NCARB's 2015 Report Projects Positive Future for the Architecture Profession

NCARB's 2015 Report Projects Positive Future for the Architecture Profession

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has released “NCARB by the Numbers,” their annual report featuring statistics important to the architecture profession in the US. NCARB’s research portrays a positive future for the profession, with statistics showing that diversity is growing, architects are becoming licensed at an earlier age and progressing through licensure paths more quickly than in previous years, and more architects are becoming licensed than ever before.

The 2015 report covers the causes and effects of the results, looking into the impact of location and education. A section entitled “Jurisdictions by the Numbers,” lays out standardized relevant information for viewers to investigate conditions in the architecture profession in each state. The report also includes an analysis of the role of NAAB-accredited programs in helping architects achieve licensure.

Learn more on the information in NCARB’s report after the break.

New architects are entering the profession:              

NCARB’s data shows that more prospective architects hold NCARB records than ever before, suggesting that architecture is seeing a youthful renewal. The number of Architectural Registration Exam completions is also at its highest point since 2008, and the total number of architects in the United States is continuing to grow.

Highlights from NCARB’s data:

  • The number of architects holding NCARB records in 2014 was 37,178, an all-time high, and a 28% increase from 2013.
  • In 2014, 3,543 aspiring architects completed the Intern Development Program (IDP), an 85% increase from the number of completions in 2013, and a return to the national average of 3,478.
  • In 2014, 3,719 candidates finished the Architectural Registration Exams, an increase of 17% over the results from 2013.
  • For the third consecutive year, the number of architects has continued to grow; currently there are 107,581 licensed architects in the jurisdictions NCARB governs.

Architecture is seeing a rise in young architects:

COSMO, an ambitious project by Young Architect Program 16th edition winner Andrés Jaque. Image © Cosmo / Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation

As the number of new architects continues to increase, it should come as no surprise that the profession is growing more youthful. NCARB’s statistics show that young architects begin the pursuit of licensure and become licensed at a younger age than in previous years.

Highlights from NCARB’s data:

  • On average, architects begin the road to licensure at a younger age. The average age of an aspiring architect in 2014 was 25.7, which is below the average from the past 15 years of 26.9.
  • Architects are achieving licensure on average at 33.3 years of age, the lowest age since 2001.

NAAB-accredited education makes a difference:

Studios in Cornell University's architecture school, a NAAB-accredited program, and ranked first in the country by DesignIntelligence for undergraduate architecture education. Image © Matthew Carbone

Although each program has different merits and focuses, data from the report suggests that graduates with architecture degrees who attended programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) are more prepared to attain licensure. Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs are more successful on the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE), and pass the it more quickly than graduates from other programs.

Highlights from NCARB’s data:

  • Architects graduating from NAAB-accredited programs completed the ARE 2.4 years after beginning the exams, compared to 2.8 years for graduates of other programs.
  • Candidates for licensure pass the various divisions on the Architectural Registration Exam more commonly if they studied at programs accredited by the NAAB; while graduates from NAAB-accredited programs perform better on all categories, the advantage is most evident in the Building Systems category, in which 71 % of graduates from NAAB programs pass, compared to 57% from non-accredited programs.

Racial and gender diversity is growing:

The Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, run by noted female architect Zaha Hadid. Image © Hufton + Crow

The statistics from 2014 indicate that both the number of ethnic minorities and the number of women in architecture are growing. Additionally, women and minority groups are beginning to be more involved in the profession, as women are increasingly completing the ARE and pursuing licensure, and aspiring architects from minority groups make up a greater percentage of those holding NCARB records and pursuing licensure.

Highlights from NCARB’s data:

  • Women represent 35% of all ARE completions, but only 17% of NCARB Certificate Holders and 15% of IDP Architect supervisors.
  • Currently, 38% of all IDP completions are by women, a continuation of the growing number of women in the profession, and a significant increase from 2000, when less than 25% of IDP completions were by women.
  • Racial and ethnic diversity is growing within the architecture field; in 2014, minorities made up 41% of NCARB record holders, compared to 22% in 2007.

To see the raw statistics in NCARB by the Numbers and read the rest of the report, click here.

About this author
Cite: Patrick Kunkel. "NCARB's 2015 Report Projects Positive Future for the Architecture Profession" 15 Jul 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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