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Number of architects in the U.S. is growing

Last year, more than 5200 candidates completed the core education, experience, and examination requirements for licensure, NCARB reports.
Image courtesy NCARB

The number of architects licensed in the United States climbed to 113,554 in 2017, representing a three percent increase from 2016 and a 10 percent increase over the past ten years, reports the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). The figures are derived from the council’s annual Survey of Architectural Registration Boards, which provides data from the architectural licensing boards of the 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The health of the architecture professional is even more pronounced when compared to U.S. population statistics, says NCARB; while the total number of licensed architects in the United States has grown 10 percent since 2008, the total U.S. population has risen only eight percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“With approximately one architect for every 2900 people in the United States, each architect has the daily opportunity to significantly impact the built environment—and those who live, work, and play in it,” said Gregory L. Erny, FAIA, NCARB president.

Last year, more than 5200 candidates completed the core education, experience, and examination requirements for licensure—a record high.

“This year’s data not only shows that licensure remains valued within the architecture field, it also demonstrates that NCARB’s efforts to streamline the path to licensure and remove unnecessary barriers have been effective,” said Michael J. Armstrong, NCARB’s CEO. “We have achieved this while maintaining rigor and ensuring each board’s ability to protect the public.”

The survey also revealed a one percent decrease in the reported number of reciprocal (out-of-state) licenses, but NCARB notes this number remains higher than resident licenses issued across the U.S. in 2017, indicating architects continue to have the mobility they need to seek work across state borders.

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