Number of U.S. Architects Continues Upward Trend

Washington, DC—The number of architects licensed in the United States rose to 116,242 in 2019, according to the annual Survey of Architectural Registration Boards. This represents a 1 percent increase from 2018 and a 10 percentage point increase compared to the number of U.S. architects seen a decade ago.

Conducted annually by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the survey provides exclusive insight into data from the architectural licensing boards of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The increase in the number of architects in 2019 is especially apparent when compared to the U.S. population: while the number of architects licensed in the U.S. has risen over 10 percent in the last decade, the total U.S. population has risen just 6 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

While this data may shift in the coming years as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts architectural practice and licensure, data from the survey highlights the relative health of the profession prior to the virus’ outbreak.

“There is reassurance in knowing the profession was in excellent health going into this challenging time, and we hope it emerges stronger and more dynamic than ever before,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong. “With our data serving as a baseline for the state of licensure, we can monitor the impact and identify opportunities to provide support in the years to come.”

The 2019 Survey of Architectural Registration Boards also reveals that there continue to be more reciprocal (out-of-state) licenses than resident licenses issued across the U.S. There were 137,639 reciprocal licenses reported in 2019, approximately 10 percent more than in 2018 and over 20,000 higher than the number of individual architects. This marks the largest increase seen in recent years and could be a result of many factors, including market needs and efforts to publicize pathways to reciprocity for architects.

In 2019, nearly 4,000 candidates finished their final core requirement for licensure—a step that indicates an individual has completed the national experience and examination programs. The average licensure candidate who completed their final core requirement for licensure—including education (i.e., by earning a B.Arch., M.Arch., or D.Arch. degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board-accredited program), experience, and examination—took 12.7 years. This is 2 percent less time (about four months) than candidates who completed their final core requirement in 2018.

The survey reflects registration data from January to December 2019. Additional data on the path to licensure will be available in July’s 2020 edition of NCARB by the Numbers.

Learn more about NCARB’s data and the Survey of Architectural Registration Boards.

Jurisdiction Resident Reciprocal Total 
Alabama 843 2,096 2,939
Alaska 236 314 550
Arizona* 2,250 3,749 5,999
Arkansas 550 1,162 1,712
California 17,369 4,159 21,528
Colorado* 3,648 4,156 7,804
Connecticut* 1,422 2,873 4,295
Delaware** 139 1,595 1,734
District of Columbia 886 3,061 3,947
Florida 5,453 5,464 10,917
Georgia 2,544 3,301 5,845
Guam 30 69 99
Hawaii 1,072 1,514 2,586
Idaho 539 1,430 1,969
Illinois 6,002 4,055 10,057
Indiana 1,015 2,304 3,319
Iowa 640 1,554 2,194
Kansas 836 1,987 2,823
Kentucky 721 1,976 2,697
Louisiana 1,419 2,193 3,612
Maine 493 1,222 1,715
Maryland* 2,798 3,666 6,464
Massachusetts 4,159 3,487 7,646
Michigan** 2,276 3,018 5,294
Minnesota 2,100 1,776 3,876
Mississippi 364 1,335 1,699
Missouri 2,029 3,179 5,208
Montana 483 1,081 1,564
Nebraska* 569 1,293 1,862
Nevada 570 2,308 2,878
New Hampshire 308 1,521 1,829
New Jersey 3,066 4,552 7,618
New Mexico 731 1,467 2,198
New York 11,662 8,440 20,102
North Carolina 2,658 3,742 6,400
North Dakota 188 979 1,167
Northern Mariana Islands 7 32 39
Ohio 3,209 3,096 6,305
Oklahoma 820 1,541 2,361
Oregon 1,529 2,187 3,716
Pennsylvania 4,085 4,486 8,571
Puerto Rico 1,059 94 1,153
Rhode Island 329 1,499 1,828
South Carolina 1,148 3,062 4,210
South Dakota 127 830 957
Tennessee 2,485 7,699 10,184
Texas 8,595 4,963 13,558
Utah 1,281 1,580 2,861
Vermont 313 903 1,216
U. S. Virgin Islands*** 163 948 1,111
Virginia 2,956 4,537 7,493
Washington 4,225 2,598 6,823
West Virginia 116 1,179 1,295
Wisconsin 1,593 3,246 4,839
Wyoming 134 1,081 1,215
116,242  Resident 137,639  Reciprocal 253,881  Total

*Data from 2018 Survey.
**Ratio of in-state/out-of-state data from 2018 Survey.
***Data from 2015 Survey.

About NCARB

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural licensing boards of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB, in collaboration with these boards, facilitates the licensure and credentialing of architects to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

To achieve these goals, NCARB works with its Member Boards and volunteers to develop and facilitate standards for licensure, including the national examination and experience program. NCARB also recommends regulatory guidelines for licensing boards and helps architects expand their professional reach through the NCARB Certificate.

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