North Carolina Architect License Exam

How to Get Your North Carolina Architect License

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On this page, you’ll find an exhaustive guide on the North Carolina Architect License Requirements and the Architect Registration process in North Carolina. 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 North Carolina?

To attain architectural licensure in North Carolina, you’ll first need to earn a professional degree in architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). This usually involves a five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) or a two-year Master of Architecture (M.Arch) program. After your academic studies, a mandatory practical internship or apprenticeship program, spanning 3,740 hours, is required and should be supervised and documented by a licensed architect.

Next, you need to pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), a six-part exam administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), covering areas such as building systems, construction documents, and site planning. It’s important to pass all six divisions within five years.

After successfully completing the ARE, you can apply for licensure with the North Carolina Board of Architecture. The process involves submission of an application, payment of a fee, and provision of proof of your education, experience, and exam results. Passing a state-specific exam focusing on North Carolina’s architecture-related laws and regulations is also required.


Upon completion of these steps, you receive a license to practice architecture in North Carolina. Bear in mind, the license needs renewal every two years, and fulfilling continuing education requirements is necessary for maintaining your license.

How Do I Take The Architect Registration Examination In North Carolina?

Company Licenses

North Carolina Certificate of Registration

  • Agency: North Carolina Board of Architecture and Registered Interior Designers
  • Law: NC G.S. § 83A-8
  • Eligible Entity Types:
  • Professional Corporations
  • Professional Limited Liability Companies
  • Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Ownership Requirements:

Professional Corporations:

  • At least 2/3 of ownership shares must belong to licensed design professionals.
  • There must be at least one officer and director licensed as architects in North Carolina.
  • All owners must be natural persons.

Professional Limited Liability Companies:

  • At least 2/3 of the owners need to be licensed design professionals.
  • There must be at least one member and manager licensed as architects in North Carolina.
  • The firm name must contain “Professional LLC” or “PLLC” or “P.L.L.C.”. If the firm’s home state name doesn’t have a professional designation, it must use a “doing business as” (d/b/a) name.
  • All owners must be natural persons.

Domestic Limited Liability Partnerships:

  • All partners must hold a North Carolina-issued architect license.
  • All partners must be natural persons.

Foreign Limited Liability Partnerships:

  • At least one partner must hold a North Carolina-issued architect license.
  • All partners must be natural persons.
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Yes

First-Time Applicants

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

Before Applying, Take In Consideration:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. Verify that your business entity fulfills the ownership requirements for the type of firm you’re establishing (Professional Corporation, Professional LLC, Domestic LLP).

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Ensure that your North Carolina entity meets the state’s ownership requirements.
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from the home state of your business entity. This must be filed during the foreign qualification process, and the certificate must not be more than 6 months old at the time of filing.

How to apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. Submit the Part 1 firm licensure application and entity formation documents to the North Carolina Board of Architecture.
  2. Upon approval, you’ll receive a certification from the Board. File this certification and the entity formation documents with the North Carolina Secretary of State – Business Registration Division.
  3. Provide proof of entity formation to the North Carolina Board of Architecture.
  4. Complete the Part 2 firm licensure application.
  5. Submit the approved Secretary of State paperwork to the Board of Architecture. Your firm license will then be issued.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Submit the firm licensure application and entity formation documents to the North Carolina Board of Architecture.
  2. Once approved, you’ll receive a certification from the Board. File this certification and foreign qualification documents with the North Carolina Secretary of State – Business Registration Division.
  3. Provide proof of foreign qualification to the North Carolina Board of Architecture.

Must-have Attachments

  • A copy of the Articles of Incorporation/Organization and any amendments thereto as filed in the firm’s home state (if foreign).
  • A list of officers, managers, directors, or partners of the entity, including their addresses and license numbers.
  • A list of shareholders, members/owners, or partners of the entity, including their addresses and percentage of ownership.
  • A list of all other employees of the firm who hold a license to practice architecture in any U.S. jurisdiction and are not already listed on the application.

Registration Renewal

This section pertains to architectural firms that are currently licensed in North Carolina and are in the process of renewing their license.

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $100
  • Due: Annually by December 31. Renewals may be filed as early as November 1.
  • Note: In North Carolina, architecture firms receive renewal notices each year in November, which are delivered via email.

Must-have Attachments

  • During the firm licensure process, any disciplinary actions against North Carolina licensees must be disclosed.

Amendment

To change the firm’s name:

To change the firm’s address:

Reinstatement

Individual Licenses

North Carolina Architect License

  • Agency: North Carolina Board of Architecture and Registered Interior Designers
  • 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

  • Agency Fee: $50

How to apply:

To become eligible to take the licensure exam in North Carolina, you must first reach out to NCARB directly. You’ll need to have a degree from a NAAB-accredited program and an active NCARB record to qualify for the exam in North Carolina. Once your eligibility is confirmed, NCARB will send your scores directly to you.

After fulfilling all North Carolina’s licensure requirements, instruct NCARB to send your completed AXP record to the North Carolina Board of Architecture & Registered Interior Designers for review. The Board also recognizes candidates through the NCARB Approved IPAL program.

Once they receive your completed NCARB AXP, the Board of Architecture will provide you with further instructions.

Reciprocal Registration

  • Fill out the Application for Licensure by Reciprocity with NCARB Certificate. Consider that the filing method is via mail or Online.
  • Agency Fee: $150
  • Note: For licensure via reciprocity in North Carolina, you must possess an NCARB certificate and hold a current license in another state. It’s crucial that you contact NCARB and request them to send a copy of your certified record to the North Carolina Board of Architecture.

How to Apply:

  1. If you have an NCARB record, you can apply for a Reciprocal License online and have your record transmitted to the board by NCARB.
  2. If you don’t have an NCARB record, you will need to provide supporting documents for a Reciprocal License application. This includes submitting official grade transcripts from the college(s) you attended, three letters of character reference, and verification of licensure in another jurisdiction. After gathering these documents, you can apply for a Reciprocal License online.

Registration Renewal

  • Submission method: online.
  • Agency Fee: $50
  • Due: Annually by June 30.

North Carolina Interior Design Firm Registration

  • Agency: North Carolina Board of Architecture and Registered Interior Designers
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Yes
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

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

Must-have Attachments

Provide a copy of the firm’s articles of incorporation or Certificate of Authority, as registered with the North Carolina Secretary of State, or the most recent Annual Report. Also, submit a list of all Registered Interior Designers working for the firm, with their titles and North Carolina Registered Interior Designer numbers.

Registration Renewal

This section pertains to architectural firms that are currently licensed in North Carolina and are in the process of renewing their license.

North Carolina Landscape Architecture Organization Certificate of Registration

  • Agency: North Carolina Board of Landscape Architects
  • 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

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

Registration Renewal

  • Submission method: online.
  • Agency Fee: $250
  • Due: Annually by June 30.

North Carolina Interior Designer Registration

  • Agency: North Carolina Board of Architecture and Registered Interior Designers
  • 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

Registration Renewal

North Carolina Landscape Architect License

  • Agency: North Carolina Board of Landscape Architects
  • 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

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $100
  • Notarize is not required

Reciprocal Registration

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $100

How to Apply:

  1. Fill out the Individual Application for License through Certemy and submit it to the Board.
  2. Pay the $100 application fee using check, MasterCard or Visa.
  3. If you have a CLARB Council Record, contact CLARB and request them to send your record to the NC Board.

If you don’t have a CLARB Council Record:

  1. Along with your application, have three Confidential Reference Forms submitted to the Board through Certemy. At least one reference must be from a licensed landscape architect familiar with your work, but not necessarily licensed in NC.
  2. Have Employer Verification Forms from all past and present employers in related fields submitted to the Board through Certemy.

Registration Renewal

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $100
  • Due: Annually by June 30.

Non-State Level Architecture Firm Licenses in North Carolina

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

North Carolina Interior Design Firm License

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

Register for the Architect Registration Examination

Securing an architect’s license in North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina Board of Landscape Architects.

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