Pennsylvania Architect License Exam

How to Get Your Pennsylvania Architect License

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

To acquire an architecture license in Pennsylvania, you need to meet several criteria. Start by securing a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). This may entail earning a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch), typically a five-year program, or a Master of Architecture (M.Arch), usually a two-year program.

Post-academic qualification, you are required to gather practical experience through an internship or an apprenticeship. The Pennsylvania State Board of Architects mandates completion of at least 3,740 hours of work experience under the guidance of a licensed architect.

Upon successful completion of the ARE, you can apply for a license with the Pennsylvania State Board of Architects. The application process involves submission of an application, payment of the prescribed fee, and provision of documentation affirming your educational qualifications, work experience, and exam scores. Additionally, a state-specific exam focused on Pennsylvania’s architectural laws and regulations must also be cleared.

Once your architecture license is granted in Pennsylvania, it must be renewed every two years. This involves fulfilling continuing education requirements to maintain the license, typically by completing a set number of professional development course hours or participating in relevant conferences and seminars.

How Do I Take The Architect Registration Examination In Pennsylvania?

Company Licenses

Pennsylvania Firm Registration

  • Agency: Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board
  • Law: OAR § 806-010-0080
  • Eligible Entity Types:
  • Business Corporations
  • Professional Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships
  • Ownership Requirements:

Business Corporations:

  • A minimum of 2/3 of the directors must hold a license to practice architecture, engineering, or landscape architecture in any state.
  • At least 1/3 of the directors must hold a license to practice architecture in any state.
  • There should be at least one director who is a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.
  • A minimum of 2/3 of all classes of voting stock, at any given time, should be owned by architects, engineers, or landscape architects.
  • At least 1/3 of each class of voting stock, at any given time, must be owned by individuals holding an architecture license in any state.

Professional Corporations:

  • Each shareholder must hold a license to practice architecture, engineering, or landscape architecture in any state.
  • At least one shareholder must be a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.

Limited Liability Companies:

  • A minimum of 2/3 of the members (if managed by members) or managers (if managed by managers) must hold a license to practice architecture, engineering, or landscape architecture in any state.
  • At least 1/3 of the members (if managed by members) or managers (if managed by managers) must hold a license to practice architecture in any state.
  • There should be at least one member or manager who is a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.
  • At least 2/3 of all classes of voting membership, at any given time, must be owned by individuals licensed to practice architecture, engineering, or landscape architecture in any state.
  • At least 1/3 of all classes of voting membership, at any given time, must be owned by individuals holding an architecture license in any state.

Partnerships:

  • A minimum of 2/3 of the partners must hold a license to practice architecture, engineering, or landscape architecture in any state.
  • At least 1/3 of the partners must hold a license to practice architecture in any state.
  • There should be at least one partner who is a licensee of the Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board.

NOTE: For architectural practice entities with fewer than three partners, governors, shareholders, directors, members, or managers, there must be at least one individual duly certified to practice architecture in Pennsylvania.

  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

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

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $50
  • Note:

Criminal Records Information

As of now, Pennsylvania Criminal History Checks aren’t being automatically processed with the application. For those living, working, or training in Pennsylvania, you need to get a Pennsylvania background check directly from the Pennsylvania State Police at https://epatch.pa.gov. Select “Pennsylvania (Already have one)” on the application and upload a copy of the completed background check.

For every state you’ve lived, worked, or completed professional training/studies in the past five years, provide a recent Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) from the respective state police or relevant state agency. The reports must be dated within 180 days of your application submission.

For those in Pennsylvania, request your CHRC from the Pennsylvania State Police at https://epatch.state.pa.us. If you were living, working, or training outside of Pennsylvania in the past five years, instead of individual state background checks, you can provide BOTH a state CHRC from your current state of residence AND your FBI Identity History Summary Check, available at https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks.

Note: For those in California, Arizona, or Ohio, due to specific state laws, the Board cannot receive CHRCs directly or they won’t be issued for upload to the Board. Please obtain your Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Identity History Summary Check using the link provided above.

Naming Approvals

Upon receiving the Board’s approval letter for the firm name or fictitious name, submit a copy to the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau with your Corporation Bureau filing application. Registration can’t be issued by the Board until the approved documents are submitted from the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau. Once the Corporation Bureau registers the firm, they will issue documents to the applicant. Submit a copy of the Corporation Bureau approval documents to the Board to register the firm with them. For questions about entity filings, reach out to the Corporation Bureau, Department of State, Harrisburg, PA 17120, (717) 787-1057.

Fictitious Name/ DBA

After receiving the approval letter for the firm name or fictitious name, submit a copy to the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau with your Corporation Bureau filing application. The Board cannot issue a registration until the approved documents from the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau are submitted. After registering the firm, the Corporation Bureau will issue documents to the applicant. Provide a copy of the Corporation Bureau approval documents to the Board for firm registration with the Board. For any queries regarding entity filings, contact the Corporation Bureau, Department of State, Harrisburg, PA 17120, (717) 787-1057.

Before Applying, Take In Consideration:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. Prepare a copy of your proposed company letterhead displaying the full firm name, including the corporate designator, fictitious name (if applicable), names of the principals, and their respective credentials. This should be permanently imprinted and include the word “architect” or a related term as part of the business name or as a subtitle.
  2. After receiving the firm or fictitious name approval letter from the Board, submit a copy to the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau with your Corporation Bureau filing application. The Board cannot issue a registration until approved documents from the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau are submitted. Once the firm is registered, the Corporation Bureau will issue documents to you. Submit a copy of these to the Board for registration.
  3. Obtain a recent Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) from the official state agency for every state in which you’ve lived, worked, or studied in the past five years. The report(s) should be dated within 90 days of the application submission date.
  4. Create or access a PALS account to begin filing.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Like domestic applicants, foreign applicants need to prepare a company letterhead, submit a copy of the approval letter to the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau, and obtain a recent CHRC.
  2. Additionally, foreign applicants need to submit a letter of good standing from the relevant state’s board of architects demonstrating that the out-of-state licensed professionals listed on the application have active licenses in their home state.
  3. As with domestic applicants, a PALS account must be created or accessed to begin filing.

How to apply:

Domestic and foreign applicants have similar application processes. They must submit an architecture firm license application online via the PALS system, register their business entity and fictitious name(s) with the Pennsylvania Department of State, and submit a copy of the approved entity formation documents to the Architects Licensure Board. Foreign applicants also need to submit letters of good standing for each individual owner’s architect license.

Must-have Attachments

  • For corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies, both domestic and foreign, provide a photocopy of the approved articles of incorporation, foreign registration statement, or certificate of registration, and if using a fictitious name, also include a photocopy of the approved fictitious name registration. The company or partnership’s name must specifically appear on the fictitious name registration.
  • After receiving the firm or fictitious name approval letter from the Board, submit a copy to the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau with your filing application. The Board can’t issue a registration until the approved documents are submitted from the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau. Once registered, the Corporation Bureau will issue documents to you, which should be submitted to the Board for firm registration.
  • Provide a copy of the proposed letterhead, displaying the full firm name, principals’ names and credentials, and the word “architect” or related term.
  • For professionals licensed out-of-state, provide certification of licensure/registration from the state or jurisdiction where the individual is licensed. This must be sent directly to the Board Office.

Registration Renewal

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

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $100
  • Due:  Licenses should be renewed by June 30 of odd-numbered years. Usually, you can file for renewals 30-60 days prior to the expiration date..
  • Note: The Board sends out renewal notices via email roughly two months before the license’s expiration date.

Must-have Attachments

  • A list of directors, officers, managers, or members of the firm.
  • For Professional Corporations (PCs), a list of holders of voting stock or voting interest.

Amendment

Reinstatement

  • Agency Fee: $50
  • Note: A reactivation form must be requested via email or by calling the board.

Individual Licenses

Pennsylvania Architect License

  • Agency: Pennsylvania Architects Licensure Board
  • 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

In order to apply, candidates are required to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $40 for candidates who hold a NAAB accredited degree and $70 for candidates that do not hold a NAAB accredited degree.

Reciprocal Registration

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $30 if the applicant has an NCARB Certification and $50 if the applicant does not have an NCARB Certification.

Registration Renewal

  • Submission method: online.
  • Agency Fee: $100
  • Due: By June 30 of odd-numbered years.

Pennsylvania Landscape Architect License

  • Agency: Pennsylvania 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: The application fee is $60 for most applicants. However, for individuals who have not graduated from an institution or college approved by the Board, but who have at least eight years of practical experience in landscape architectural work that the Board considers satisfactory, the application fee is $350.

Reciprocal Registration

  • Submission method: online
  • Agency Fee: $45

Registration Renewal

  • Submission method: online.
  • Agency Fee: $194
  • Due: By May 31 of odd-numered years.

Non-State Level Architecture Firm Licenses in Pennsylvania

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

Pennsylvania Interior Design Firm License

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

Pennsylvania Landscape Architecture Firm License

Obtaining a license for a Landscape Architecture Firm is not mandated at the state level in Pennsylvania.

For further details, refer to the Pennsylvania Board of Landscape Architects.

Pennsylvania Interior Designer License

Interior Designer licensure is not required on the State level in Pennsylvania.

Register for the Architect Registration Examination

Securing an architect’s license in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania Department of State.

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