The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced on June 2 that it has released the second phase of its certification path for architects who don't have a degree from an accredited program. This new phase is the most recent part of a multi-year effort to include individuals outside of the traditional trajectory to the profession and NCARB accreditation, while also maintaining the highest standards for public health, safety, and welfare. The first phase was launched in February. Together, these new modes of licensure are the successor to NCARB’s former plan, the Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) Program, which was retired in 2016.

Dubbed the “NCARB Certificate Portfolio,” architects who are licensed in a U.S. jurisdiction and who have obtained any education other than an architecture-related degree—including those who do not have a college degree—can satisfy the requirements for the Certificate. (The NCARB Certificate, importantly, gives you the professional mobility to apply for "reciprocal licensure" in all 54 U.S. jurisdictions, and can also help you get certified in Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.) To qualify for the NCARB Certificate, an applicant must complete an online portfolio that proves the prospective candidate has learned how to carry out adequate design through their work.

To be eligible, designers in the U.S. who are interested in pursuing certification through the portfolio process must have at least three years of continuous licensure in a U.S. jurisdiction. Also, they need to fall into one of the following two categories. The first is those with “post-secondary education who have obtained 64 or more semester credit hours.” The second is those with “less than 64 semester credit hours of post-secondary education.” The former must obtain an ESSA evaluation, while the latter does not. However, a portfolio must be submitted by both groups of applicants, where they either address any deficiencies or address all education requirements.