Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC


  ( Heading of Division 3 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 30. )

CHAPTER 3. Architecture [5500 - 5610.7]

  ( Chapter 3 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 33. )

ARTICLE 4. Issuance of Certificates [5550 - 5558]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 33. )


Subject to the rules and regulations governing examinations, any person who meets the qualifications set forth in this article shall be entitled to an examination for a license to practice architecture. Before taking the examination he or she shall file his or her application therefor with the board and pay the application fee fixed by this chapter. The fee shall be retained by the board.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1405, Sec. 13.)


An applicant for a license to practice architecture shall be required, as part of the examination for licensure, to demonstrate to the board’s satisfaction his or her knowledge and understanding of and proficiency in exterior and interior barrier free design.

The board shall include questions regarding exterior and interior barrier free design as part of the examination. Those questions shall periodically be reviewed by the board in order to ensure that the examination reflects current regulations and the latest developments in barrier free design.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 566, Sec. 6.)


Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 5552, the board may grant eligibility to take the licensure examination to a candidate enrolled in a degree program accepted by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards that integrates the licensure degree experience and examination components required under this chapter. The eligibility point shall be determined by that degree program.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 634, Sec. 3. (SB 1479) Effective January 1, 2017.)


(a) Notwithstanding Section 111, the board may adopt guidelines for the delegation of its authority to grade the examinations of applicants for licensure to any vendor under contract to the board for provision of an architect’s registration examination. The guidelines shall be within the board’s legal authority to establish the standards for registration in this state, and shall include, but not be limited to:

(1) Goals for the appropriate content, development, grading, and administration of an examination, against which the vendor’s rules and procedures can be judged.

(2) Procedures through which the board can reasonably assure itself that the vendor adequately meets the goals established by the board.

(b) The board shall not delegate its authority to grade the examinations of candidates for registration in this state to any vendor or any party not in compliance with Section 111 or with the guidelines established in subdivision (a).

(Added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 204, Sec. 2.)


Notwithstanding Section 30 of this code or Section 17520 of the Family Code, the board may accept for processing an application from an individual for an original or renewed license to practice architecture containing an individual tax identification number, or other appropriate identification number as determined by the board, in lieu of a social security number, if the individual is not eligible for a social security account number at the time of application and is not in noncompliance with a judgment or order for support pursuant to Section 17520 of the Family Code.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 317, Sec. 2. (AB 1822) Effective January 1, 2013.)


If the applicant’s examination is satisfactory, and if no charges of having resorted to deception in obtaining the license, or any other violation of the provisions of this chapter have been filed with the board, upon the payment of the license fee fixed by this chapter, the board shall issue a license to the applicant showing that the person named therein is entitled to practice architecture in this state, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 1223, Sec. 14.)


The applicant for a license to practice architecture shall:

(a) Not have committed acts or crimes constituting grounds for denial of a license under Section 480.

(b) Furnish evidence of having completed eight years of training and educational experience in architectural work. A five-year degree from a school of architecture approved by the board shall be deemed equivalent to five years of training and educational experience in architectural work.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 1223, Sec. 15.)


(a) Pursuant to Section 144, beginning January 1, 2021, the board has the authority to obtain and receive criminal history information. The information obtained as a result of the fingerprinting shall be used in accordance with Section 11105 of the Penal Code and to determine whether the applicant is subject to denial of a license pursuant to Division 1.5 (commencing with Section 475) or Sections 5560 and 5577.

(b) As a condition of application for a license, each applicant shall furnish to the Department of Justice a full set of fingerprints for the purpose of conducting a criminal history record check and to undergo a state and federal level criminal offender record information search conducted through the Department of Justice.

(c) The board shall request from the Department of Justice subsequent arrest notification service, pursuant to Section 11105 of the Penal Code.

(d) The applicant shall pay for the reasonable regulatory costs for furnishing the fingerprints and conducting the searches.

(e) The applicant shall certify, under penalty of perjury, when applying for a license, whether the applicant’s fingerprints have been furnished to the Department of Justice in compliance with this section.

(f) Failure to comply with the requirements of this section renders the application for a license incomplete, and the application shall not be considered until the applicant demonstrates compliance with all of the requirements of this section.

(g) Notwithstanding any other law, the results of any criminal offender record information request by either state or federal law enforcement authorities shall not be released by the board except in accordance with state and federal requirements.

(h) This section applies to all applicants subject to this chapter and subdivision (i).

(i) As used in this section, the term “applicant” is limited to an initial applicant who has never been registered or licensed by the board or to an applicant for a new licensure or registration category.

(j) As a condition of petitioning the board for reinstatement of a revoked or surrendered license, an applicant shall comply with subdivision (a).

(Amended by Stats. 2020, Ch. 370, Sec. 6. (SB 1371) Effective January 1, 2021.)


The board may, by regulation, implement an architectural education and training experience or internship program.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 376, Sec. 9. (SB 608) Effective January 1, 2020.)


Issuance of a license may be denied if evidence is received by the board of the commission or doing by the applicant of any act which, if committed or done by the holder of a license, would be grounds for the suspension or revocation of that license. The proceedings under this section shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 1223, Sec. 16.)


The certificate shall contain the name of the person to whom issued. Proper index and record of each certificate shall be kept by the board.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1405, Sec. 16.)


Licenses to practice architecture remain in full force until revoked or suspended for cause, or until they expire, as provided in this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 1223, Sec. 17.)


A duplicate license to practice architecture, replacing one which has been lost, destroyed, or mutilated, may be issued subject to the rules and regulations of the board. The duplicate license fee fixed by this chapter shall be charged for that issuance.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 1223, Sec. 18.)


Each person holding a license to practice architecture under this chapter shall file with the board his or her current mailing address and the proper and current name and address of the entity through which he or she provides architectural services. For purposes of this section, “entity” means any individual, firm, corporation, or limited liability partnership.

(Added by Stats. 2001, Ch. 313, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2002.)

BPCBusiness and Professions Code - BPC4.