Become a Licensed Architect in New York

Looking out over the landscape of skyscrapers and architectural works that make up the New York City skyline, perhaps you realize that you want to be an architect in this bustling metropolitan area. This is a career that involves a very specific set of skills including mathematics, science, and artist ability. If you feel that you have what it takes to design, engineer, manage and communicate your vision to others, you may be ready to learn how to become a licensed architect in New York


  1. Complete the educational requirements which should take you roughly 8 years to satisfy.
    • Acquire a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in architecture from a program approved by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
    • Determine the units of credit you need. The educational and experience requirements are based on a system with units of credits, where your education credits will determine how many units of experience are going to be necessary. The combination of the two must be a minimum of 12 units, where one unit typically equals a year.
    • Accumulate the remaining credits required. There are many ways to go about this, including if you have graduated from a foreign college/university; you can verify with the National Architectural Accrediting Board that you have the qualifying education and to inquire as to what steps you need to take in order to achieve it.
  2. Complete an approved Intern Development Program (IDP).
    • Work under the direct supervision of a lawfully practicing New York City architect for the number of years equivalent to the experience credits you require.
    • Secure documentation of your completed internship and submit it to the Board of Licensure to receive acknowledgment of your earned experience credits.
  3. Submit the application to take the Architect Registration Exam (ARE), required no matter where you live.
    • Receive approval from the New York State Education Department to take the ARE. Approval will be granted when you have completed the education and experience requirements.
  4. Take and pass all seven sections of the ARE within a 5-year period. The sections are include Programming Planning & Practice, Site Planning & Design, Building Design & Construction Systems, Schematic Design, Structural Design, Building Systems, and Construction Documents & Services.
  5. Contact the Board of Licensure to determine what licensure application forms you need. This can vary depending on your exact situation, such as whether or not you have already practiced architecture elsewhere or if you have an architecture degree from a foreign university.
    • Submit the Application for Licensure and any supporting documents along with the required fees.
    • Wait to receive approval of your license.


  • If you are already a licensed architect in another state or country, or if you have 12 or more years of experience as an architect regardless of licensure, you may be eligible for licensure without completing all of these steps. Contact the NY State Board of Licensure for more information.


  • If you do not complete all seven steps of the ARE within five years, you will be required to re-take the parts of the exam you completed more than five years ago. The exception to this rule is that applicants who have taken and passed a segment of the ARE prior to January 1, 2006 will retain credit for that section of the exam until June 30, 2014.

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