UCLA Architecture and Urban Design offers a number of resources to support your professional development and path to licensure.
Our Architectural Licensing Advisor, Todd Lynch (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Director of Outreach, Kat English (email@example.com) are available to answer any questions and can connect you to career development opportunities.
How to Become an Architect
In the U.S. and Canada, Architectural Licensure is granted by individual States and Provinces. Licensure requires successful completion of the following steps:
- Qualifying Professional Education (e.g. completion of our three-year, Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree program)
- Architectural Experience Program (AXP)
- The Architect Record Examination (ARE)
The California Architects Board also requires completion of the California Supplemental Exam (CSE). Licensure requirements for individual jurisdictions can be researched on NCARB’s Licensure Requirements Tool.
Licensure requirements for individual jurisdictions can be researched on NCARB’s Licensure Requirements Tool.
Architectural Experience Program (AXP)
The Architectural Experience Program (AXP) is a requirement for those seeking professional licensure to practice architecture. Developed and administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), it aims to help early professionals learn about the daily realities of architectural practice, and prepare them to practice architecture independently upon registration.
The AXP program requires a minimum of 3,740 credit hours of architecture experience in one of two settings.
Experience Setting A
(at least 1,860 hours)
AXP credit hours while employed by an architecture firm, working under an AXP supervisor who is licensed to practice architecture in the United States or Canada.
Experience Setting O
AXP credit hours earned outside of an employment setting or in connection with UCLA Architecture and Urban Design activities. Opportunities include Continuing Education, Design Competitions, Campus Construction Tours, and Volunteer Opportunities.
The full AXP guidelines and details on Experience Settings can be referenced on NCARB’s website.
AXP hours can be earned on your own schedule through continuing education. Opportunities include NCARB Monographs and Mini Monographs as well as the American Institute of Architects Continuing Education HSW Learning Units. UCLA Architecture and Urban Design lectures and symposia may also qualify for continuing education credits.
AIA HSW Learning Units are available online, or at chapter events and lectures. An AIA member number is required for reporting these hours. You can visit the AIA-Los Angeles website for information on free membership for students and recent graduates.
Participation in non-commissioned architectural production such as certain design competitions can also count towards your AXP hours. For these hours to count, pre-registration and submission is required and a licensed Architect Mentor must supervise the design process. Our Director of Outreach sends updates and opportunities throughout the year, but below are some helpful resources:
- Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Competitions
- American Institute of Architecture Students Competitions
- ArchDaily Competitions
- Architecture at Zero
- Bustler Competition Opportunities
- American Society of Architectural Illustrators: Architecture in Perspective
Students can also participate in interdisciplinary collaborations with other departments at UCLA. Past opportunities have included the design of affordable housing hosted by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, design competitions with the UCLA School of Engineering or urban planning proposals with the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Campus Construction Tours
Campus construction tours can also count toward your AXP hours. Our Architect Licensing Advisor periodically coordinates hard hat tours of UCLA campus buildings under construction, often in collaboration with UCLA Architecture and Urban Design’s American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) chapter, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Students, and other student groups.
AXP hours can also be earned through volunteer work. Volunteer work does not need to be design-related. Specific opportunities include UCLA’s One Bus, One Cause, Volunteer Day Captain and the USGBC Center for Green Schools “Green Apple Day of Service.” You can find more UCLA volunteer opportunities through the UCLA Volunteer Center.