How to Improve Diversity on Architecture Licensing Boards

Over the past several years, NCARB has seen consistent growth in racial and ethnic diversity along the path to licensure, as well as gender equity. This positive trend gives us hope that the profession of the future will better represent the broad spectrum of people who make up the U.S. population.

As diversity and equity within the profession slowly shift, we want to encourage better representation on licensing boards—and by extension, NCARB’s own Board of Directors. But to make this happen, we need the support of the entire architecture profession. Here’s how you can help us create a more diverse NCARB community.

Serving on Local Licensing Boards

Serving on your jurisdiction’s licensing board is one of two main ways to get involved with NCARB. In most U.S. jurisdictions, members are appointed by the state governor—who have historically been older white men. Because the members of state boards also make up NCARB’s membership, increased diversity in board appointments also means increased diversity in NCARB leadership.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Volunteer to serve—State boards are always looking for interested and qualified individuals to serve on boards. These positions provide an opportunity to shape the policies affecting licensure within your jurisdiction. Nearly every jurisdiction has a website with information about how to apply. NCARB’s Council Relations team can also connect you with information if you are interested—contact us at
  • Connect with your local AIA chapter—Because AIA chapters often get asked for recommendations, interested individuals are encouraged to let their AIA colleagues know if they are interested in serving on a state licensing board.

Volunteering With NCARB

We rely on licensure candidates, architects, and other professionals across the country to serve on the volunteer committees responsible for shaping our programs and services. NCARB is committed to ensuring that our pool of volunteers is diverse at every level—not only in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender, but also educational background, professional history, age, firm size, and more.

By ensuring that the individuals creating the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®), Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), and other programs better represent the communities that live, work, and play in our built environment, our goal is to make the licensure path accessible to individuals of all backgrounds.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Volunteer for a committee—NCARB sends out calls for committee volunteers to new NCARB Certificate holders each spring; we also offer several other volunteer opportunities each year, including our think tanks for licensure candidates and recently licensed architects. Be sure to sign up for our newsletters to make sure you’re notified when opportunities are available!
  • Become a licensing advisor—NCARB’s architect licensing advisors help guide candidates and architects through the licensure and reciprocity processes. You can join the licensing advisors community at any time.
  • Share the news—We need your help to reach a broad range of individuals in the profession—encourage your colleagues and friends to join NCARB’s volunteer efforts, too.