California Architect FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about California architect licensing and continuing education

California Architect Renewal

License Renewal Deadline: Last day of licensee’s birth month

Renewal Cycle: Biennial (odd-numbered years)

State Required Continuing Education: 10 hrs

AIA Membership Continuing Education: 18 hrs annually, including 12 HSW

See California AIA Courses

Renewing Your License:

How do I renew my California architect license?

  1. Complete required continuing education coursework
  2. Complete an Architect License Renewal Application
  3. Pay the $300 license renewal fee
  4. Mail the signed original Renewal Application and fee to the Board with a postmark on or before the license expiration date

What are the California continuing education requirements for architects?

California architects must complete 10 hours of coursework every two years (deadline is every odd-numbered year). 5 hours must be on zero net carbon design. The remaining 5 hours must be on subjects relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and state laws that govern access to public facilities, and federal and state regulations adopted pursuant to those laws.

I have extra California architect continuing education hours, can I apply them to the next renewal cycle?

No, learning units must be completed in their respective cycle.

Who notifies California of my completed architect continuing education?

California does not require architects submit documentation of completed courses except in the event of an audit. However, licensees must certify on their renewal application that their required coursework has been completed. Architects must maintain continuing education records for 2 years and furnished to the Board in response to an audit. Architects Training Institute will maintain your records for 6 years at no extra charge.

Do I need to complete continuing education requirements for my AIA membership?

Yes, as an Architect member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), 18 learning unit hours are required per calendar year for membership renewal. Of these 18 hours, at least 12 hours must be in subjects designated as Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW). Our 18 hour California Architect Continuing Education package fulfills both the California Building Code Accessibility requirement and the AIA membership renewal requirement.

Are AIA approved classes accepted to renew my California architect license?


My California architect registration has lapsed, how do I reinstate it?

An architect license that is not renewed within five years after its expiration date becomes nonrenewable. A nonrenewable license cannot be renewed, restored, reissued, or reinstated. The holder of a nonrenewable license may apply for and obtain a new license by relicensure only if they meet all of the requirements for obtaining an original license.

The relicensure process requires an individual to complete the following steps:

  1. Obtain your previous California architect license number(s) (you may use the DCA License Search tool to lookup your old license)
  2. Contact the Board and request an Application for Relicensure (please include your California architect license number(s) in the email)
  3. Complete the form and include an original signature (digital signatures will not be accepted)
  4. Send it to 2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 105, Sacramento, CA?95834

Getting a License:

How do I obtain a California architect license?

A candidate must provide verification of three years of architectural practice experience and five years of education equivalents for a total of eight years of experience to become licensed in California. The candidate must also successfully complete both the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and the California Supplemental Examination (CSE). A candidate must verify five years of education and/or work experience to be eligible for the ARE and eight years for the CSE and licensure. Credit for education and training experience is granted as outlined in the current edition of the Table of Equivalents.

Candidates must complete, prior to licensure, the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) as administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). This requirement effects new candidates applying for exam eligibility as well as candidates who were previously eligible but have not taken an exam as a candidate of the Board for five or more years and who are re-applying for eligibility.

For more information or to begin the process, go to the Becoming a Licensed Architect section of the Board’s website. There you will find the instructions on how to apply for the ARE, the necessary applications and forms, and the applicable publications.

It is advisable for candidates to contact the Board for specific questions or information.

State Contact Info:

California Architects Board
2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 105
Sacramento, CA 95834-9673
Phone: (916) 574-7220
Fax: (916) 575-7283

Once I order the course, how long before I can start?

You may begin immediately! Simply click the Login button in the upper right-hand corner on your desktop or in the upper-right menu on mobile. Once you’ve entered your login and password, you will be taken to your courses. Follow the instructions and enjoy!

Once I start an online course, will I be able to start and stop at anytime?

Our courses are available online 24/7 and you are able to log in and log out at any time during the course. If you are going to be away from your computer for more than 10-15 minutes, simply log out. When you log back in, you will be able to re-enter the lesson you were last in.

How long do your continuing education courses take to complete?

Continuing education requirements vary by state. Each course lists a minimum number of credit hours required to complete the course.

How long do I have access to the courses?

We allow up to 6 months for you to complete the courses. During the six months you have unlimited, 24/7 access. If you need additional time, please contact our offices to arrange an extension (please note: a fee may apply).

Are there tests or quizzes in the courses?

Some states do require quizzes, these will be found at the end of lessons. You cannot fail a quiz, though, as you may take it as many times as required to pass!

Once I complete a course, can I still go back and review the lessons?

You are able to review the lessons at any time during the six months you’ll have access to the courses.