For updates on the Architectural Practice Examination (APE), including opening and closing dates for applications, monitor the Board's APE webpage here.
The use of the title 'Architect' is strictly regulated in every State and Territory in Australia, as well as many countries overseas. It is reserved by law in NSW and penalties apply for individuals, corporations and firms who misrepresent as architects or offer architectural services while not registered.
There are a number of pathways to register as an Architect. See below for explanations of each pathway and the required forms for completion, including how to register a Corporation or Firm.
If you have an overseas qualification, or are interested in the Overseas or Local Experience Practitioner pathway to registration, contact the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia.
For further information, listen to our podcasts on registration.
To learn more about the pathways to registration, join one of our free webinars. Register here.
Pathways to Registration
Australian Accredited Qualification
This is the most common pathway for architects registering in NSW. To be eligible you must first receive the university qualification in architecture prescribed by the Board or qualifications that the Board deems equivalent. In addition to an accredited qualification, a person must have a minimum of 3,300 hours of work experience covering the mandatory elements of competency and pass the Architectural Practice Examination (APE). Successful completion of the examination qualifies a person to apply for enrolment as an architect in New South Wales and other registration jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand.
Complete: Form 01 - Application for Initial Registration as an Architect in NSW
The Overseas Qualifications Assessment Process is facilitated by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA). It is conducted in 2 stages, and determines if individual overseas academic qualifications compare with a current Australian accredited qualification in architecture.
If an applicant’s qualification has been deemed comparable to an Australian qualification, he or she is eligible to undertake the Architectural Practice Examination.
Applicants may also use the outcome of the AACA’s assessment of their qualification to support applications for the purpose of migration to Australia under the Australian Government Skilled Migration Program, for the occupation ‘Architect’, ANZSCO code 232111.
For more information, link here.
NSW Portfolio Program of Assessment (NSW PPA)
This assessment process is administered by the NSW Architects Registration Board.
Register here for an online Candidate Briefing on the NSW PPA, on Thursday 13 April, 5.00 - 6.30pm. This webinar will be presented by Dr Kirsten Orr, Registrar of the NSW Architects Registration Board. Candidates submit a portfolio of 3 to 4 complex architectural projects from the last 10 years for which they have been primary decision maker for the project initiation, conceptual design, detailed design and construction documentation. At least 1 of the projects should have been built in Australia in the last 10 years, or overseas in the last 5 years. In addition to the portfolio submission, candidates submit supporting written material and are interviewed about their skills and experience in the architectural services profession. The NSW PPA is a challenging registration pathway for exceptional people with exemplary skills and substantial industry experience in the architectural services profession, but no approved architectural qualification. Eligible candidates will have led the design and delivery of high-quality, complex architectural projects. The NSW PPA should not be regarded as a shortcut to registration as an architect in Australia. If a candidate is successful, they will be granted access to the next available Architectural Practice Examination in NSW, provided they meet eligibility requirements. Before applying, please ensure that you have consulted the Factsheet for the NSW PPA, which is available to download here. Download the Application Form (Form 11A) here. 2023 Timetable for NSW Portfolio Program of Assessment Stage 1
- Applications open Monday, 1 May 2023
- Applications close 5pm Monday, 29 May 2023
- Results for Stage 1 emailed Friday, 7 July 2023
- Invitations for interview emailed Friday, 14 July 2023
- Interviews conducted Monday, 31 July - Friday, 11 August 2023
- Results for Stage 2 emailed Friday, 18 August 2023
- Applications open Tuesday, 3 October 2023
- Applications close 5pm Monday, 16 October 2023
- Interviews conducted Monday, 20 November – Thursday, 30 November 2023
- Results for Stage 3 emailed Friday, 8 December 2023
National Program of Assessment (NPrA)
The National Program of Assessment (NPrA) is a competency based assessment for those who have substantial skills and experience in the architectural profession, but do not have a recognised architectural qualification.
This assessment is facilitated by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA)
The NPrA involves a design exercise that tests candidates’ competency in architecture on the basis of their acquired knowledge and experience. The focus of the design exercise is to design a complex building in response to a hypothetical design brief.
If a candidate is successful, he or she is eligible to undertake the Architectural Practice Examination.
For details about this pathway, link here, or contact the AACA.
Overseas or Local Experienced Practitioner Assessment
There are two fast-track pathways to registration for experienced local or overseas trained practitioners. This process is facilitated by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA).
The Local Experienced Practitioner Assessment program provides an alternate fast-track pathway to registration for graduates of Australian accredited architecture programs with relevant experience at executive level in complex projects.
Similarly, the Experienced Practitioner Assessment (overseas) provides a fast-track pathway to registration in Australia for overseas qualified architect practitioners with experience at the executive level in complex projects who are not eligible for registration under existing mutual recognition agreements.
Successful completion of either of these assessments allows candidates to bypass the Architectural Practice Examination and apply directly for registration as an architect with their state or territory architect registration board.
For more details, visit here.
Temporary Registration of Overseas Architects
The Board may register an individual who intends to practice in NSW for a limited period and who is not normally a resident of NSW. The Board must be satisfied that the individual has architectural qualifications and practical experience in another country that demonstrates that they are capable of practising architecture in this State with the same competence and skill expected of architects with full registration.
Complete: Form 03 – Temporary Registration of Overseas Architects
For permanent registration with an overseas qualification, contact the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia.
Mutual Recognition for architects registered in other States and Territories
Architectural education and registration is consistent across Australia - so it is easy for any architect currently registered in another State or Territory in Australia to apply for registration in New South Wales under the Mutual Recognition Act (MRA). Applicants are required to submit a completed application form, a certification from the Registrar of a State Registration Board where a person is currently registered, and payment of the prescribed registration fee.
Complete: Form 02 - Application for Registration in NSW by Architects Registered in Another State and Territory in Australia
Upon lodgement of the Form 02, NSW ARB will request a Mutual Recognition Verification from the relevant State/Territory Registration Board(s) which is submitted within 7-10 days.
Automatic Mutual Recognition – Automatic Deemed Registration (ADR)
All interstate architects intending to work in NSW must notify the NSW Architects Registration Board before commencing work. If they do not do so, they may be breaking the law. An interstate architect can lawfully work in NSW through Mutual Recognition (MR) or Automatic Mutual Recognition – Automatic Deemed Registration (ADR).
If you are an interstate architect working in NSW and using the word 'architect' to describe yourself (or its derivatives to describe your services) you must be registered in NSW under MR or have notified the NSW ARB of your intention to work under ADR.
Automatic Mutual Recognition – Automatic Deemed Registration (ADR) has commenced for architects in NSW, Victoria, the ACT, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory. It has not been adopted in Queensland.
For more information, refer to the Factsheet for Interstate Architects Working in NSW.
New Zealand - Mutual Recognition
Under the terms of the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement, architects registered in New Zealand are eligible to apply for registration as architects in New South Wales. Applicants are required to submit a completed application form, present the current Practising Certificate from NZRAB and payment of the registration fee. No additional experience or examinations are required.
Complete: Form 02 - Application for Registration in NSW by Architects Registered in New Zealand.
New Zealand Architects Registration Board to Complete: Form 02B - TTMRA Confirmation Request
Corporations/Firms & Nominated Architects
Corporations and firms must nominate at least one architect in the practising category to be responsible for the provision of architectural services. Nominated Architects must be aware of their responsibilities outlined in the Architects Act 2003, and the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct.
For all companies wishing to be published on our public register, a small publication fee applies.
Complete: Form 04 - Nomination of Responsible Architects for Corporations and Firms for the Provision of Architectural Services
Architects may choose to change their status to non-practising - especially when retiring, or taking time out to care for family or loved ones. Changing your status from practising to non-practising is best done at annual renewal time.
Complete: Form 07 - Application for Registration as a Non-Practising Architect in NSW