To learn more about ARE 5.0, visit the ARE 5.0 Community or visit our blog.

Do you have questions about licensure? Please contact Rachel Shelton, AIA, Virginia Licensing Advisor at

Shelton Presents at Summit

Rachel Shelton, AIA presents on the topic of compensation. Photo courtesy of NCARB

AIA Virginia member and Virginia Licensing Advisor, Rachel Shelton, AIA, recently attended and presented at the Licensing Advisors Summit held July 28-30 in Chicago.

The summit is held by NCARB with the support of AIA, providing advisors with an opportunity to share resources, get training, and discuss changes to the profession.  Keynote Speaker Rosa Sheng, AIA, spoke on equity in the profession, reminding us to “build empathy to achieve equity.” Oswaldo Ortega presented on supporting diversification in the profession, highlighting Chicago’s NOMA program.

Other topics of discussion included compensation upon licensure, the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) program, which is gaining traction, and pass rates for the ARE 5.0 tests, which will be published by NCARB later in August.

Read more about NCARB’s Architect Licensing Advisors Community

Contact Rachel at if you have questions about your path to licensure.