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Introduction

Licensed architects work in a world of evolving technology, increased consumer expectations and other emerging issues. Practice in this changing environment requires ongoing development of knowledge and skills. It is critical that licensees remain current with changes and developments in the profession to render quality services and to ensure public protection. The Office of the Professions is committed to helping professionals stay up-to-date and informed throughout their professional lives.

To renew your registration as an architect, New York State Education Law requires you to complete 36 hours of continuing education (CE) in each three-year registration period. The information below is provided to respond to frequently asked questions about the continuing education requirements. It is not a substitute for reading the provisions of law, rule or regulation.

The statutes and regulations that apply to this requirement are available on this site. In addition you may request them by email at archbd@nysed.gov, by phone 518-474-3817 ext. 110, fax 518-486-2981, or by writing to the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions, State Board for Architecture, State Education Building - 2nd Floor, 89 Washington Ave., Albany, New York 12234.

Please note that Chapter 578 of the Laws of 2021 made significant changes to the mandatory continuing education requirements for architects. This law is effective May 3, 2023, and this portion of the website has been updated to reflect these changes. Some of the highlights of these changes include:

  • Removes any limitation on the number of educational activities an architect may use to satisfy the CE requirement (see question 2);
  • Requires first-time licensees to complete CE during their initial triennial registration period (see questions 4 and 5);
  • Allows a maximum of 6 hours of CE to be carried over from one registration period to the subsequent registration period (see question 8); and
  • Broadens the acceptable subject matter for CE (see question 16).
General Information
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Yes. In New York State, upon satisfaction of the eligibility requirements, a "license" is awarded. Licensure is for life unless suspended, revoked or annulled for reasons of misconduct.

To practice the profession of architecture in New York, a licensee must be currently "registered". Registration is for a 3-year period. However, please be aware that an architect’s 2nd registration period may be shortened to coincide with the end of the month prior to the architect’s birth month. Required continuing education hours shall be prorated for registration periods shorter than three years. During such an abbreviated registration period the number of required continuing education hours shall be equal to the number of months in the registration period as explained in question 7 below.

Continuing Education Requirements
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Yes. Every New York State licensed and registered architect must take continuing education in appropriate subject areas offered by approved sponsors. No one is exempt. You are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education during each three-year registration period. However, as noted in question 1, the required number of continuing education hours can be prorated to reflect the number of months in a registration period that is less than 36 months. 

Beginning May 3, 2023, all 36 hours of continuing education may be in educational activities for architects. 
 

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The New York State Education Department (the Department) may grant an adjustment and/or exemption to the requirement for reasons, which in the Department's judgment make it impossible for a licensee to comply. An adjustment and/or exemption may be granted for reasons of health (certified by an appropriate health care professional), for extended active duty with the armed forces of the United States, or for other good cause acceptable to the Department that may prevent compliance. You may complete and submit the Registration Remittance Addendum. For more information regarding an adjustment to this requirement, contact the Office of the State Board for Architecture.    

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Yes. Licensees are required to take 36 hours of continuing education during their first three-year registration period of initial licensure.

Amount of Continuing Education Required
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Architects must complete 36 contact hours of continuing education in appropriate subject areas offered by an approved sponsor in each three-year registration period.

Note: For purposes of this Q&A, ‘contact hour’ has the same meaning as ‘credit hour’

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No, as noted in questions 1 and 2, registration periods are adjusted so that renewals occur during the licensee's month of birth. If your registration period is less than three years, to determine the number of contact hours required, count the number of months of the registration period. You must complete one hour of continuing education for each month. For example, suppose your registration period is from January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2008. This registration period is a 30-month period, therefore, you are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education.

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Yes, a maximum of 6 hours of continuing education hours may be carried over from one registration period to the subsequent registration period.

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An hour is one contact hour of at least 50 minutes duration. Most continuing education providers give credit in hours (e.g. One AIA Learning Unit (LU) is equivalent to one hour of continuing education), however, some courses may be given in continuing education units. One continuing education unit (CEU) equals 10 contact hours. Therefore, .1 CEU equals one contact hour, .2 CEUs equals two contact hours, and so on.

Please note that if courses are longer than one hour in duration, then time spent on breaks and while eating meals will not count towards the amount of hours. For example, a course takes place from 9am - 5pm, inclusive of one hour for lunch and two 15-minute breaks; one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Credit for this course would break down as follows:

Hours Counted Hours Deducted
9am - 5pm 8 hours
Lunch - 1 hour
Two breaks - .5 hour
CE credit hours 6.5 hours

Individuals completing one semester hour of college-level course work taken over the course of a college semester equals 15 hours. One-quarter hour of college-level course work taken over the course of a college semester equals 10 hours.

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Yes, provided they are offered through an acceptable sponsor (provider) and are in an acceptable subject area. Courses less than one hour in length will award prorated credit; for example, 30 minutes = .5 hour, 45 minutes =.75 hour.

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Yes. To reactivate your New York State registration, you are required to have completed the number of hours applicable to the period of time of your last registration period and to take 1 hour of continuing education for each month your registration is inactive, up to a maximum of 12 additional hours. The 12 additional hours must be completed in the 12 months before the beginning of the new registration period.

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No. You can complete the hours any time during the three-year registration period as long as you have completed the required hours prior to the expiration date of your registration, unless your registration has been inactive. If this is the case, the requirements outlined in question 11 would apply. However, we suggest that you complete courses each year so you are sure to have them completed before it is time to reregister.

Subjects and Providers of Continuing Education
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Acceptable continuing education includes courses of learning and educational activities. Please note that a course in which a sponsor requires the use of a self-reporting form will not be accepted for New York State continuing education credit.

  • Courses of learning must be offered by an approved New York State sponsor (provider) and in an acceptable subject area. These courses must allow students the opportunity for immediate interaction with an instructor, (e.g. a seminar, workshop, lecture, etc.).
  • Other educational activities acceptable as continuing education include: 
    1. Preparing and teaching a course offered by an approved New York State sponsor (provider) and in an acceptable subject area. Continuing education hours credited for this activity can include actual instructional time plus preparation time, which may be up to two additional hours for each hour taught. Teaching experience will not be accepted if you have taught the course on more than one occasion without presenting substantially new or revised material.
    2. Authoring an article in an approved subject area published in a peer reviewed journal or a published book. You will receive nine continuing education hours for each work published during the registration period.
    3. Making a technical presentation in an approved subject area at a professional conference or meeting sponsored by an organization that is an approved sponsor (provider). Continuing education hours credited for this activity can include actual instructional time plus preparation time, which may be up to two additional hours for each hour taught. A specific presentation may only be counted once during any given registration period.
    4. Obtaining a patent related to the practice of architecture. You will receive nine continuing education hours for each patent granted on an invention during the registration period.
    5. Completing self-study program. The self-study must be taken from an approved provider and in an acceptable subject area and be structured study that is based on audio, audio-visual, written, online, or other media, and does not meet the criteria established for live instruction described in question 14. In addition, a self-study program must have a testing instrument, which is completed by the licensee and returned to the sponsor for scoring. A passing grade is required before a sponsor may award continuing education credit.
    6. Completing an educational tour in an approved subject area, meaning a structured tour of an instructional nature, provided by an approved sponsor (provider). The tour may not be promotional in nature.
    7. Serving on a committee or task force that addresses technical and/or regulatory issues pertaining to the professional practice of architecture, provided that such committee or task force has been established by a governmental entity or other entity determined by the department to be acceptable. 

See questions 22 and 25 regarding documentation requirements for teaching a course or making a technical presentation.
 

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To be acceptable, courses of learning must be administered:

  1. by an approved New York State sponsor (provider) and
  2. in an approved subject area and
  3. in an approved format.

In addition to the requirements above, for a course to be considered acceptable, a student must have the opportunity for immediate interaction with an instructor/presenter, (for example, a seminar, workshop, lecture, technical presentation, etc.). See question 15 for a listing of approved sponsors and question 16 for a listing of acceptable subject areas.

Please note that a course in which a sponsor requires the use of a self-reporting form will not be accepted for New York State continuing education credit.
 

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The entities below are authorized to approve sponsors of continuing education for New York State architects. If the courses and educational activities are offered by sponsors approved by one of these entities, and the subject area of the courses and educational activities meet the requirements in question 16, then the courses or educational activities would be considered approved for meeting New York State’s mandatory continuing education requirement.

Please note: Not all courses and educational activities offered by an approved sponsor are acceptable for continuing education credit in New York State. If you have questions about whether a course is acceptable, please contact the State Board for Architecture before enrolling in the course or educational activity.

  1. Sponsors recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education Program or by an organization determined by the State Board for Architecture to have equivalent standards. 
    • The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Services (AIA/CES) list of recognized sponsors is available from the Continuing Education Program, 1735 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006-5292 or at the AIA's Web site at www.aia.org. New York State continuing education credit for educational activities may be earned via the articles designated for CE credit published in Architectural Record on or after the November 2001 issue and for which a Certificate of Completion has been received.
    Please note: A course in which a sponsor requires the use of a self-reporting form will not be accepted for New York State continuing education requirement purposes.
  2. International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). IACET's list of recognized sponsors is available from IACET, 1620 I St. NW Suite 615, Washington, DC 20006, Phone: (202) 463-2905, Fax: (202) 463-8497 or www.iacet.org.
  3. The Practicing Institute of Engineering (P.I.E). P.I.E's list of recognized sponsors is available from P.I.E. Individual seminars can also be approved with P.I.E. Website: www.practicinginstitute.org, Address: P.I.E., 6 Airline Drive, Suite 114, Albany, NY 12205, Phone: (518) 283-7493.
  4. Colleges, universities and other degree granting institutions offering degree (e.g. AAS, BS, MS), certificate or diploma programs carrying degree credit that are registered by the State Education Department or have authority to offer equivalent programs accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency (e.g., NAAB or ABET). The State Education Department's "Inventory of Registered Programs" includes all degree granting institutions in the State and can be found on SED's site at http://www.nysed.gov/heds/IRPSL1.html.
  5. Society of American Registered Architects (SARA); 14 East 38th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10016, Phone (929) 231-5472, ceus@saranational.org, email https://www.saranational.org/ 
  6. American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York); ACECNY's list of recognized sponsors is available from ACECNY, 6 Airline Dr., Albany, NY 12205, Phone (518) 452-8611, Fax: (518) 452-1710 or https://acecny.org/page/education
  7. Sponsors (providers) approved directly by the Education Department.
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Yes. Not all courses and educational activities offered by an approved sponsor are acceptable for continuing education credit in New York State. Acceptable continuing education shall be in a subject area that may contribute to professional practice. Of the 36 hours required, at least two-thirds (24 hours) must be in the areas of health, safety and welfare (HSW). However, no more than one-third (12 hours) will be accepted in other topics, which may contribute to the professional practice of architecture as such practice is defined in section 7301 of the Education Law. The key is the subject matter's relationship to professional practice. 

Acceptable Subjects may include:

  • Health, Safety and Welfare Areas:
    • practice management
    • project management
    • programming and analysis
    • project planning and design
    • project development and documentation
    • construction and evaluation
    • other subject areas of practice, law and ethics which may contribute to the health, safety and welfare of the public
  • Other Topics:
    • Other subject areas in architecture, engineering, interior design, land surveying, landscape architecture, and geology which may contribute to the professional practice of architecture as such practice is defined in section 7301 of the Education Law, except for non-acceptable subjects listed below.

Non-acceptable subjects:

Subject areas that do not contribute to the professional practice of architecture as defined in section 7301 of the Education Law, such as, limiting a design professional's liability, maximizing fees, project photography, and non-architectural software are not acceptable subjects.
 

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No. Independent study or informal group "study clubs" and/or book clubs of architects that are not approved sponsors cannot be accepted. Only courses of learning or educational activities offered by approved sponsors in an acceptable subject area may be counted toward the continuing education requirement. Continuing education offered by approved sponsors ensures appropriate course content, effective evaluation, and record keeping by the provider.

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No. Architects are permitted to take any combination of educational activities or courses, so long as they are given by an approved sponsor (provider) and are in an acceptable subject area. 

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No. However, you must be able to interact with the instructor. Examples of acceptable modes of delivery include: a live lecture, a telecourse or teleconference in which you and the instructor can speak directly with each other; a course in which you and the other practitioners discuss a taped presentation with a facilitator's assistance; a computerized course in which you are able to interact directly with the instructor. On the other hand, a televised lecture with no means of direct interaction would not be acceptable as a live course even if it were a live telecast.

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Yes. For a continuing education course taught, or technical presentation you give, through an approved sponsor and in an acceptable subject area, you may count towards satisfying your continuing education. requirement the same number of hours that would be earned by a person who attended the course. Continuing education hours credited for this activity can include actual instructional time plus preparation time, which may be up to two additional hours for each hour taught. A specific presentation may only be counted once during any given registration period.

However, any such credit for teaching a course shall not be acceptable where the licensee has taught the course on more than one occasion without presenting new or revised material.
 

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Yes. Individuals teaching a college-level course may receive New York State continuing education credit. However, such credit may only be counted once a registration period, and shall be given by a college, university or other degree granting institutions (offering degrees such as an AAS, BS, MS), or certificate or diploma programs carrying degree credit that are 1) registered by the State Education Department or have the authority to offer equivalent programs accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency (e.g. NAAB) which is taught over the course of a college semester; and 2) is in an approved subject area.

The number of contact hours accepted for teaching a college course is as follows: one semester hour equals 15 contact hours; one quarter hour 10 contact hours. 

NOTE: Any college level course in topics other than health, safety, and welfare subject matter will be awarded no more than 12 hours of continuing education.

Documentation should be obtained from the college or university's department chair or registrar's office, certifying that you taught the course which should include; the title of the course and any identification number assigned; number of semester hours completed; name of the college; verification by the sponsor or department chair (registrar) that you taught the course; date and location of the course. However, any such credit for teaching shall not be acceptable where the licensee has taught the course on more than one occasion without presenting new or revised material.
 

Recordkeeping and Reporting
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Sponsors must provide a Certificate of Completion to licensees who complete courses for continuing education credit. For AIA members, in lieu of the certificate, the sponsor may report the completion of the course or educational activity directly to AIA/CES Records for inclusion on an AIA transcript. In no cases will self-reporting forms be acceptable for New York State credit.

A Certificate of Completion should contain the following information:

  1. title of the course or educational activity, the specific acceptable subject area, and any identification number assigned to it by the sponsor
  2. number of hours completed
  3. the sponsor's name and any identifying number
  4. verification by the sponsor of your attendance
  5. the date and location of the course or educational activity
  6. you taught the course or made the presentation, if this is the case. Alternatively, a letter from the sponsor indicating you taught the course or made the presentation may be accepted in addition to a certificate of completion.

The information on each course should be retained in your records for six years from the date of completion.
 

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When you renew your registration, you will be required to attest that you completed the required continuing education hours, together with the registration fee, which is currently $242, and the continuing education fee, which is currently $45, for a total of $287.

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No. When you renew your registration, you will be required to certify that you have completed the required continuing education. You should retain your CE records in your files for a period of six years. However, you are required to make your continuing education records available for inspection by the Education Department upon our request. We audit random samples of mandatory continuing education records to assure compliance with the continuing education requirement.

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Upon request, you must provide the Department with your records of completion for each continuing education course or educational activity. If you are an AIA member, your AIA transcript is acceptable documentation. If you are not an AIA member, you will need to provide the Department with acceptable Certificates of Completion for each course or educational activity. If you taught a course or made a technical presentation, you will be required to provide either proof on your AIA transcript or Certificate of Completion, or a letter from the sponsor indicating you taught the course or made the presentation. In no case will the Department accept self-reporting forms.

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You may be subject to charges of professional misconduct. Willfully making or filing a false report is unprofessional conduct, according to Section 29.1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents. Penalties may include censure and reprimand, fine, and/or suspension or revocation of your license.

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If you request, the Department, at its discretion, may issue you a conditional registration. The conditional registration is valid for one year only and is not renewable. To be granted a conditional registration you must:

  1. agree to complete the required hours of continuing education from the previous registration period during the period of conditional registration, as well as any additional continuing education the Department deems appropriate during the period of conditional registration;
  2. complete the regular continuing education requirement at a rate of one hour per month,
  3. pay the fee for the conditional registration, which is currently $287; and
  4. complete and submit the Registration Remittance Addendum.

At the end of the conditional registration period, you must submit to the Department your continuing education records certifying that you have completed the required continuing education and pay the regular registration and continuing education fee, which is currently $287, for the remaining two years of the registration period.
 

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This is permitted, as long as you are not practicing your profession in New York State. Your status will remain "not registered" until you meet the continuing education requirement and submit a registration renewal application with the appropriate fee. If you practice your profession, in New York State, while unregistered or after the Department has denied renewal of your registration for failure to report completion of the required hours of continuing education, you are subject to charges of professional misconduct.

Further Information
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You should contact the Office of the State Board for Architecture, New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions, State Education Building - 2nd Floor, 89 Washington Ave., Albany, New York, 12234, phone 518-474-3817 ext. 110, fax 518-486-2981, e-mail archbd@nysed.gov.