According to a preview of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards' (NCARB) forthcoming 2018 edition of NCARB by the Numbers—an annual report detailing key demographics in the architecture profession—diversity continued to improve among licensure candidates in 2017, but attrition remains high for non-white candidates.

“NCARB has spent the past several years updating and aligning our programs to remove unnecessary burdens while maintaining the rigor needed to protect the public,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong in a press release. “A key area for us to address is identifying how pinch points along the path to licensure may vary for candidates from different backgrounds.”

In 2017, 45 percent of new Architectural Experience Program (AXP) participants and 33 percent of exam candidates identified as non-white—a 3 percent increase for both groups over 2016. Moreover, non-white AXP graduates jumped 5 percent in 2017 to a total of 30 percent of the graduating class.

Despite these gains, non-white candidates for licensure are still more far less likely to complete the steps to getting licensed than white candidates.

"Of non-white candidates who started their NCARB Record in 2008, 33 percent had completed the core requirements for licensure by 2017—15 percentage points less than their white counterparts," the NCARB report states. "In addition, 34 percent of non-white and 27 percent of white candidates have stopped pursuing licensure. This trend continues in more recent years, with non-white candidates typically 25 percent more likely to fall off the path to licensure than their white peers."

While the number of female AXP participants, Architect Registration Examination candidates, and those who have completed core requirements remained largely unchanged year-over-year in 2017—at 47, 32, and 36 percent, respectively—the attrition among women has fallen in recent years. The attrition rate between men and women—at 32 percent and 27 percent, respectively—are within 5 percent of each other. Overall, the percentage of all female certificate holders rose to 20 percent in 2017, despite the fact that the percentage of new female certificate holders fell to 32 percent.

The complete NCARB by the Numbers will be released in July.