What are the AIA’s requirements for continuing education?

AIA measures continuing education in learning units (LUs). One hour of continuing education earns one LU. AIA Architect members are required to complete 18 LUs each calendar year. Of those 18 LUs, 12 must be in Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) topics.

How can I earn continuing education credits?

You can earn continuing education credits by taking courses from registered AIA CES providers. Members may also self-report other activities (courses taken from other providers, independent research, attending events, etc.) for a limited number of LUs. You may not self-report for HSW credit..

Where can I find an AIA CES Provider course?

Take courses online, anytime, through AIAU, our online education portal. Check with your chapter for local opportunities or check our events calendar for upcoming education opportunities like A’18, CRAN Symposium, and more.

We work with a network of more than 3,000 educational providers—including AIA Chapters, affiliate organizations, firms, manufacturers, universities, nonprofits, and government agencies—to maintain a catalog of more than 75,000 approved continuing education courses. Search for courses by topic area and by provider in our online course directory.

How do I know if a course is approved and how many credits it’s worth?

AIA CES providers display the AIA Continuing Education logo with their courses. Additionally, they are required to display the credit designation and number of units (for example, 1.5 LU or 1.0 LU/HSW) with the description and learning objectives for the course.

Are course packages available?

AIAU, our online education portal, offers special pricing on course bundles. Visit AIAU to learn more. Other providers may offer special pricing or incentives as well.

Are magazine articles eligible for credit?

Yes. You can read magazine articles from registered AIA CES Providers and earn continuing education credit by passing an online quiz. Each publication should provide its own links and instructions to receive credit.

What are the guidelines for Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) courses?

Only approved courses may carry HSW credit. Because the guidelines for HSW credit require learning in a structured environment, you may not self-report HSW credits. Courses approved for HSW credit contain at least 75 percent HSW content, including related activities. This helps us ensure content credibility so AIA members can satisfy their membership and state mandatory continuing education (MCE) requirements for HSW topics. Read more.

How does HSW relate to CES?

The AIA requires Architect members to earn at least 12 LUs (of the 18 total LUs required) in HSW topics. You may earn more than 12 LUs in HSW topics. Any addition LUs earned will apply to the overall 18 LU requirement.

What specific subject areas qualify for HSW credit?

HSW subject areas are defined by the AIA, NCARB, and state licensing boards with HSW requirements. Some states have specific continuing education requirements and guidelines for what types of courses and content qualify. Be sure to check with the licensing board for states where you are licensed to determine any jurisdiction-specific requirements for content or reporting.

How do I view and print my transcript?

Log in to the AIA website with your credentials. Click on “my account” in the top red bar. You’ll be able to view your transcript and print it.

How long does it take for credits to appear on my transcript?

Providers have up to 10 business days to report your attendance after an AIA CES course is completed. Be sure to provide your AIA member number to the instructor or provider to ensure that your attendance is recorded properly. Once attendance has been taken, you do not have to take any action to receive credit.

It’s been more than 10 business days and the AIA CES registered course has not appeared on my transcript. How do get credit for the course?

Contact us with the name of the provider and the course number. AIA CES will contact the provider to address the issue. Do not self-report credits for courses taken through a registered AIA CES provider.

Should I keep my own records of my transcript?

Yes. We recommend that all members regularly check their transcripts and keep their own records in case a credit is not posted. It’s also a good idea to track certificates of completion, provider names, records of self-reports, and course dates, names, and numbers. While many state licensing boards accept the AIA transcript as your record of continuing education, some may have additional reporting or record-keeping requirements. Check with your state licensing board for any additional requirements.

What types of distance education courses can count for CES credits?

Distance education is defined as a method of instruction in which there is a separation of place and/or time between the instructor and learner, between fellow learners, and/or between learners and the learning resources. AIAU is the AIA’s online portal for distance education. Other examples of distance education courses include online courses, podcasts, publications, articles, teleconferences, audio conferences, and webcasts. Distance education courses from registered AIA CES Providers may be approved for AIA CES credit. For license renewal, some states may limit the number of credits earned through distance education.

If I retake a course, will I receive credit?

Some courses (for example, courses on building codes) are often offered periodically with updated content but have the same name and course number. If you take the same course within a 12-month period, you will receive credit once.

Is there a limit to the number of credits I can take?

There is not a yearly limit to the number of credits you can report. In fact, we encourage members to pursue continuing education beyond the required minimums. However, you are limited to reporting no more than 12 LUs per day.

What if there is a duplicate course entry on my transcript?

Contact us, as this could potentially affect your compliance status. Duplicate records do not count twice towards your continuing education requirements and need to be removed from your transcript.

How are transcript records kept and how can I access them?

Individual transcript records are updated whenever a registered AIA CES provider reports attendance. Anyone with an active AIA membership number can access their transcript. To access your transcript, click on “my account” in the top red bar and log in.

I’m a lapsed member. Can I review my transcript or receive a copy?

Contact us to have a copy of your latest transcript emailed to you.

What are self-reported activities?

If a course is not offered by a registered AIA CES provider, you have the option of self-reporting the course or activity. Self-reported activities must be planned educational activities that provide you with new knowledge that can be applied toward the practice of architecture.

You may not self-report for Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) credit. Additionally, some state licensing boards will not accept self-reported credits to meet mandatory continuing education (MCE) requirements

How do I submit a self-report?

Submit self-reports online via the Discovery platform:

  • Log in to Discovery. Use your aia.org primary email address and password.
  • Select the self-reported activities tab.
  • Scroll to the bottom and click “add new.”
  • Fill in the form and click save. Once submitted, each self-report will be reviewed within five business days. If approved, the status will appear as approved.

Can I obtain credit for teaching?

Members who present a program or class, serve on a panel, or give a speech one hour or longer can self-report the topics as a structured activity program. AIA members can self-report the research and preparation time for presentations, speeches, and classes they teach. Research may be reported as self-designed activities.

Do university and college faculty members receive credit for teaching?

Full-time university faculty members cannot apply for credit if the course is part of their regular curriculum workload. They can apply for credit if the course or program is outside of their normal work assignments. Part-time faculty can apply for credit for teaching a course. Credit will only be awarded once every three years for the same course offered multiple times.

The AIA will award 15 LUs for each course semester hour (or equivalent). For example, a three-semester hour course would qualify for 45 LUs.

I completed a graduate level class after I registered as an architect. How do I self-report the credit?

Members can self-report university or college level courses completed after they registered as architects. The AIA will award 15 LUs for each course semester hour (or equivalent). For example, a three-semester hour course would qualify for 45 LUs.

What is the rollover policy?

Unlike most state licensing boards, we allow you to rollover up to 18 LUs (including 12 LU/HSW) earned in excess of the annual requirement to the next year. You must completely satisfy the prior year’s continuing education requirement to be eligible for rollover credits in the following year. Rollover credits will be applied at the end of the following year to meet any shortfall in meeting that year’s requirement. Rollover credits may not be carried past the one-year limit.

What if I don’t meet the annual requirements or the deadline?

Each year, we audit a percentage of eligible AIA members for compliance with the continuing education requirement. Members who fail to meet the annual requirements are given a nine-month grace period through September 30 of the following year. Any credit earned during the nine-month grace period will apply towards the deficit from the prior year and not to meeting the current year’s requirement. For example, an LU/HSW credit earned during the nine-month grace period will apply towards any LU/HSW deficit from the prior year. During the grace period, members can retroactively report any activities they completed but failed to report in the prior year.

Are there any exceptions to the nine-month grace period?

If you are audited and do not meet the continuing education, you will have until September 30 of the following year to correct any deficiency. If you do not fulfill the requirement by the September 30 deadline, your membership may be terminated. You then have the option to reinstate your membership according to current membership policies or submit a request to the Secretary if you believe that your circumstances qualify.

What if I take a course before the September 30 deadline but the provider does not report attendance in time?

As long as the course was successfully completed before the deadline and the provider reports it, the course will still apply. Please contact us and the provider if you anticipate this happening.

What is the AIA/CES non-compliance policy?

Members are considered in non-compliance with the AIA continuing education requirement if they have not completed and reported 18 LU hours (including 12 LU/HSWs) by December 31 of each year. We conduct an audit of eligible members each year. Members in non-compliance have an opportunity to report missing continuing education credits and earn the credits necessary to address any deficiency before September 30 of the following year. During this nine-month grace period, members who are found not in compliance through the annual audit are at risk of membership termination for non-compliance.

What is the audit process?

Each spring, we randomly select a percentage of AIA members subject to the continuing education requirements for an audit of their continuing education transcripts. If you are selected for audit, the AIA will correspond with you and your chapter to let you know that you are being audited and whether you are in compliance with the AIA’s continuing education requirements. If you are not in compliance, we will let you know what you need to do to bring yourself into compliance before your membership is terminated.

If CES transcript records indicate that you have not completed the annual CES requirements after September 30, you are then considered lapsed for non-compliance and cannot renew your membership for the following year until the audit is resolved. If the audit is not resolved by the end of the year, your membership is terminated.

Can I be audited two years in a row?

Yes. Any member required to complete continuing education may be audited. Being audited does not exempt you from any future audits.

What do I do if I receive notification that I am being audited?

If you are audited and need to earn additional credits to meet your continuing education requirements, we will let you know how many credits you need to earn and by when in your audit notification. We recommend getting in touch with your chapter if you need help determining what credits you need to meet compliance standards. Chapters can also direct you towards specific courses and resources to complete your requirements.

What if I am being audited but believe that my transcript is inaccurate?

Contact us. If your transcript is not accurate and you have documentation to show courses or credits are missing, we can update your transcript. We suggest checking your transcript periodically throughout the year to make ensure courses you have completed are showing.

Should I send certificates of completion for credits that are not posted on my transcript?

It is the responsibility of the registered AIA CES provider to report any credits. If the course was earned through a non-AIA provider, you may self-report the credits. However, you cannot self-report for LU/HSW credit.

How do I reinstate my membership if my membership is terminated for CES non-compliance?

The AIA CES Reinstatement Policy allows members who lapsed for non-compliance to be reinstated at any time. To qualify for reinstatement, you are required to complete 18 LUs (including 12 LU/HSW) during the year of reinstatement. Once reinstated, you are responsible for completing 18 LUs (including 12 LU/HSW) each year. Members may only reinstate their membership using this process once in any three-year period.

Can I be exempt from continuing education requirements?

Yes. The AIA Secretary may grant exemptions for health conditions affecting you or your immediate family, military service, financial hardship, birth or adoption of a child, or other good cause as determined by the AIA Secretary. Please contact us for more information.

What documentation is needed for a waiver?

If you are audited and not in compliance, your notification will include the process for requesting a waiver including documentation needed.

Who reviews my waivers, and what is the process?

Complete and submit the waiver form to your state or local chapter. Your chapter will then forward your petition to the AIA National office with comments to the AIA Secretary for consideration.

The review process can take up to one month. Once the Secretary has either approved or denied the waiver, we’ll contact you with the decision and next steps.

What is mandatory continuing education (MCE)?

MCE is mandatory continuing education required by a state or jurisdiction to retain or renew a license. Requirements vary from state to state and are separate from the AIA’s continuing education requirements. See an overview of individual state requirements.

If you are licensed in more than one jurisdiction, you must meet the mandatory continuing education requirements for each jurisdiction.

If I meet AIA’s continuing education requirements, will I satisfy my state licensure requirements?

Our continuing education requirements are aligned with NCARB’s model law and regulations so that the requirements parallel the MCE requirements in many jurisdictions.

However, we cannot guarantee that you will satisfy your state’s licensing requirements if you meet AIA’s continuing education requirement. State requirements may change, and some states have specific rules about courses that meet their MCE requirements. Please check with your state licensing board.

What is the relationship between AIA continuing education, HSW, and state MCE requirements?

Both the AIA and most state licensing boards base their requirements on contact hours and content topics. Many states require 12 contact hours of HSW for their MCE requirements. The AIA/CES program requires 12 contact hours of HSW. Most states accept the AIA’s designation of HSW for compliance with their requirements. However, check with your state licensing board to determine if there are specific rules or requirements at the jurisdiction level.

Are AIA Fellows required to complete continuing education hours?

Yes. FAIA members must complete the same requirements as AIA members.

As a new member or member who just upgraded from Associate status, am I required to meet the continuing education requirement?

New first-time members and members who upgraded from Associate membership are not required to complete continuing education requirements during the calendar year that they join. Your requirements will begin January 1 of the following year. However, we maintain transcript records for all members from the time their membership starts. Any credit earned in the first year will not apply toward the following year’s requirement unless the member earns enough credits to meet the requirements for rollover credit.

Are Associate, Allied, and Emeritus members required to earn LU credits?

Associate and Allied members are exempt from the continuing education requirement but are encouraged to participate for their personal benefit and the benefit of the profession.

Emeritus members must meet the continuing education requirements for their level of membership: Emeritus Associate members are exempt from CES membership requirements, while Emeritus Architect members must meet the current continuing education requirements.

Records are kept for all members who report their activities. Those pursuing their license to practice architecture may also use the AIA continuing education transcript services.

I live and work outside of the United States. Am I required to complete continuing education?

Yes. The same requirements apply regardless of where you live and work. We realize that many traditional educational opportunities may be limited for you. However, many providers, including international AIA chapters and AIAU, offer continuing education opportunities online or outside the U.S.

I live in a state where face-to-face courses are limited. How can I fulfill my continuing education requirements?

AIAU and other providers with online courses can be a convenient way to fulfill your continuing education requirements on your own time and from anywhere in the world. You may also attend A’18 to help fulfil your continuing education requirements.

How is quality maintained?

Course quality is monitored through the initial review and approval of courses by AIA staff to ensure providers comply with the AIA’s standards and policies for content and delivery. We also rely on you to provide your evaluation and feedback on courses you complete. Courses not meeting AIA’s standards are removed from the catalog until they are brought into compliance.

What benefits does the AIA offer?

Browse our member benefits guide for a complete list of benefits, professional resources, and exclusive discounts.

Who is eligible for free registration to AIA Convention?

First-time members and people who have not been members for five or more years receive free convention registration. Learn more on the convention website.

Do you have a membership level for companies?

Not at the national level. Your firm may choose to become a Cornerstone Partner or a Continuing Education Provider. One of our chapters may offer additional options. Hyperlinks: Partner with us page and Become a continuing education provider page (both are new for R3), and Find a chapter page.

I’d like to join the AIA. Can I belong to the national chapter only and not a state or local chapter?

No. The AIA is a three-tier organization (national, state, and local), and members pay dues at all three levels. Per our bylaws, members must belong to all tiers of membership.

How much does it cost to join the AIA?

The AIA is a three-tier organization (national, state, and local), and members pay dues at all three levels. Each chapter determines its own dues, so rates vary. Your chapter location is determined by your zip code. For your chapter’s rates, please contact us at 800-242-3837, option 2.

I just joined the AIA. When will I receive my new member card, certification, and lapel pin?

Your new member packet will be delivered within 4–6 weeks.

I’m a new member. When will I receive ARCHITECT Magazine?

Your first edition of ARCHITECT magazine will be delivered within 4–6 weeks.

I can’t log in. What should I do?

Click here to reset your password.

What is my member number?

Email us at memberservices@aia.org, and we’ll send you your membership number.

How do I change my address or update my contact information?

Log in to your profile.

I just moved/relocated. How do I change my state or local chapters?

Send a completed transfer form to memberservices@aia.org. Allow 3–5 business days for processing.

How do I renew my AIA membership?

If you're a current member, you can renew online. Or call us at 800-242-3837, option 2. You can mail in your renewal to The American Institute of Architects, P.O. Box 64185, Baltimore, MD 21264-4185 or fax it to 202-626-7547.

When should I renew my membership?

AIA’s membership renewal cycle is on a calendar year. Annual dues are payable on or before January 15.

I’m a former AIA member. How do I reinstate my membership?

Complete this application. For dues information, contact us: memberservices@aia.org or 800-242-3837, option 2.

I have recently become licensed. How do I change my status from Associate to Architect?

Complete this form and send it to memberservices@aia.org. Please allow 3-5 business days for processing.

What are the qualifications for Emeritus status?

A member must have 15 successive years of membership, be age 70 or older, and fully retired from the practice of architecture. Contact your local chapter to determine your eligibility or request an application.

How do I order back issues of ARCHITECT magazine?

Email memberservices@aia.org with the list of issues you wish to receive.

How do I obtain proof of my current AIA membership?

Send a request for a membership verification letter to memberservices@aia.org.