Architects continuing education frequently asked questions

Continuing education FAQs.

Table of Contents

What is the annual continuing education (CE) requirement for Massachusetts?

Architects registered in Massachusetts must earn a minimum of 12 credits annually, which must be in Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) topics. One hour equals one credit. Credits must be earned within the 12-month license renewal cycle; Sept. 1 through Aug. 31. This continuing education requirement has been in place since the 2003- 2004 license years.

Can credits I earn in excess of the state requirement this year be carried over to the next year?

No. Credits must be earned within the 12-month license renewal cycle, Sept. 1 through Aug. 31.

I'm newly licensed in Massachusetts. Do I have to comply with the continuing education requirements?

The Massachusetts continuing education requirements must be met for the Renewal cycle beginning September 1st following the first full year of licensure.

How do I obtain continuing education credits?

Any course or program approved by the AIA, CSI, NAAB or NCARB is automatically accepted by the Board. There is a wealth of continuing education opportunities available through AIA education providers such as the BSA, other AIA chapters, the BAC, NCARB, architectural journals and online learning sites, and we encourage you to take advantage of them. Please review the Board Regulations for additional information.

How does a state "contact hour" compare with AIA/CES learning units and NCARB standards?

The License renewal form will have a check-off required which certifies that the renewing architect has met the CE requirements. A random audit will be performed after the renewals are received and ONLY those selected for audit will be required to submit written documentation of their CE activities. AIA transcripts and/or accredited certificates of completion, showing qualified continuing education activities, will be acceptable documentation.

In general, if the AIA credits a learning experience, will the state also accept it for CE credit?

Yes. Here are some common examples of AIA programs accepted by Massachusetts:

  • Lunchtime seminars- Yes, you can earn state credit for seminars that offer AIA Learning Units (LU's, HSW). Lunchtime programs are sometimes registered with AIA by the host firm, by a vendor or other presenter. AIA Chapter Committee meetings that focus on technical or other professional issues- Any AIA program that offers AIA LU's HSW is acceptable to Massachusetts.
  • Build Boston and other conferences/conventions- The BSA's annual Build Boston conference offers many workshops where you can earn AIA LU's HSW. Conferences and workshops sponsored by other organizations may also offer AIA credit; be sure to review the registration information for continuing education details.
  • Architecture Boston Expo (ABX) and other conferences/conventions- The BSA's annual Architecture Boston Expo (ABX) offers many educational workshops where you can earn AIA credits. Conferences and workshops sponsored by other organizations may also offer AIA credit; be sure to review the registration information for continuing education details.
  • Teaching or giving a professional presentation- If you teach an undergraduate or graduate level course you earn 12 contact hours per academic credit awarded for the course, but only for the first time you teach the course. If you give an AIA-approved presentation you earn the number of contact hours equal to the hours of instruction, but only for the first time you give the presentation.
  • Articles in Architectural Journals- Articles with related quizzes are published in Architectural Record and some other industry publications. Articles that offer AIA credit are acceptable to Massachusetts.
  • Online or Distance-Education Programs- Online or other distance-education programs that are registered with AIA and provide Learning Units are also acceptable to Massachusetts.

Are other states consistent with MA and AIA requirements?

No. Each State has the right to formulate their own individual requirements. Massachusetts has defined the acceptable activities in our current Rules and Regulations. Massachusetts has generally conformed to NCARB requirements, which are similar to AIA credit requirements. All states currently accept the NCARB monographs for CE units.

Can I send a copy of my AIA transcript as proof I have complied with the CE requirements?

Yes. If the transcript does not include your name along with your membership number; please also enclose a copy of your AIA membership card or other official document which contains your name and membership number on a single form.

How will the board review/administer self-study proposals that must be pre-approved by the board?

AIA members may report self-study activities via the AIA Continuing Education System. For others wishing to submit self-study proposals, the Massachusetts Board meets bi-monthly, it will review each submitted request for consideration individually and respond as quickly as possible. A syllabus of the activity will need to be provided for the Board to review.

What special activities will count toward my continuing education requirements?

If the AIA accepts this "self-designed" activity and provides credit, Massachusetts will accept it with proof to credit.

Example: If you participate in your town's planning board and learn quite a bit that you find helpful in your practice.

I have taken a number of seminars. However, I'm not AIA, and don't put my name down, because I assum

Each registered architect shall maintain a written record of all continuing education courses or programs and/or approved individual continuing education activities he or she has completed for a period of not less than two (2) consecutive registration periods, inclusive of the registration period during which the course, program or activity was completed.

Does obtaining LEED certification qualify for continuing education requirements?

I studied and passed the LEED exam to become a LEED Accredited Professional in the past year; if I can document that I have achieved accreditation would that be sufficient?

If so, what kind of documentation is required?

The Board of Registration will allow 12 credits for passing the LEED exam with proof to passing results submitted.

Does the board require any of the 12 CEU credits to be sustainable design?


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