All corporations, associations, partnerships and limited liability companies providing architecture or landscape architecture services in the state of Ohio are required to obtain a Firm Certificate of Authorization. It makes no difference whether the firm is located in Ohio or out of state, or whether it was previously grandfathered.
The only exemptions to firm registration are as follows:
- Sole Proprietors, but only if the firm is not a corporation or a limited liability company.
- Design/Build firms, as defined in Ohio Revised Code sections 4703.182 and 4703.332 and Ohio Administrative Code section 4703-3-12.
Prior to submitting a firm application, please review the Firm Certificate of Authorization Requirements and ensure that your firm meets each of them, including being registered as a domestic or foreign business entity with the Ohio Secretary of State.
Firm Registration Requirements
Firms must meet all of these requirements in order to obtain the Certificate of Authorization to practice Architecture in Ohio
- More than 50% of the shareholders, members, trustees or partners must be design professionals (architects, landscape architects, engineers, or surveyors) with an active registration in any state. (For example, if ten individuals hold all of the stock or interest in the firm, then six must be registered design professionals.)
- More than 50% of the shares or interests in the corporation, partnership, limited liability company, trust or association must be owned by design professionals with an active registration in any state.
- More than 50% of the firm's board of directors (in a corporation) must be active registered design professionals in any state.
- One architect with an active Ohio registration is in responsible charge of the professional activities and decisions of the firm.
- One architect with an active Ohio registration, designated in responsible charge of the professional activities and decisions of the firm, is also a member of the firm’s Board of Directors (in a corporation). This requirement does not apply to landscape architecture firms.
- The firm must hold an active registration as a domestic or foreign business entity in the state of Ohio with the Ohio Secretary of State. For further information, contact the Ohio Secretary of State, Business Services Division at: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Businesses.aspx or by phone at (614) 466-3910, or toll-free (877) 767-3453 x
Note: Certain architecture firms are exempt from items 1, 2 and 3: Firms which were actively registered with the Ohio Secretary of State and granted a charter to do business in the state of Ohio prior to August 7, 1943 or otherwise lawfully providing architectural services prior to November 15, 1982. These firms are still required to obtain a Firm Certificate of Authorization.
Firm Registration/Licensure Application
All architectural firms must be licensed in Ohio before doing business in Ohio. Prior to submitting a firm application, please review the Firm Certificate of Authorization Requirements attached on this page and ensure that your firm meets each of them, including being registered as a domestic or foreign business entity with the Ohio Secretary of State.
- Must apply via the online portal at https://elicense.ohio.gov. The architect in responsible charge for the firm must apply through the individual's elicense portal, using their individual password
- Must register with the Ohio Secretary of State and upload proof of registration with application. See https://www.sos.state.oh.us/businesses
- Must complete the Firm Ownership Spreadsheet and upload with application
- Firms are responsible for notifying the board within 30 days of any changes in the firm’s name, address, partners, managers, officers, members, directors, shareholders, designated architects/landscape architects, or re-distribution of ownership.
- 100% of shares or interest for all owners must be reported, along with design discipline (architect/landscape architect/engineer/surveyor), a state, registration number and expiration date for all applicable design professional owners. 100% of the firm's ownership must be accounted for along with the name of the firm's Ohio architect or landscape architect in responsible control.