Posted by: Brightwood Architecture Education
Published: June 1, 2015
Since the State of Illinois first pioneered the practice of licensing architects in 1897, architectural licensing has been increasingly adopted as a means to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Today, the United States and Canadian provinces require licensing for individuals practicing architecture. Licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction; however, the minimum requirements are uniform and, in all cases, include passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). This makes the ARE a required rite of passage for all those entering the profession, and you should be congratulated on undertaking this challenging endeavor.
Developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the ARE is the only exam by which architecture candidates can become registered in the United States or Canada. The ARE assesses a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in seven different areas of professional practice, including a candidate’s competency in decision-making and knowledge of various areas of the profession. The exam also tests competence in fulfilling an architect’s responsibilities and in coordinating the activities of others while working with a team of design and construction specialists. In all jurisdictions, candidates must pass all seven divisions of the exam to become registered.
The ARE is designed and prepared by architects, making it a practice-based exam. It is generally not a test of academic knowledge, but rather a means to test decision-making ability as it relates to the responsibilities of the architectural profession. For example, the exam does not expect candidates to memorize specific details of the building code, but requires them to understand a model code’s general requirements, scope, and purpose, and to know the architect’s responsibilities related to that code. As such, there is no substitute for a well-rounded internship to help prepare for the ARE.