Illinois Architect License Exam

How to Get Your Illinois Architect License

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On this page, you’ll find an exhaustive guide on the Illinois Architect License Requirements and the Architect Registration process in Illinois. It provides all the crucial information you need including state regulations, application fees, and filing instructions among other relevant details. If you need any assistance related to the licensing process, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to offer further details about our software and managed license services to support your needs.

How do I become an architect in Illinois?

To become a licensed architect in Illinois, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Education: Complete a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the NAAB.
  • Experience: Gain a minimum of 3,740 supervised hours through an internship or apprenticeship program.
  • Application: Submit an application to the IDFPR, including the required documentation.
  • Examination: Pass all divisions of the ARE administered by the NCARB.
  • Licensure: Upon approval of your application, you will be granted licensure as an architect in Illinois by the IDFPR.

Note that it is advisable to consult the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards for detailed and up-to-date information on the licensure process in Illinois.

How Do I Take The Architect Registration Examination In Illinois?

Company Licenses

Illinois Professional Design Firm Registration

  • Business Corporations
  • Professional Corporations
  • Professional Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships (GP, LP, LLP)
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Ownership Requirements:

Business Corporations:

  • For business corporations offering professional services, it is necessary to designate at least one Illinois licensed professional as the managing agent responsible for each professional service provided by the firm. This individual must be a director and full-time employee of the corporation. Additionally, firms offering architectural services must have at least 2/3 of their board of directors licensed to practice architecture, professional engineering, structural engineering, or land surveying.

Professional Corporations:

  • In professional corporations, all directors, officers, and shareholders must be licensed in one of the professions offered by the firm or a related profession.

Professional Limited Liability Companies:

  • For professional limited liability companies, all managers and members must be licensed in one of the professions offered by the firm or a related profession.

Partnerships:

  • Partnerships providing professional services are required to designate at least one Illinois licensed professional as the managing agent responsible for each professional service offered by the firm. This individual must be a partner and full-time employee. Additionally, firms offering architectural services must have at least 2/3 of their partners licensed to practice architecture, professional engineering, structural engineering, or land surveying.

Note: The Illinois Secretary of State requires that Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) planning to provide regulated or licensed professional services through the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation must register as Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLCs) or operate under an assumed name listed as a PLLC.

Sole Proprietorships: Licensed sole proprietors offering design services under their individual name, without employing others for work requiring professional licensure, are not required to register. However, if a sole proprietorship conducts business as a design professional under an assumed name, registration as a professional design firm is necessary. Sole proprietorships not owned by an Illinois licensed design professional are prohibited from offering professional services to the public.

Compliance with these registration requirements ensures that businesses providing professional services in Illinois are appropriately recognized and regulated according to the specific designations outlined by the Illinois Secretary of State.

  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Yes
  • Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • Managing Agent Requirement: The organization must appoint a Managing Agent through an official Board Resolution. The Managing Agent must be licensed in Illinois for the specific profession(s) that the organization intends to offer and will be responsible for those respective profession(s) in Illinois.
    • The Managing Agent must be a full-time employee of the organization. If the organization offers architectural services, the named Managing Agent for architecture must also hold a position as a director, member, or partner within the organization. It is possible to appoint multiple Managing Agents for a profession if desired, but an individual can only serve as the Managing Agent for one firm at a time.
    •  A separate Resolution must be made for each appointed Managing Agent. 
    • If the firm’s practice includes architecture, the designated Managing Agent for architecture must be a member of the board of directors, a full partner, or a member of a PLLC (Professional Limited Liability Company) or LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) and explicitly stated as such in the resolution.
    •  For the engineering profession, it must be specified whether it pertains to Professional Engineering or Structural Engineering.
  • Requirement Notes:  For the practice of architecture, there is a special requirement regarding the composition of the business organization’s Board of Directors/Members/Partners:

Two-thirds of the individuals on the board must be licensed in any of the applicable design professions, either in Illinois or any U.S. state/territory.

Among the licensed individuals, one must hold an architect license in Illinois and will serve as the Managing Agent for the firm.

This requirement ensures that the majority of the board members have the necessary qualifications in design professions, with one specifically licensed as an architect in Illinois to oversee and take responsibility for the architectural aspects of the firm’s practice.

First-Time Applicants

The following information pertains to architectural firms seeking an initial license in Illinois. If you currently possess a license and wish to renew it, please refer to the renewal section.

  • Fill out the Professional Design Firm Registration Application. To file your application for licensure in Illinois, complete the application form, gather the required support documents, including the appropriate fee payment, and mail them to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation at P.O. Box 7007, Springfield, Illinois 62791. Make sure to follow the instructions provided, and for any specific requirements or updates, refer to the department’s website or contact their office directly.
  • Agency Fee: $75
  • Turnaround: 2 weeks. Confirmation will be sent to applicants via mail.
  • Note: 
    • Qualification of the Business: To qualify the business, a Illinois-licensed architect must be a principal officer of the company. This means that the architect holds a position of authority and responsibility within the organization
    • .Supervisory Control: A Illinois-licensed architect must be in responsible supervisory control of all business offices, including branch offices. This implies that the architect has the authority and oversight to manage and make decisions regarding the architectural activities carried out by the business.

Before Applying, Take In Consideration:

  1. Foreign Qualification: If your firm is a foreign entity, you must obtain the foreign qualification.
  2. Certificate of Good Standing: Obtain a certificate of good standing from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
  3. Certified Copy of Articles of Incorporation: Provide a certified copy of the articles of incorporation. The purpose clause must specifically state the profession(s) your firm intends to offer.
  4. Annual Report: Submit a filed copy of the latest annual report filed with the Illinois Secretary of State, which identifies the current directors, members, and partners.
  5. Name: If an assumed name is used, board approval is required.

Ownership/Entity Requirements:

  1. Business Corporations: The purpose clause must be specific to the profession(s) the design firm seeks registration for, such as professional engineering.
  2. Professional Corporations: All directors, officers, and shareholders must be licensed individuals in one of the professions offered by the firm or a related profession.
  3. Professional Limited Liability Companies: All managers and members must be licensed individuals in one of the professions offered by the firm or a related profession.
  4. Partnerships: At least one Illinois licensed professional, who is a partner and full-time employee, must be designated as the managing agent responsible for each professional service offered by the firm. Firms providing architectural services must have at least 2/3 of their partners licensed in any state to practice architecture, professional engineering, structural engineering, or land surveying.

Qualified Party:

  • Designate at least one Illinois licensed professional as the managing agent responsible for each professional service offered by the firm.
  • Obtain a copy of a signed board resolution designating the Illinois licensed design professional(s) as the managing agent(s) of the firm. The resolution should include the licensee’s name, Illinois license number, confirmation of full-time employment, relationship to the firm (e.g., director), and designation as the managing agent responsible for the professional practice in Illinois.
  • Ensure that all necessary documentation is prepared and complies with these requirements to facilitate a smooth application process.

How to apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the Illinois Secretary of State – Business Services Department.
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing and a copy of the most recently filed annual report from the Illinois Secretary of State – Business Services Department. Note that these documents are not required if your entity was formed within one year of submitting your firm license application.
  3. If applicable, obtain a filed copy of the application with the Illinois Secretary of State to adopt an assumed name and the letter issued by the Illinois Secretary of State approving the assumed name. These documents should be filed along with the license application.
  4. Submit a Professional Design Firm Registration Application to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. File foreign qualification documents with the Illinois Secretary of State – Business Services Department.
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing and a copy of the most recently filed annual report from the Illinois Secretary of State – Business Services Department. Note that these documents are not required if your entity was formed within one year of submitting your firm license application.
  3. If applicable, obtain a filed copy of the application with the Illinois Secretary of State to adopt an assumed name and the letter issued by the Illinois Secretary of State approving the assumed name. These documents should be filed along with the license application.
  4. Submit a Professional Design Firm Registration Application to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Must-have Attachments

  • Articles of incorporation (or equivalent for any type of business entity)
  • Certificate of good standing with the Illinois Department of State
  • An annual report that identifies the directors, members, or partners and designates the licensed engineers within the firm
  • A resolution that states the designated licensed professionals and includes their license information
  • Filed copy of the application with the Illinois Secretary of State to adopt an assumed name (if applicable) and the letter issued by the state approving the assumed name

Registration Renewal

The following information pertains to architectural firms that are currently licensed in Illinois and are seeking to renew their license. Take into consideration:

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $75
  • Due: By April 30 of odd-numbered years. Renewals may be filed as early as 3 months prior to the expiration date.
  • Note: Renewal notices are mailed 2 months prior to the expiration date.

Must-have Attachments

  • List of directors, officers, managers, or members of the firm, including their names and addresses.
  • List of licensees who will be in responsible charge of the firm’s professional services. Include their names and specify the profession(s) they are licensed in.
  • List of branch office locations, indicating the address of each branch office and the licensee who will be in responsible charge at each location.

Amendment

  • Agency Fee: $0
  • Due: In Illinois, if there is a change in the managing agent of a professional design firm, it is essential to notify the Department by mail within 10 business days. Additionally, within 30 days of the change, the firm must submit a Resolution of the board/members/partners, along with the seal and signature of the newly designated managing agent, providing the name and license number of the new managing agent. Adhering to these guidelines ensures compliance and maintains accurate records for the professional design firm.
  • Original Ink is not required
  • Notarize is not required

Reinstatement

  • Fill out the Professional Design Firm Reinstatement Request
  • Agency Fee: $75 for each renewal period missed + $50 late fee
  • Note: If a license has expired for a period of 5 or more years, the license holder is required to apply for a new license rather than renewing the expired license.

Must-have Attachments

  1. Certificate of Good Standing from the Illinois Secretary of State. Note that this requirement does not apply to partnerships or sole proprietors who are using their Social Security Number (SSN) for business purposes.
  2. A Board resolution appointing the Managing Agent for each profession offered by the firm. For an Architect Managing Agent, they must be a Director, Member, or Partner of the firm. It is important to comply with the Architecture Act, which states that at least 2/3 of the Board members must be licensed design professionals in a U.S. jurisdiction.
  3. A list of the current Board of Directors, Members, or Partners, along with their respective professional license numbers.

Individual Licenses

Illinois Architect License

  • Agency: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Yes
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

Reciprocal Registration

  • Fill out the Application for Licensure/Examination. Consider that the filing method is via mail or Online. 
  • Agency Fee: $100
  • Note: NCARB Record Holders: If you have an NCARB record, you can apply for your architect license online. However, it is recommended to request that your NCARB Record be sent to the Illinois Board before applying for your license. Please note that it may take up to four weeks for NCARB to transmit your Record. Non-NCARB Record Holders: If you do not have an NCARB record, you must apply for your architect license by mail. Ensure that you follow the application process outlined by the Illinois Board.

Registration Renewal

  • Submission method: online.
  • Agency Fee: $60
  • Due: By November 30 of even-numbered years.

Illinois Interior Designer Registration

  • Agency: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Yes
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

  • Fill out the Registered Interior Designer Application. Consider that the filing method is via mail.
  • Agency Fee: $40 for Illinois-licensed architects (non-examination) or $100 if applying by examination

Reciprocal Registration

  1. Fill out the Registered Interior Designer Application
  2. Agency Fee: $100

Must-have Attachments

To apply for an interior design license in Illinois, you will need to provide the following documentation:

  • An official NCIDQ certification or certification of passage of the NCIDQ exam from the state where you passed the exam. This demonstrates your qualification as a certified interior designer.
  • Official transcripts for your Interior Design degree. These transcripts verify your educational background in interior design.
  • VE-IND form for your experience. This form documents your relevant professional experience in the field of interior design.
  • Certification from the current state where you are actively practicing interior design. This certification validates your current licensure and professional standing.

Registration Renewal

  • Submission method: online.
  • Agency Fee: $60
  • Due: By August 31 of odd-numbered years.

Illinois Landscape Architect License

  • Agency:  Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

Reciprocal Registration

Must-have Attachments

  1. A CLARB record OR
  2. Official transcripts for your Landscape Architect degree
  3. VE_LA form for your experience
  4. Certification from the current state of active practice
  5. Certification of the passage of the LARE

Registration Renewal

  • Submission method: online.
  • Agency Fee: $60
  • Due: By August 31 of odd-numbered years.

Non-State Level Architecture Firm Licenses in Illinois

This section aims to clarify licenses that are not required in Illinois for architecture firms.

Illinois Interior Design Firm License

Illinois does not have state-level licensure requirements for interior design firms. There is no current licensing or registration process for interior design businesses in Illinois.

Illinois Landscape Architecture Firm License

Landscape architecture firm licensure is not required at the state level in Illinois. For more information, you can contact the Illinois State Board of Architects, Landscape Architects & Interior Designers.

Register for the Architect Registration Examination

Securing an architect’s license in Illinois opens up a world of opportunities to practice architecture in the state. The journey commences with the pursuit of a professional degree in architecture, a fundamental requirement in your quest to become a licensed architect. This degree is not just a piece of paper, but a testament to your knowledge and comprehension of architectural principles, a rite of passage that equips you with the tools to craft and shape the built environment.

Remember, it’s important that your architecture degree is obtained from a program accredited by a recognized body such as the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). This accreditation assures that the program meets the industry’s standards and provides the necessary skills and training.

Architect registration in Illinois is a crucial step that formalizes your standing in the industry. This process includes satisfying the state’s requirements and passing the relevant examinations. With this license, you will have the legal authority to practice architecture, offering your expertise to develop the Illinois landscape. Now that you are armed with this information, you’re one step closer to realizing your architectural aspirations.

Disclaimer: These requirements are subject to change based on approval board discretion. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Website.

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