Saturday, March 19, 2011

Question about NAAB Accreditation

My son is a college junior and pursuing architecture.  He is particularly interested in a program that is "not accredited".  What exactly does this mean, and how could it affect his studies, examination, and eventually becoming an architect.

Having worked at NAAB (National Architectural Accrediting Board -, I will state that accreditation is absolutely necessary in the process of becoming an architect.  Through NAAB, the profession determines what knowledge is necessary to become an architect and dictates to architecture programs that these be taught.  NAAB informs architecture programs what to teach but not how to teach it.

Also, most jurisdictions (states and territories) require individuals to have an accredited professional degree in architecture to become a licensed architect.  In addition NCARB required an accredited degree for certification which facilities reciprocity to become licensed in more than one state.

In other words, pursuing an accredited degree is ESSENTIAL.  Although he could be licensed without the accredited degree, it would very much restrict his options during his professional career.

Now, are you sure that the program to which he is interested is a "candidate" program of NAAB?  Again, visit NAAB to see the list of accredited and candidate programs.  If it is a candidate program, the institution is in the process of gaining accreditation.  You can still consider a candidate program but ask lots of questions.

To learn more about this and the entire process of becoming an architect, consider obtaining
Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition from Amazon.

Feel free to contact me again with more questions.

Dr. Architecture


Anonymous said...

This is not necessarily the best advice. There are many reasons why one would want to pursue a "non accredited" program at the undergraduate level. While Dr. Architecture is correct in saying that pursuing an accredited degree is essential to become a licensed architect, it is NOT essential that your son pursue an accredited degree AT THE UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL. For example, if your son earns a B.A. or B.S. in Architectural Studies (non accredited 4-year degrees) he will have to then earn an M.Arch to become a licensed architect in most (but not all) jurisdictions.

On the other hand, if your son jumps right into a 5-year B.Arch (the only accredited undergraduate degree) after high school, he will have a "faster track" to licensure, but will not have a broad-based education. He will learn about architecture, and only architecture.

There is a tremendous value in a B.A. or a B.S. These degrees are more interdisciplinary and liberal-education based, giving your son essential knowledge that will benefit him during his career as an architect (or any other path he chooses to take.) I received a "non accredited" B.A. in Architecture before working for a few years and going to graduate school, and I wouldn't trade my B.A. for anything. After graduate school, I will have knowledge in architecture, urban planning, and law, makling me an incredible well-rounded professional.

There are many factors that will contribute to your son's decision about which school to attend. The time required for him to become licensed as an architect is only one of them.

Anonymous said...

I would add to this that architectural licensing is also not necessarily a track that he need pursue. In most areas a civil engineering stamp, or even a General Contractors license would allow him to do much of what an architectural license would. There are many professional building designers who hold no license but work closely with colleagues with appropriate licenses to approve plans. It depends on where his interests lie and perhaps a BA or BS, or even a year of work in an architectural office or design/build firm as an intern would help him define where his interests lie.

Anonymous said...

If a college or university is accredited for their M.ARCH program but not their B.ARCH program, is it still a good undergraduate program?

Dr. Architecture said...

Be sure to visit -- -- to determine which degree programs are accredited by NAAB.

The quality of a degree program, graduate or undergraduate is determined by what criteria are are seeking.

Challenger5700 said...

If a school has a candidate accreditation will i be allowed to take the ARE exam if i graduate before the program reaches its full accreditation?