Practice Resources Emerging Professionals 

Welcome! You are likely here because you are relatively new to this chosen field of architecture and are in the early stages of your career development. This is a time to ask a lot questions, find mentors you can lean on, and tools you can rely on.

AIA Colorado is an organization rich with thousands of members both past and present who have encountered and conquered many of the questions and situations that you’ll soon face. We’ll always do our best to provide you the resources and connections you need and this page is a start.

Use this page as an FAQ resource to find questions and uncover answers and suggestions as you roll up your sleeves and dive into this early stage of your career. Let’s go.

Starting Your Architectural Education
Gain Architectural Experience Program (AXP) hours
Joining AIA
Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®)

AIA Emerging Professionals |

Start your architecture education

What are the benefits of an architecture education? 

An architectural education offers multifaceted benefits, including fostering creativity and design skills, developing technical knowledge in architectural principles and construction techniques, and cultivating critical thinking and communication abilities essential for problem-solving. Through the exploration of cultural and historical aspects of architecture, students gain an understanding of diverse architectural styles and traditions, while also learning about sustainability and environmental awareness in design practices. Graduates are prepared for professional development, with eligibility for licensure as architects and access to diverse career opportunities in architecture firms, construction, government, and academia. Ultimately, pursuing architecture not only provides personal fulfillment through creative expression but also equips individuals with a versatile skill set applicable across various fields. 

What is a professional degree?
A “professional degree” in architecture pertains to degrees that meet the educational criteria for obtaining licensure as an architect in North America. To qualify for licensure, most state and provincial registration boards require graduation from a program accredited by either the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) in the United States or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) in Canada. Becoming an Architect is still possible without one of these degrees. This involves undergoing the Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) program, where the NAAB evaluates your current education to determine if it aligns with accredited degree requirements. If deficiencies are found, you may need to undertake additional courses to fulfill the criteria. is where you can find resources and information for studying architecture. Their website offers guidance on various aspects of architectural education, including how to choose a school, understand different degree programs, and navigate the application process. It also provides insights into the field of architecture, career paths, and opportunities available to graduates. Ultimately, this is a great resource to help prospective students make informed decisions about their education and future careers in architecture. 

What is the difference between a BA/BS in Architecture and a Bachelor of Architecture? 

A BA/BS in Architecture typically a 4-year degree provides a broad foundation in architectural studies within a liberal arts or science curriculum. It may cover fundamental principles of architecture, history, theory, and design, but it often includes a wider range of elective courses and may not fulfill the professional accreditation requirements necessary for licensure as an architect if not paired with a 2-year Master of Architecture (MArch) degree.

A Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) is a 5-year professional degree program specifically designed to meet the educational requirements for licensure as an architect. It typically involves a more focused curriculum centered on architecture and design studios, technical courses, and professional practice studies. BArch programs often require a higher number of credit hours dedicated to architectural coursework, including studio work, and are accredited by organizations like the NAAB in the United States. 

Do I need Master of Architecture? 

No, but you likely will not be able to get a license to practice independently if you do not have a BArch. Having completed the first part of a 4+2 program is often reasonable preparation for an entry-level job in a firm. However, long-term success in architectural practice may be limited by not having a professional degree (NAAB or CACB), which is required by most states for a license. Furthermore, NCARB standards for reciprocity across state borders require a NAAB degree. 

Where can I find scholarships to pay for my education? 


What is AIAS
The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing leadership, design, and service among architecture students. Membership in AIAS offers students opportunities to connect with peers, professionals, and faculty members in the architecture community, participate in workshops and conferences for skill development, and access resources such as publications, job boards, and scholarships. AIAS also advocates for the interests of architecture students on local and national levels, promoting diversity, educational reforms, and awareness of relevant issues within the profession. Joining AIAS can significantly enhance students’ academic and professional journey in architecture by providing a supportive platform for growth, networking, and access to valuable resources. Visit the AIAS Chapters page to see if your school has an AIAS chapter.

What is NOMA?
The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) is a non-profit organization committed to supporting minority students in architecture. Membership in NOMAS provides opportunities for networking, professional development, and advocacy within the architecture community. The organization aims to foster diversity and inclusion within the profession through initiatives such as mentorship programs, educational resources, and advocacy for underrepresented groups. Joining NOMAS offers minority architecture students a supportive platform to connect with peers, access resources, and promote positive change within the field. Visit the NOMAS Chapters page to see if your school has a NOMAS chapter.

Gain Architectural Experience Program (AXP) Hours

What is NCARB? 

NCARB stands for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the organization in the United States responsible for the regulation of the architectural profession. NCARB facilitates the licensure and credentialing of architects through various services, including the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), and the Certificate Portfolio process. Additionally, NCARB works to establish and promote standards for architectural education, experience, and examination across the country. 

How do I get AXP hours?
This page provides detailed information and guidance on the steps involved in establishing an NCARB record, which is a crucial component of the licensure process for architects. It includes instructions on creating an NCARB Record, documentation requirements, explanations of the benefits of having an NCARB record, resources and tools to assist individuals in navigating this process efficiently and effectively.
The AXP is a program designed to provide aspiring architects with practical training and experience in various areas of architecture, essential for licensure. This page offers comprehensive information about the AXP, including eligibility requirements, the process of completing experience hours, the categories of experience required, and guidelines for documenting and reporting experience. 

Where do I find a job?
The AIA Colorado job board is an online platform where architectural firms and professionals can post job listings and search for employment opportunities within the architecture industry. It serves as a centralized hub for connecting job seekers with firms looking to hire architects, designers, engineers, and other professionals involved in the built environment. The AIA job board typically features a wide range of positions, including internships, entry-level roles, mid-career positions, and senior-level positions, across various specialties within architecture. 

What salary can I expect?
To better understand what salary you can expect based on your education, experience level, and licensure status, consult the AIA Salary Calculator. This tool is built off of data from the AIA Compensation Report, a comprehensive survey and analysis conducted by the AIA to provide insights into compensation trends within the architecture industry. 

Join the AIA

Why should I join the AIA?
Joining the AIA offers architects a range of benefits, including access to professional development opportunities such as workshops and seminars. Through AIA membership, architects can expand their networks, engage in advocacy efforts, and gain recognition through awards and certifications. Members also have access to valuable resources and tools to support their architectural practice, along with career support and community engagement opportunities. Overall, AIA membership provides architects with the support and resources they need to excel in their careers and contribute to the profession. 

What’s the cost to join the AIA? 

The cost to join AIA varies depending on factors such as membership category, geographic location, and professional status. Generally, annual membership fees range from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars. Student memberships tend to be more affordable, while licensed architects and other professionals typically pay higher fees. Follow this link to learn more. 

I’m already a member. How do I get connected? 

Visit our calendar or RSVP for an upcoming event and attend events, discussions, webinars, and tours with AIA member architects. Another great way to connect is to join a committee. Every November, we put out a call for volunteers to serve on a variety of committees all working to make the lives of architects of Coloradans better. The AIA Colorado newsletter is the heartbeat of the happenings within the community and all events and opportunities are shared there, so keep an out for the twice-monthly publication delivered to your inbox!

What is NOMA?
The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) is a professional organization dedicated to advocating for diversity and inclusion within the architecture profession. NOMA aims to empower minority architects, designers, and allied professionals by providing support, resources, and opportunities for networking and professional development. The organization promotes equity in the built environment and works to address issues of social justice, racial equality, and community engagement. Through its chapters across the United States, NOMA fosters a supportive community and advocates for increased representation of minorities in architecture and related fields. 

Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®)

When can I take the AREs?
In order to be eligible to sit for the AREs there are educational prerequisites, such as completing a degree from a program accredited by the NAAB, as well as requirements related to practical experience through the AXP. Licensure candidates will have to follow the process of applying for exam eligibility, including steps to verify qualifications and register for the exam. Visit the Exam Eligibility page on NCARB for more information. 

What do the AREs cover?
The ARE 5.0 Guidelines serves as a comprehensive guide for candidates preparing to take the AREs. It includes information about the structure and format of the ARE 5.0 exam, including the number of divisions, types of questions, and scoring criteria. It also provides guidance on exam preparation strategies, recommended study resources, and test-taking tips. Overall, the ARE 5.0 Guidelines document is a valuable resource for individuals preparing to pursue licensure as architects, providing detailed information and guidance to help candidates navigate the exam process effectively. 

Are there recommended study materials?
This page provides a variety of study materials and resources to support candidates in their exam preparation efforts. These resources include study guides, practice exams, reference materials, and other tools designed to help candidates review and reinforce their knowledge of key exam topics. Additionally, the page offers guidance on developing an effective study plan, managing exam anxiety, and maximizing study efficiency.
NCARB provides free practice exams, which are designed to simulate the format, content, and experience of the actual ARE. These practice exams allow candidates to familiarize themselves with the types of questions they will encounter on the exam and assess their readiness for the real test.
This page offers a variety of resources and guidance to support candidates in their exam preparation efforts. These resources include study guides, reference materials, practice exams, and other tools designed to help candidates review and reinforce their knowledge of key exam topics. Additionally, the page provides information about study strategies, time management 

techniques, and tips for navigating the exam process. It also offers insights from experienced architects and licensure candidates who have successfully completed the ARE.
DeskCrits is a comprehensive study guide aimed at redefining preparation for the ARE. Written by two Yale School of Architecture Graduates and recently licensed architects, the DeskCrits Guidebook is a no-nonsense guide to taking the ARE written as if you were being given advice from a friend. The Guidebook includes exam outlines for every test including reading lists with specific pages to study from outside sources and study sheets of curated notes on 26 key topics you need to know for the ARE.
Young Architect is a platform dedicated to providing resources, guidance, and support for individuals pursuing a career in architecture. Young Architect is known for its focus on helping aspiring architects navigate the complexities of architectural education, licensure, and career development.

Young Architect offers a variety of resources, including articles, blog posts, podcasts, webinars, and courses, covering topics such as architectural education, licensure exams, gaining practical experience, career advancement, entrepreneurship, and personal development.

Young Architect also provides study materials, study guides, and coaching services specifically tailored to assist individuals preparing for the ARE and other licensure exams.

Overall, Young Architect serves as a valuable resource and community hub for emerging professionals in the architecture field, offering practical advice, support, and inspiration to help them succeed in their career pursuits.
AmberBook is an online platform offering study materials and resources for architecture students and professionalism focused on preparing for the ARE.

AmberBook offers comprehensive study guides, video lectures, practice exams, flashcards, and other tools designed to help candidates review and reinforce their knowledge of key exam topics. These resources are structured to cover all divisions of the ARE exam, providing candidates with a comprehensive study plan to effectively prepare for each section.

In addition to study materials, AmberBook provides guidance on exam preparation strategies, time management techniques, and tips for success on exam day. The platform also offers interactive features, such as discussion forums and study groups, where candidates can connect with peers, share insights, and support one another in their exam preparation journey. is a website of practice questions covering various topics and divisions of the ARE exam. These practice questions are designed to help candidates assess their knowledge, familiarize themselves with the types of questions they may encounter on the exam, and identify areas where they may need further study.
The link leads to the website of Building Science Fight Club, a platform dedicated to exploring and discussing topics related to building science, architecture, and construction.

Building Science Fight Club offers resources such as articles, blog posts, videos, and podcasts covering a wide range of subjects within the realm of building science. These topics could include building materials, energy efficiency, moisture management, indoor air quality, sustainability, and resilience in construction. 

How long does it typically take to study and pass the AREs?
See the state of licensure, including both national and jurisdictional averages for how long it takes for individuals to complete AXP and AREs. 

Studying is exhausting. Is there a support community to walk through this with?
Join the ARE Study Group, organized by the J.E.D.I. Committee! Visit this page to sign up for Google Sheet with test takers’ names, contact information, the exam they’re studying for, the exams they’ve passed, and their location. People can then find others in their area who are studying for the same exam as them – to study together, share resources, share study and testing tips, and much more.
NCARB’s ARE 5.0 Community serves as an online platform where candidates preparing for the ARE can connect, collaborate, and access resources to support their exam preparation. The community features discussion forums where candidates can ask questions, share study tips, and engage with peers who are also preparing for the exam.

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Practice Resource: Emerging Professionals

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