Courtesy NCARB

Today, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has released its complete NCARB By The Numbers annual report outlining its 2017 statistics on architectural education, time to licensure, diversity in architecture, and more. NCARB collected the data from the architectural licensing boards of the 50 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Below are highlights from today’s release.

As we previewed earlier this year, the number of licensed architects in the U.S. rose to 113,554 in 2017. This number represents is a 10 percent increase since 2008, exceeding the pace of growth of the overall U.S. population, which rose by 8 percent over the same period. According to the data, there is now approximately one architect for ever 2,900 people in the country. (However, many architects retain their licenses after retiring, which could impact this statistic.)

In 2017, the average age of candidates who completed licensure requirements remained at 32.5 years old for the second year. Time to licensure is primarily dependent on the type of architecture degree a student pursues (and whether it is with an accredited or nonaccredited program), how early candidates begin reporting experience, and whether they take the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) prior to completing the the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). According to NCARB, candidates who graduated from an accredited program, reported experience before graduation, and took at least one exam prior to completing AXP completed core requirements two years earlier than the average—in 10.4 years.

A record number of candidates completed core requirements for licensure last year, totaling 5,216. This 11 percent increase over 2016 can largely be attributed to the changes to the AXP program instituted in 2016, and a last rush by candidates to complete the exam before the ARE 4.0 was retired on June 30. Because of the spike experienced in 2017, the number of licensure candidates will likely fall in 2018.

In the last two years, almost 10,000 candidates have completed core requirements, which has led to a 2 percent dip in overall candidates to a total of 40,789.

While women still only make up one-third of licensed architects as of 2017, they are completing core requirements for licensure more than a year before their male counterparts. According to NCARB, it takes female candidates 11.8 years to complete these steps, while male candidates take approximately 12.9 years.

Though the profession is still largely white and male, racial and ethnic diversity among candidates in early career stages is improving year-over-year. The number of new AXP participants and new exam candidates that identify as nonwhite both rose by 3 percent in 2017 to 45 and 33 percent, respectively. Additionally, of the number of candidates who completed AXP in 2017, 30 percent identify as nonwhite, a 5 percent increase over 2016. However, the number of individuals completing the core requirements for licensure only increased by 1 percent in 2017, signaling that "the diversity in the pool of licensure candidates may be slowly moving along the pipeline," according to NCARB.

Overall, gender equity among licensure candidates remained relatively unchanged in 2017. Women accounted for 46 percent of new AXP participants, 42 percent of new ARE candidates, and 35 percent of candidates who have core requirements for licensure. The number of female certificate holders fell by 2 percent to a total of 32 percent in 2017, but the number of certificate holders rose by 1 percent to a total of 20 percent last year. "While women remain underrepresented in the industry, gender equity is gradually improving," NCARB writes in the report.

In 2017, only 17 percent of active AXP supervisors are women and only 12 percent identify as nonwhite or Hispanic. "This highlights the ongoing challenge for the profession of providing a diverse set of supervisors and mentors to act as role models for the next generation," according to NCARB.

To see the complete NCARB By the Numbers, visit