Becoming an Architect

Below is a guideline to the steps that are required to become a licensed Architect in Canada. Note that this process varies from province to province – be sure to consult your provincial regulator for current and complete details on the requirements for the province you are seeking to become licensed in.

Although the basic steps to the most common paths to becoming a licensed Architect in Canada are listed below, be aware that there are many different life paths that lead people of all ages and backgrounds to become licensed Architects!



  1. Education:  Attend architecture school in Canada or abroad. Degree must be accredited by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) in order to register as an Intern Architect with a provincial regulator.
  2. Experience:  Work under the supervision of a licensed Architect and record the hours worked in each of the required experience categories (eg. Schematic Design, Contract Documents, Contract Admin, …). Some work experience can be obtained in other provinces or internationally, but a core number of hours must be worked in the province you intend to become licensed in. Some provinces also require As always, consult your provincial regulator for full and current details.
  3. Examination:  Achieve a passing grade in a qualifying professional exam: typically the ExAC.  Some people choose to write the ARE exams administered by NCARB in the USA if they intend to pursue an Architecture license in a US state that isn’t currently a signatory to the reciprocity agreement between Canada and the US. See the Canada Architectural Licensing Authority for more information.
  4. Licensure: Once you’ve met the education, experience, and examination requirements, as well as any additional requirements from your regulator (eg. courses, continuing education, residency, …), you can apply for a license to practice architecture in your province.


Syllabus Program:

The Syllabus Program includes all the steps listed above, but the Education step is a self-directed program that is completed while you are working. The Syllabus Program offers an alternative path to licensure for those who can’t or prefer not to leave the work force to study full time, but generally takes longer than the typical path listed above. See more information on the RAIC web site.


Foreign Licensed Architects:

The Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect (BEFA) Program is an alternative path to licensure if you are a licensed architect in another country without a current reciprocity agreement with Canada. It is developed by the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA) and administered by the CACB-CCCA. Eligible candidates apply for BEFA Certification, which, once conferred, allows the candidate to apply to their regulator for licensure. See more information on the CACB web site.