Message - Re: EESA foreign architect

    Responses | Architecture Forum | Architecture Students | Architecture Scrapbook | ArchitectureWeek    

Posted by  jc on December 13, 2003 at 18:04:30:

In Reply to:  EESA foreign architect posted by Charles Almonte on October 29, 2003 at 10:13:51:

this comments may help you. please let me know if you got any feedback from EESA.

This article was featured in the May16 , 2003 issue of the Building Design. A copy of the analysis can be obtained at

Architect's Registration: the US way?
Chinese Architects can't use Chinese and UK Architects need a degree in Zoology!

Mutual recognition of architectural licensure standards (reciprocity) between the US and UK was abandoned in 1990 by the NCARB (the US National Council of Architectural Registration Boards). As a result, Architects have to go through the registration process twice if they want to practice in the US and the UK. In the UK, registration is the responsibility of the ARB (Architects Registration Board). For each country the registration process varies in detail but broadly consists of the three parts - Five years education, two to three years of practical experience and a final architectural exam.

Architectural Education Requirements

In the US, NCARB require 160 semester hours, the equivalent of five year's full time education of an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree. At least ﺱ1 years ( 40credits) must be general education such as English, mathematics, social studies and natural sciences such as zoology, biology or botany. Only three years full time architectural education is required to satisfy NCARB's education standard as up to two years can be general education.

However, NCARB require that all registration applicants must complete the ﺱ1 years of general education. Despite UK candidates having an additional year of secondary school education compared to the US, none of this education is acceptable to NCARB. Five years of UK architectural training is considered too specialized by NCARB for their architectural education standard. The UK Architect must therefore have another degree in English, mathematics, social studies, zoology, biology or botany etc. to satisfy the NCARB Education Standard despite having two more years of architectural training.

In the UK, ARB, require the equivalent of five years full time architectural education again of an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree. General education is not accepted for UK Architects, although the ARB will accept the US five years of mixed general and architectural education as satisfying the UK education standard of five years full time architectural education for US Architects.

Therefore UK Architects' higher standard of architectural education is rejected as too specialized by NCARB because it does not satisfy the lower US architectural and general education standards. A first degree in zoology is fine but a first degree in architecture is no good according to NCARB Education Standard if you want to be an Architect in the US.

The actual education evaluation process can take between one year and in excess of five years dependant on the individual education and treatment by the evaluators. In addition the education evaluation is not accepted by all states.

Practical Training

In the US, three years experience under the direction of a licensed Architect, (usually as part of the Intern-Architect Development Program (IDP)), is required to satisfy Architect licensing. Only one year of experience can be in another country. Therefore an UK Architect, qualified ten years for example, has to work two years as an intern to satisfy the licensing requirements in the US. That is of course, after they have completed their zoology degree.

In the UK three years are typically required to satisfy the practical experience but for broadly qualified US Architects two years experience would suffice with only one years experience in the UK. And the US Architect usually doesn't need to take any further architectural education.

Final Architectural Exam

In the US after five years architectural and general education and three years practical experience the final Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) is taken consisting of nine architectural examination. The examination retest subjects and materials previously covered in their architectural courses.

In the UK after five years architectural training and between two and three years practical experience the final architectural exam, (the RIBA Examination in Architecture Part3 ), is taken consisting of a one day exam, case study and an oral professional interview.

Both UK and US Architects are given no exemption from the each other's final architectural exam.

The Cost of Registration

Cost Comparison ($) Between US and UK
Item Cost in US Cost in UK
Application 230 -
Evaluation 805 560
General Education 11,000 -
Exam Preparation 1,440 300
Final Exam Fees 978 525
Total Costs 14,453 1,385
For UK Architect wanting to practice in the US the basic minimum costs for a council record is $230, EESA-NCARB education evaluation $ 805and ARE exam $978. Due to the general education requirements, potential additional education costs will be $11, 000(for 40 credits of general education at a state college) and final exam preparation of $ 1440bringing the total cost to neary $14,500. This excludes the potential loss of $50,000+ salary while the UK architects attends full time learning a 'general education' for over a year.

How does the US architect fair? Application to ARB for an evaluation and registration is $ 560( 375GBP), final examination $ 525( 350GBP) and exam preparation $ 300( 200GBP) bringing the total cost to $ 1385( 925GBP) compared to neary $14, 500for an UK candidate.

Without taking in to account the additional time required, UK architects will pay at least of ten times more to become registered in the US.


To register in the UK, a US Architect only needs one-year work experience, sit a one-day exam and pay about $1,400. They then can practice in the 16 countries of the European Union. For the better architectural educated UK Architect, registration in the US requires a long process of education evaluation, two years work experience, nine exams and can cost over $14,000. And don't forget the time taken to get that essential zoology degree.

International Perspective

Recently there have been discussions between NCARB and the Architects Council of Europe (ACE) to reinstate some form of reciprocity between the UK (including Europe) and the US. Whatever is agreed by NCARB will require individual approval by all 54 jurisdictions and states. Currently the NCARB's system of reciprocity within the US is not accepted by all states. The largest states, California and Florida, do not even accept NCARB certified US architects without further training or education requirements. It is therefore highly unlikely that any agreement agreed will provide full reciprocity across the entire US.

NCARB does have a reciprocity agreement with Canada and another country - the People's Republic of China. How did they come to such an historic and mutual agreement? Well the Architect in China must sit the US based final architectural exam, the ARE, and the Chinese can't take the exam in Chinese but in English. Chinese speaking Architects from China need not apply. - that's reciprocity - the NCARB way.

2001 - 2003 stephen stenson

ArchitectureWeek     Buildings     Architects     Types & Styles     Search
Library     Places     Building Photos     Free 3D Models     Archiplanet

Architecture Search   by name of Building, Architect, or Place:
Examples:  "Fallingwater",  "Wright",  "Paris"
Advanced Search

Post a Response -


This is an archive page. Please post continuing discussion to the new Architecture Forums.

To post successfully to the new membership-based DesignCommunity Forums:

    1) Go to the new forums area.
    2) Register with a valid email address.
    3) Receive and respond to the confirmation email.
    4) Then login to the new forum system.

Architecture Forum | Students Forum | ArchitectureWeek Scrapbook | Home Design | 3D Gallery

Special thanks to our Sustaining Subscribers including .

Home | Great Buildings | CAD Outpost | DesignWorkshop | Free 3D | Gallery | Search | ArchitectureWeek
This document is provided for on-line viewing only.