Professional requirements for architects
The professional requirements for architects vary from place to place, but usually consist of three elements: a university degree or advanced education, a period of internship or training in an office, and examination for registration with a jurisdiction.
Professionals engaged in the design and supervision of construction projects prior to the late 19th century were not necessarily trained in a separate architecture program in an academic setting. Instead, they usually carried the title of Master Builder, or surveyor, after serving a number of years as an apprentice (such as Sir Christopher Wren). The formal study of architecture in academic institutions played a pivotal role in the development of the profession as a whole, serving as a focal point for advances in architectural technology and theory.
Professional requirements by country
In Australia, the title of architect is legally protected but architects are registered through state boards. These boards are affiliated through the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA). The AACA's Architect Registration service also provides accreditation for schools and assessments for architects with overseas qualifications for the purposes of migration.
There are three key requirements for registration: a professional degree from a school of architecture accredited by the AACA; at least two years of practical experience, and; the completion of the architectural practice examination.
Architects may also belong to the Australian Institute of Architects (formerly the Royal Australian Institute of Architects) which is the professional organization and members use the suffix AIA after their name.
Most States have legislation which covers the use of the title "architect" and makes it an offence for abusers of the title. As this can vary, it is essential to check the relevant legislation applicable in each State.
In Canada, architects are required to meet three common requirements for registration: education, experience, and examination. Educational requirements generally consist of an M.Arch. degree and are certified by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). For degreed candidates, the experience requirement is typically the Intern Architect Program (IAP). The provincial associations of architects, by the authority granted under their respective provincial Architects Act, require that Interns gain a minimum of 5,600 hours of work experience. The fundamental purpose of the pre-registration/licensing employment period is to ensure that the Intern is provided with sufficient experience to meet the standards of practical skill and level of competence required to engage in the practice of architecture. This experience is diversified into four main categories and 16 sub-categories, and must be completed working under the direct supervision of a registered architect. At present, all jurisdictions use the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), a series of seven computerized exams administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). As well, all jurisdictions recognize the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC), administered by the Pan Canadian ExAC Committee. Upon completion of the educational requirements, IAP, and examinations, one can apply for registration/license with their respective provincial architectural institute. An annual fee must be paid, and continuing education requirements met, in order to maintain a license to practice.
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) was established in 1907 and is a voluntary national association representing more than 3,600 architects and Faculty and graduates of accredited Canadian Schools of Architecture. The RAIC aims to be "the voice of Architecture and its practice in Canada". Members are permitted to use the suffix MRAIC after their names. The suffix FRAIC (Fellow of the RAIC) is used by members of the RAIC College of Fellows. Not all members of the RAIC hold accredited degrees in architecture, and not all Canadian architects are members of the RAIC.
For carrying professional practice in India, architects are required to register with Council of Architecture which is constituted by the Government of India under the provisions of the Architects Act, 1972. The profession of an architect is governed by the Architects Regulations, 1989 (as amended in 2003).
The COA registration service also provides accreditation for institutions providing the degree of architecture, which is minimum five years duration including professional practice for 16 working weeks (one semester). There are about 280 institutions including constituent colleges/departments of universities, deemed universities, affiliated colleges/schools, IITs, NITs and autonomous institutions which impart architectural education in India leading to recognized qualifications.
The main body for Architecture in Ireland is the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland, RIAI. Members may use the affix MRIAI and are registered to use the title "Architect" in company stationery. The title has only recently been protected.
To become a registered Architect, it usually takes five years' full-time study in the recognised schools of Architecture, followed by a minimum of two years approved experience, and one of the recognised Professional Practice qualifications  to gain admission to the RIAI . In all, it takes a minimum of seven years to gain registration. More details can be found on the RIAI website.
An alternate route to the Register is avaialbe through the ARAE (Architects Register Admission Examination) - this provides an opportunity for those without the required educational and professional qualifications to enter the Register in Ireland. This examination has operated successfully since 2009.
Architects' Alliance of Ireland is a group of long-established self-trained architects created in response to Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007. The Act seeks for the first time to control the use of the term 'architect' in the Republic of Ireland. The group is lobbying for an amendment of the legislation in order to restore the prior status of self-trained architects in the profession.
To enter the profession in Italy, individuals are required to first obtain a degree in Architecture, or a degree in Building Engineering/ Architecture, then to receive professional qualification, obtained by passing a state exam which consists of four tests (three written and one oral). To practice, the architect must register with the Ordine degli architetti (Order of Architects), which following a recent reform also includes planners, landscape architects and conservationists (architectural heritage). The Orders are organised by province, and registration is based on place of residence of the architect. Within the order there are currently several classes and categories, depending on specific qualifications.
Italian law recognises equal rights to Building engineers registered with the appropriate order. Other professionals in the construction industry are the geometra (surveyor) and the perito industriale (technical expert) specialising in construction; these professionals have several limitations compared to architects and engineers, as they follow a different and shorter course of study aimed at learning basic and complementary aspects of work in construction.
In Mexico, every profession is regulated by the Secretariat of Public Education, including architecture. The Secretariat expedes a Professional Licence (in Spanish cédula profesional), only after a recognized undergraduate degree is successfully achieved. Therefore, it is legally sufficient for an architect to hold an undergraduate diploma and a Professional Licence in order to practice. Registration to an official college or association of architects is completely optional.
Nevertheless, there are other norms that regulate the building industry. In Mexico, as it is common for constructions to be developed by individuals other than architects, these regulations are quite unrelated to the architecture profession. For a major construction, it is necessary for a professional to act as a Director Responsible of Construction (in Spanish, Director Responsable de Obra or DRO). This position does require a minimum of two years of professional experience in construction, as well as further evaluation and/or training. However, it is uncommon for architects to assume this role; this is generally a position preferred by and reserved to civil engineers.
In Singapore, university study is required (such as the five-year course of study at the National University of Singapore or certain approved foreign universities). Upon completion of university, additional training by working for a minimum of two years under a registered architect is required in order to become registered. Singaporean law governs the use of the term "architect" and prescribes the requirements to be listed in the Register of Architects. Membership in the Singapore Institute of Architects is a voluntary professional credential.
In South Africa, Architecture can be practiced in one of four categories, depending on qualification: professional architect (Pr.Arch.), professional senior architectural technologist (Pr.S.Arch.T.), professional technologist (Pr.Arch.T.), or professional draughtsperson (Pr.Arch.Draught.). After graduating, one enters a two-year period of in service training as a "candidate", and sits a Professional Practice entrance examination; one must also register with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession. When studied through a University, the programme is structured in two parts: the first is a three-year course leading to a Bachelor of Architectural Studies or BSc (Architecture); the second is an additional two-year postgraduate, professional degree – either the Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture, depending on University – which qualifies one to become an architect. A student is able to exit university after obtaining the first degree, and will be able to become a senior architectural technologist. When studied through a University of Technology (or a comprehensive university), the courses in architecture are a three-year National Diploma, and, after an additional year of study, the B.Tech degree. These enable a student to become an architectural technologist or senior technologist, respectively. To become a draughtsperson, one requires a (two year) National Certificate. The possibility of progression from one category to the next has been provided for in the Regulations, and is under review.
Term "Architect" and "Chartered Architect" are protected titles in Sri Lanka under the Architects Registration act of 1979 and the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (Amendment) Act, No. 14 of 1996.
In Sri Lanka, architects are required to meet three common requirements for registration: education, experience, and examination. The Education can be from one of the two available institutions; the degree course held by University of Moratuwa or by the part-time course held by the City School of Architecture (owned by the Sri Lanka institute of Architects) or by any foreign university recognized by the SLIA.
The University of Moratuwa has been offering a "3+2" program recognized by both the SLIA and RIBA; a three-year B.Sc. (Built Environment) degree and a two-year masters, M. Sc. (Architecture). This with the 2 years of appropriate work experience and successful completion of SLIA Part III examination would lead to the charter and the Architectural Registration Board (ARB) registration.
Recently, the University of Moratuwa has changed the "3+2" program to a continuous five-year B.Arch. program.
City School of Architecture offers a part-time course of seven years during which the students should be working continuously under the supervision of a Chartered Architect while attending the school on a part-time basis. Completion of the first four years of this program qualifies for SLIA part I and completion of the balance after 3 years qualifies for SLIA part II. Successful completion of this program with the 1 year of appropriate work experience and successful completion of SLIA Part III examination would lead to the charter and the Architectural Registration Board (ARB) registration.
In the United Kingdom, practicing under the name, style or title "architect" is restricted by law to those registered at the Architects Registration Board. It usually takes a minimum of seven years to obtain the necessary qualifications and experience for registration. Those wishing to become registered must first study at a recognized university-level school of architecture. Though there are some variations from university to university, the basic principle is that in order to qualify as an architect a candidate must pass through three stages which are administered by the Royal Institute of British Architects:
- On completing an initial degree in architecture (usually three or four years, usually either a BA, BSc, or BArch) the candidate receives exemption from RIBA Part I. There then follows a period of a minimum of one year which the candidate spends in an architect's office gaining work experience.
- The candidate must then complete a post-graduate university course, usually two years, to receive either a graduate diploma (Dip Arch), Masters (MArch) or B(Arch). On completing that course, the candidate receives exemption from Part II of the RIBA process.
- The candidate must then spend a further period of at least one year gaining experience before being allowed to take the RIBA Part III examination in Professional Practice and Management.
In the United States, people wishing to become licensed architects are required to meet the requirements of their respective state. Each state has a registration board to oversee that state's licensure laws. National Council of Architectural Registration Boards is a non-profit professional association created in 1919 to help ensure parity between the states' often conflicting rules. The registration boards of each of the 50 states (and 5 territories), member boards. NCARB issues a national certificate to qualified licensed architects. The NCARB certificate is recognized in most licensing jurisdictions for the purpose of granting licensure by endorsement or reciprocity.
Requirements vary among jurisdictions, and there are three common requirements for registration: education, experience and examination. About half of the States require a professional degree from a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) to satisfy their education requirement; this would be either a B.Arch or M.Arch degree. The experience requirement for degreed candidates is typically the Intern Development Program (IDP), a joint program of and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). IDP creates a framework to identify for the intern architect base skills and core-competencies. The intern architect needs to earn 700 training units (TUs) diversified into 16 categories; each TU is equivalent to 8 hours of experience working under the direct supervision of a licensed Architect. The states that waive the degree requirement typically require a full 10 years' experience in combination with the I.D.P diversification requirements before the candidate is eligible to sit for the examination. California requires C-IDP (Comprehensive Intern Development Program) which builds upon the seat time requirement of IDP with the need to document learning having occurred. All jurisdictions use the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), a series of seven (formerly nine) computerized exams administered by NCARB. The NCARB also has a certification for those architects meeting NCARB's model standard: NAAB degree, IDP and ARE passage. This certificate facilitates reciprocity between the member boards should an architect desire registration in a different jurisdiction. All architects licensed by their respective states have professional status as Registered Architects (RA).
Depending on the policies of the registration board for the state in question, it is sometimes possible to become licensed as an Architect in other ways: reciprocal licensure for over-seas architects and working under an architect as an intern for an extended period of time. Length of the typical licensure process depends on the particular combination of education, experience and pace of examination of a candidate. It is typical that the entire licensure process takes at least 7 to 11 years to complete; including five years of study (5 years for B.Arch, 3 years for M.Arch, 6 years for a "four-plus-two" program), three-plus years of experience (meeting exact IDP requirements in each category), and often a year or more to take and pass the seven ARE 4.0 exams.
- Architect Registration
- Architectural Institute of Canada
- The Building Control Act 2007, Irish Legislation
- Sourced from: The South African Institute of Architects; The South African Council for the Architectural Profession, with the document "Registering Persons With Qualifications"; The South African Institute of Draughting.
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- American Institute of Architects
- American Institute of Architecture Students
- Architects Registration Board-UK (ARB)
- Architects' Alliance of Ireland
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Netherlands Architecture Institute
- Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners
- Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
- Royal Australian Institute of Architects
- Royal Institute of British Architects
- Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland
- Union of Architects of Russia
- The South African Institute of Architects; The South African Council for the Architectural Profession
- Sri Lanka Institute of Architects
- World Architecture Database