So you want to become an architect in The Lone Star State? Well, you’re in luck — this post will tell you what you need to know about the process of getting your initial architecture license in Texas. Read on, and before you know it, you could be the next O’Neil Ford.
Let’s start with a little background information before we dive in. Architectural registration in Texas is managed by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) and governed by the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 22, Part 1, Chapter 1.
The TAC provides two ways that a person can become eligible for registration: by Examination or by Reciprocal Transfer. Registration by Reciprocal Transfer is the process for individuals who are already licensed in another jurisdiction. This post will focus on Registration by Examination, which is the process for new licensure candidates.
As I describe the requirements below, I encourage you to take a look at the website for the TBEA and the relevant section of the TAC, both of which are linked above, so you can follow along and see how the requirements are described there as well.
Now that we understand where to find the rules for licensure in Texas, and we know who is in charge of administering those rules, what are the actual steps of the process? Below, we’ll take a close look at each of the requirements defined by the TAC, which can be broken down into education, experience and examination.
Firstly, an applicant must have a professional degree from a qualifying architectural education program. In order to meet this requirement, the education program must either:
- Be accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB)
- Become accredited by the NAAB no later than two years after the applicant’s graduation
- Be granted candidacy and become accredited by the NAAB not later than three years after the applicant’s graduation
- Be deemed substantially equivalent to a NAAB accredited professional program through an evaluation by either the NAAB or another organization acceptable to the TBAE
For more information about the education requirement and how to meet it, see these resources:
- Texas Administrative Code, Title 22, Part 1, Chapter 1, Subchapter B, Rule §1.21
- NCARB Education Guidelines
- School Search (naab.org)
- Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) (naab.org)
Secondly, an applicant must complete the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) Architectural Experience Program (AXP). You don’t have to complete the education requirement before starting the experience requirement–in order to start the AXP an applicant must simply have a high school diploma and set up an NCARB record. For more information about the AXP program, NCARB’s AXP Guidelines provide a comprehensive explanation of that process.
Finally, an applicant must successfully complete the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). In order to begin the examination process in Texas, an applicant must:
- Have completed the education requirement
- Have completed six months of full-time experience working under the direct supervision of a licensed architect
- Have enrolled in (but not necessarily completed) the AXP
- Have applied to take the exam through the TBAE
For more information about the examination requirement and how to start taking the ARE in Texas, see these resources:
- Texas Administrative Code, Title 22, Part 1, Chapter 1, Subchapter C, Rule §1.41
- TBAE - Architects - How To Apply by Exam (texas.gov)
- TBAE - Architects - How To Apply (texas.gov)
- Architect Registration Examination 5.0 Guidelines (ncarb.org)
Ultimately, the requirements for licensure in Texas closely follow the standards for education, experience and examination established by NCARB, and the process relies on your NCARB record as the primary tool for confirming completion of those requirements.
Once you’ve met the requirements described above, you can submit your record to the TBAE through NCARB, and then all that’ll stand between you and licensure is time and a little paperwork.
In the event that you have more specific questions or concerns about the licensure process in Texas that have not been answered here or in any of the linked resources, then contact the TBAE.