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Initial Architect Registration Requirements

Licensing Requirements for New Architects

Criminal Convictions 

All candidates wishing to practice architecture in the state of Ohio must meet the criminal background requirements for licensure. A list of potentially disqualifying offenses is attached. Candidates that have pled guilty to, been convicted of, or been found judicially guilty of any the following crimes may be disqualified from being licensed as an architect or landscape architect. The Ohio Architects Board will review the facts of each case on an individual basis. The offense may or may not result in a proposed action to deny licensure. The factors considered may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The nature and seriousness of the offense;
  • Passage of time since the crime was committed and whether all terms ordered by the court were successfully completed;
  • Whether any other offenses were committed since the crime;
  • Relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, and fitness required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the occupation;
  • Any evidence of mitigating rehabilitation or treatment successfully completed;
  • Whether denial of the license is reasonably necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

If an applicant has a criminal history, the Boards will conduct a thorough investigation and considers the above factors and others, including the facts and circumstances underlying the offense, and the total number and pattern of offenses.

Determination by Board Whether your Criminal Conviction is Disqualifying 

  • If you are a potential applicant you wishes to know whether your criminal conviction will disqualify you from licensure, pursuant to RC 9.78(B) you may request a determination by the Board stating whether your criminal conviction is disqualifying. Simply email us with a description of your conviction and the Board will make a review.

Initial License Requirements

In order to receive an initial license in Ohio, applicants must meet the education, experience, and examination requirements established by the Board. 

  • Education Requirement

A National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architecture Certification Board (CACB) accredited professional degree in architecture is required. Individuals educated in other countries and persons holding licenses in foreign countries should first visit the Foreign Architects section of the NCARB website at https://www.ncarb.org. Once all of the NCARB requirements have been met, you can apply for an Ohio license. 

  • Experience Requirement 

Ohio follows the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) Guidelines as established by NCARB. 

  • In order to begin tracking experience hours, applicants must first set up a record with NCARB.
  • Reimbursement of AXP Enrollment Fees - The Board will reimburse students for the $100 fee for enrolling in the NCARB Architectural Experience Program (AXP). Students must be currently enrolled and in good standing at one of Ohio's five fully accredited programs of architecture (OSU, Kent, Miami, Cincinnati, Bowling Green). The application is available on the Forms and Applications page of the Board website. 
  • Examination Requirement

All candidates are required to pass the Architect Registration Examination®, which assesses candidates for their knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required in the practice of architecture. Candidates schedule the ARE through NCARB's My Examination website.

  • Taking the ARE - The ARE® is administered by NCARB. Candidates schedule online through the "My Exam" section of the NCARB website. Ohio candidates may take the exam at any Prometric location in the US. 
  • Scheduling the ARE - In order to schedule the exam, candidates must submit an application for initial licensure  through the Ohio eLicense portal. Candidates must also request ARE eligibility through NCARB's My Examination.
  • ARE Concurrent With AXP - Ohio candidates may begin taking the ARE upon graduating with a professional degree and while completing AXP, or be enrolled in an "Integrated Path to Licensure" (IPAL) program in any state. Candidates must have their ARE Eligibility transmitted to Ohio by NCARB and complete an Ohio application.
  • Five Year Rolling Clock - Under the terms of the NCARB Five-Year Rolling Clock, which was effective on January 1, 2006, candidates taking the ARE must pass all divisions within five years. Ohio follows the NCARB Five-Year Rolling Clock.
  • ARE Special Accommodations - All testing centers are designed to accommodate people with disabilities. Testing accommodations will only be made with the authorization of the Ohio Architects Board. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be used by NCARB as a guide when evaluating testing accommodation requests. This ensures fairness and consistency for all ARE candidates. Once you have been approved for testing accommodations by Ohio and NCARB, you will receive notification from NCARB and instructions on how to make an appointment. The application for Accommodations can be found here. 

Issuance of License - Specifics

  • Issuance of First License

After all divisions of the ARE have been passed, NCARB will perform a final review of the candidate's record. This review may take up to 30 days. Upon completion of the final review, the AXP record is sent to the Board by NCARB. Upon receipt of the record, Ohio license is automatically issued if all requirements have been met. No additional fees or forms are necessary. The Board will issue the Certificate of Qualification via email. 


Candidates may begin using the title "Architect" and using their license number immediately upon receipt of the Certificate of Qualification from the Board. The formal wall certificate will be issued after it has been signed by all Board members. This may take several months.

  • Ordering Seals

New licensees may order seals from any vendor. Check the Internet for resources. Ohio allows rubber stamp, embossed metal or electronic seals. See the "Seals/Sealing" page for the seal specifications.

NOTE: Use of Title by Students, Graduates and Exam Candidates

Use of job titles containing the word "Architect", is restricted by Ohio Revised Code sections 4703.06 to 4703.18.
Only persons who have been admitted to take the ARE by the state of Ohio may use either of these two  titles: "Intern Architect" and "Architectural Intern". Any other title containing the word "Architect" or any of its derivatives is strictly prohibited. Use of the title "Graduate Architect" by unlicensed persons is NOT permitted.

Persons who are NOT admitted to the ARE may use titles such as: Project Designer, Project Manager, Intern, Emerging Professional or Job Captain.