Education Requirements

Professional Licensure and Compliance

California Architects Board CAB administers the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) and oversees all aspects of licensing.  For more information on the CAB, requirements for licensing, or to verify a licensed architect, visit


Architect Registration Exam (ARE)

The ARE, developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), is the national computerized architectural licensing examination that consists of multiple divisions. The ARE examines candidates’ knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required in the design and construction of buildings.


AIA Continuing Education System Requirements

Active AIA members must successfully complete 18 learning unit (LU) hours each year, with at least 12 LU hours relating to Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) of which 4 LU hours relate to Sustainable Design (SD). HSW is a subset of the total required learning units, and SD must be a subset of HSW. Four of the total hours must be in a sustainable design topics. Qualifying SD courses must also meet the HSW requirements.


Calculating Your AIA Credits

Members must complete 18 LUs each year: 6 LUs + 8 HSW + 4 HSW/SD

Go to AIA’s Education website for more information


A member who fails to meet the annual requirement will be given a nine month grace period. Any credit earned in the following year will apply toward the deficit. During the grace period, members are able to report retroactively any activities that were completed in the previous year.


A member who exceeds the annual requirement may carry up to 18 LU hours (including eight hours of HSW) over to the next year. Carryover credit can be used for one year only; it is not cumulative. Only the number of credits needed to fulfill the annual requirement for the following year may be carried over. Extra credit may not be carried past the one-year limit.


Getting Your AIA Credits

When you see the AIA/CES logo advertised in conjunction with our educational seminars, workshops, and conferences you’ll know the specific program has been registered through the AIA CES system. If a program is registered, this means that all members who register and attend will have their time recorded for credit by the provider (eg. AIA Santa Clara Valley). Make sure you bring your AIA member number so that the provider can report your credit accurately.



All AIA members have the option of self-reporting independent activities or research for CES credits. The program must be educational in nature and related to new knowledge aligned to their practice of architecture.

To be eligible for credit, all self-reported activities must be planned educational activities that provide you with new knowledge that can be applied toward the practice of architecture. Members should complete the AIA/CES Self-Report Form and submit it to AIA/CES Records.


Be sure to specify which type of learning activity you are reporting so the data can be entered accurately into your transcript. The title should be indicative of the program content. Members calculate LU hours for self-reported activities by reporting the number of hours spent in architecture-related learning. Think in terms of billable hours applied to learning.


Log on to your AIA/CES Account through National to look up transcripts self-report credit. All you need is your AIA number and you will be directed to a site to view your transcript online, fill out your online self-report form, and many other AIA CES options.