The latest edition of NCARB’s annual data publication, NCARB by the Numbers, is now available! With data gathered at the end of the 2019 calendar year, this year’s publication provides a snapshot of trends along the path to licensure and in the profession just prior to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s edition features expanded data regarding demographics, the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) pass rates, attrition along the licensure path, and more. It also previews several findings from the joint survey conducted by NCARB and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) on disparities throughout the licensure process and beyond.
The number of architects licensed in the United States rose to 116,242 in 2019, an increase of 1 percent compared to 2018. The steady growth seen in recent years addresses a previous concern that the number of practitioners would dwindle as baby boomers (who made up a large proportion of the architect population) began to step away from the profession.
Number of Licensure Candidates Decreases
Just over 38,000 individuals actively worked toward licensure by reporting experience, taking the examination, or both in 2019. This is a 6 percent decrease in the number of candidates making Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) or ARE progress compared to 2018. Candidates may be under less pressure to finish the licensure process quickly following the June 2018 retirement of ARE 4.0.
Candidates Complete Core Licensure Requirements Sooner
The average licensure candidate who completed the core licensure path (which consists of earning a degree, completing the AXP, and passing the ARE) in 2019 took 12.7 years. This is 2 percent less time, or about four months, than candidates who completed their final core requirement in 2018.
On average, 6.8 of those years were spent completing NCARB’s experience and examination programs, an increase of 3 percent (about two months) compared to 2018. This corresponds with slight increases in the average time to complete each program.
Gender Representation Improves at Several Career Stages
Gender equity improved or held steady at most career stages in 2019, although slight decreases were seen in the proportion of women starting the experience and examination programs. The largest increase was seen in the proportion of women who completed the AXP in 2019, which increased 2 percentage points in comparison to 2018.
Racial and Ethnic Diversity Increases at Most Career Stages
Racial and ethnic diversity increased at nearly every career stage in 2019, with the most growth being seen in the proportion of people of color who completed the experience program and began the examination. Thirty-seven percent of candidates who completed the AXP and 39 percent of those beginning the ARE in 2019 identified as non-white or Hispanic, increasing 4 percentage points each.
The majority of the growth in racial and ethnic representation at each career stage has been seen in the Hispanic/Latino and Asian populations; little to no change was seen in the proportion of Black individuals in the profession. While the consistent growth in racial and ethnic diversity seen over the past several years indicates improvements in representation are slowly working down the licensure pipeline, the deeper demographic breakdown highlights that this is not equal for each race or ethnicity.
This year’s edition of NCARB by the Numbers also features a breakdown of the racial and ethnic makeup of individuals at each career stage by gender.
Women Complete Requirements Sooner
In 2019, women finished the core licensure requirements in an average of 11.9 years, compared to 13.2 years for men and 12.7 years for all candidates. The difference in time to complete requirements between these genders has steadily widened in recent years. The average female candidate who completed the licensure process in 2019 did so two months sooner than those in 2018. Meanwhile, the average male candidate who completed the licensure process in 2019 did so just one month sooner than the average male candidate in 2018.
Latino Candidates Complete Licensure Requirements Soonest
On average, Hispanic or Latino candidates consistently complete their education, experience, and examination requirements sooner than their peers. In 2019, Latino candidates finished the core licensure requirements in an average of 10.5 years, 2.2 years sooner than the overall average.
Candidates who identify as Black or African American took an average of 14.5 years to finish the licensure process—1.8 years longer than the overall average. For comparison, Asian candidates took an average of 11 years, individuals who indicated their race/ethnicity as “other” took an average of 12.6 years, and white candidates took an average of 12.8 years.
Learn more about trends on the path to licensure in the 2020 NCARB by the Numbers!