Becoming a licensed Architect
February 16, 2007 8:31 PM   Subscribe

I have a B. Arch. degree from outside the US. I am currently working in the US "california" and would like to start working on my licensing procedure. And it seems the first step is to "convert" my degree and let it be accepted as an accredited degree. where do I start? Is there special agencies that do that? How much is it going to cost me? I will need any possible advice in this matter especially if you had to go through this same process.
posted by convex to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"California" is indeed the name of the state of California. No need for quotation marks.

I suggest you check with the California Council of the AIA.
posted by trip and a half at 12:23 AM on February 17, 2007

When entering my present graduate program, the admissions department required that I pay for a World Education Services ( appraisal. For $250 they looked at my grades at a British school and offered their equivalence at an American. They also verified that the school was appropriately and somewhat equally accredited and they ranked me within my class of graduates. To me it seemed like complete bullshit, but it might lend an air of authenticity to your degree if it came from a school that no one has heard of (in my case, most folks have heard of the school and program).

That being said, tripandahalf is right, check with the AIA. Professional orgs have all sorts of rules - that is what makes them professional.
posted by jmgorman at 6:45 AM on February 17, 2007

I'm sure the AIA will tell you to go to National Council of Architectural Registration Boards; It's poetic justice that NCARBs site is "not working" right now.

I don't envy you. This is just the first step in a slow bureaucratic process. It's slow enough when you have a degree in the states. I can't imagine what rule$ you have to follow with a foreign degree.
posted by tfmm at 8:22 AM on February 17, 2007

The AIA won't help; they don't handle liscencure and registration What you need to do is check out Ncarb. Rules for registration and the IDP (intern development program) are exhaustively explained there. They also have links to state liscensure boards - California will require seismic requirements beyond most other states. The tests are a bitch and many people pay for refresher courses which are rather expensive, but the registration itself isn't more than about 1K, spread out over time. Before you can even qualify, you need to document about two years worth of office work in 9 distinct fields (ie, site planning, project management, DD, CDs, etc) Good luck!
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:15 AM on February 17, 2007

I checked out Ncarb and they took me to Naab
according to them, the application fee is $900! Am I on the right path? Do I only have to go through EESA or I can do it elsewhere for cheaper?
posted by convex at 12:38 PM on February 20, 2007

DenOfSizer got it right, but here's a little more explanation.

In the USA, NAAB accredits professional degrees in architecture. In most states, you are required to complete an accredited degree in order to become licensed.

a professional architect's certification from NCARB is the only acceptable architect's credential in the USA. You can obtain a license several different ways, but almost all of them include an NAAB degree, IDP training records, and ARE examinations. When you obtain NCARB credentials, they are only valid for one state; reciprocity between states is often possible but not guaranteed. High seismic zones are usually the picky ones.

As you discovered, EESA is the avenue to obtain NCARB credentials if you do not possess an NAAB-accredited professional degree. I'm not familiar with the process but I think that you will be required to demonstrate experience and education commensurate with the standard NCARB requirements.

You can practice architectural design in most states within certain limits (square footage, occupancy type, etc) without an NCARB credential. Also, if you can find a licensed architect to check and stamp your drawings as the architect of record, you do not need credentials of your own. However, it is illegal to stamp drawings or even call yourself an architect without NCARB certification in the state in which you practice.
posted by Chris4d at 6:47 PM on February 20, 2007

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