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Picture of architect in blue hard hat with School of PE logo. Becoming a licensed architect includes salary increases and career advancements.

As an ARE 5.0 exam prep provider, we often get asked what the benefits are of becoming a licensed architect. Becoming a licensed architect may seem like a daunting task, so whether licensure is worth it or not is often questioned. We get it—becoming licensed through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is a rigorous task, as licensure is achieved after taking and passing the following exams: 

● Practice Management
● Project Management 
● Programming and Analysis
● Project Planning and Design
● Project Development and Documentation
● Construction and Evaluation

The whole process of becoming licensed seems like a lot of effort, and it is. But, becoming license can significantly help you in your career. Learn how below: 

Increase Your Salary

This reason may seem obvious, but surprisingly is overlooked by many in the architecture field. Those who go above and beyond to get their architect license from NCARB are statistically benefitted by having a higher salary than those who don’t. In fact, unlicensed architects earn an average of $58,000i, whereas a licensed architect can typically make between $79,000 and $138,000ii. If you’re struggling among the idea of paying NCARB exam fees, dedicating a large amount of time to prepare for the six different exam divisions and avoiding the exam stress all together, taking the licensure exams and becoming a licensed architect will pay off in the long run.

Advance your career! 

Job searching is hard enough as it is, but trying to find a job as an unlicensed architect can be really difficult as there are only a few positions unlicensed architects can be employed in (such as a building designer). There are also restrictions to what jobs unlicensed architects can partake in. For example, unlicensed architects are typically restrained to work on buildings that are under 3 stories tall.

Open Your Own Firm

This one is for those who dream big and want to be their own bosses.
On a similar note as advancing one’s career, architects can neither open their own firms without a license nor become a principal architect. 

Help Your Company Grow

Throughout this article, we’ve focused on how to obtain an architect license that can help you as an individual professional. However, becoming licensed can also help the company or firm that you work for. When you, as an employee, become a licensed architect, you are also helping your firm look more valuable to prospective clients. The more licensed architects a firm employs, the more impressive it looks. And, as a bonus: the more clients a firm gets, the chance of getting a higher salary increases!

Convinced? We hope so! If you’re wondering how to begin the journey of becoming a licensed architect, check out our ARE 5.0 exam review courses. Prepare, practice, pass!


i. How to Earn a Six Figure Architect Salary. Retrieved from:

ii. Architects: Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from:

iii. Five Reasons Why You Should Get Your Architecture License. Retrieved from: