NCARB question ablout the ARE's?



  • Official comment
    Jared NCARB

    NCARB as an organization is a federation of the licensing boards of all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. Each jurisdiction decides what criteria are necessary for licensure in that jurisdiction - not NCARB. NCARB does provide the AXP as an experience program and the ARE as a licensure exam for architects. It is the jurisdiction that decides whether to require these or not. Yes, most jurisdictions do require the AXP and all do require the ARE as jurisdictions see a strong benefit to uniform programs leading to licensure across all jurisdictions.

    NCARB was founded over 90 years ago by the licensing boards to help facilitate common standards to architectural licensure. These common programs and standards help to advance architectural licensure and are set in place by the NCARB membership, the 54 licensing boards. All fees related to each of these programs are determined by the NCARB Board of Directors which is made up primarily of current and past members of state licensing boards. In the end, it is still the individual jurisdiction that chooses to adopt NCARB programs or support their own alternative pathways to licensure.

    NCARB operates both the AXP program and the ARE program at a deficit in an effort to minimize costs to licensure candidates. More information on NCARB as an organization can be found at 

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    Kevin Griendling

    Hi Brian,

    I am going to give you the basic answer: You are paying for it one way or another.

    • Who is going to pay for the logistics of the exam center staff, site, and equipment?
    • Who will pay the people who organize and distribute exam materials? (You caught a break on volunteer test writers, or dang that would be pricey!)
    • Who will pay for the writing of instructions to guide you along the whole process and make your life easier?
    • Who will pay for your fancy little certificate?

    The list goes on and on. If you are not paying for it out of pocket, subsidies (probably government) take over and personally I'd rather know precisely where my money is going for these programs than have some other lackey deciding it for me.

    You are paying for a service, of an organization to know all of the jurisdictional requirements and help usher you through them. It is a small price to pay for the ease of transition into a professional (most likely making well beyond $1,500 more for throughout your career for having the license).

    My best advice to candidates: Get over it.

    You don't have the time or the mental capacity during testing to be fighting that uphill battle.

    Also, something you may have missed is that NCARB actually does kick in a bit of your membership fees and other funds into testing, so the exam stays cheaper. As much as is logistically feasible. Enjoy!


    All the best and good luck to you,

    Kevin Griendling

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    Karen Davidson

    Great information, Kevin.  Thank you so much!!!!

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