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AIA Kansas City is committed to advising and assisting aspiring architects navigate the path to licensure. If you are just starting your journey, please see the helpful links below. Don’t hesitate to contact your local Architect Licensing Advisor, Amy Tonyes, with any questions. Here are some helpful links to get you started.

Destination: Architect: Planning for your Professional Road Trip
Destination: Architect: Getting it Done
Getting started with NCARB
Participate in an Architectural Experience Program 
Take the Architect Registration Exam

Architect Registration Exam (ARE)

AIA Kansas City continues to provide support for interns who are preparing to or have already embarked on the journey to licensure. Hard copies of study materials are available for AIA members to check out for two weeks at a time. Other support includes registered practicing professional instructed study sessions. These study sessions are open to AIA Associate members. 

ARE Resources

NCARB ARE Study Guides
ARE Community
ARE 4.0 Video Prep Series

ARE Success Teams

This program teams up individuals preparing to start the examination, and helps future architects overcome testing challenges through a supportive, small group setting. Applications for ARE Success Teams go out each December.

More Information 


Licensure Matters:
Zach Stoltenberg, AIA

Licensure Matters is a monthly series where we feature newly licensed members in an effort to inspire those currently on their journey. If you're newly licensed and want to be a part of the conversation email

Zach Stoltenberg.JPGHow long did it take for you to complete your experience and all of the divisions of the exam?
Graduating in 2009 I got a very slow start in my experience portion, it took me 6 years to complete the Kansas required 3740 hours.  From beginning to end testing took me two years and two months, I took 9 months off after the birth of my youngest.  It's hard to study when you aren't sleeping!

What was your study/test taking strategy?
Routine.  I did the same thing every time.  I would print all of my study materials and make a binder for whichever division I was doing.  I felt like I had to have the print in front of me and I could take notes, highlight, margin, whatever I needed.  I would do a practice test to start and see where I was at to begin, I really felt like this would give me an idea of what areas I had good knowledge base and what things I really needed to study on.  I would study three nights a week for two months and I would schedule my exam when I started studying so I had a hard deadline to work towards and keep disciplined by.  I scheduled my exams for a Saturday afternoon so I could take Friday off as my "work approved" day and study at home all day Friday and go to bed early that night.  I'd do another practice exam on Friday so I knew where I was compared to where I started.  Saturday morning I could still study any areas I felt like I needed to brush up on after my last practice exam.  I would typically head in early to the exam and stop for lunch across the street from the testing center, making sure that I was well rested and not hungry before heading in.  Lastly I just really tried to stay calm and not get overwhelmed or have any anxiety before heading in.  Routine helped me a lot in that respect because it became something that was very comfortable.

How did you stay motivated?
Honestly, my biggest source of motivation was my family.  My wife was super supportive and spent many date nights curled up on the couch with a glass of wine quizzing me on questions and sample problems.  I also really enjoyed getting plugged into the different online communities and going back and forth with the people I work with who were also testing.  Lastly, I was privileged to serve on NCARB's Think Tank committee in 2016 and our group really made an effort to support and encourage one another to push through the process and finish licensing.  It was really motivational to see my fellow think tankers knocking out exam after exam and sharing in each other's success.  There is camaraderie in the process so get plugged into a group of people either in person or online who are also in the process.

Why was earning a license important to you?
It was always a personal goal, one I set for myself in 8th grade when I decided I wanted to be an architect.  There's of course lots of additional benefits/value to a license and that's different for everyone, and I suppose I shared a lot of the main ones.  Additional career opportunities, flexibility in working for myself, increased salary expectations, etc. are all huge benefits and value to holding a license, but above all I felt like achieving my license was a way to improve myself.  The studying made me a better architect in my daily role and positions, and it gave me an opportunity to better serve my company, and provided a challenge that motivated me to be better and do better.

What advice do you have for others going through the process?
Do it, stop making excuses, make it a priority, and get it done!  It's not an impossible thing and shouldn't be overwhelming, thousands of people do it every year and you can too.  Also, life will get in the way, things happen, jobs change, kids and families form, there are a thousand excuses available for you to stall out.  Don't make excuses, if you need to take time do, and re-group when you are ready to move ahead.  If you fail an exam, it's OK, don't let it trip you up or discourage you from trying again.  There is value in failure and we are fallible, that's how we learn.

How did your firm support your journey?
I actually worked for a couple of different firms during the process.  My current firm, Hoefer Wysocki, is very supportive and covers time off for exams, pays for your exam costs, provides study materials, etc. We are developing an internal professional development track for our non-licensed professionals and have great mentoring and experience opportunities. They really foster a company culture that encourages licensure and are great about partnering with you to help you achieve your goals. We celebrate all our recent licensees at our monthly rendezvous meetings and there is good recognition of the importance of the accomplishment.  My previous firms were not as supportive, even using my lack of a license as an excuse for not granting me a desired raise or promotion or being critical of the process as a whole. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge that the profession currently faces?
Equity.  I think Architecture as a whole is making great strides in comparison to other professions, however we have a ways to go in achieving true equity in the practice of architecture.  The gender pay gap for male and female architects still exists and it shouldn't, the way we value roles in a company or who is deemed "qualified" for a position should not be based on gender, race, or on a perceived client reaction to someone.  There is value in every level of staff and we have the opportunity to lead by example in the professional world.  I really applaud those firms who have focused efforts on opportunities, training, and staff development across the board to better achieve equity in their offices and feel like it makes for the strongest and best teams that I have been a part of.  I'm truly proud of the people I work with and the values my company practices and look forward to being a part of additional development and improvement in achieving true equity in architecture. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge that the profession currently faces?
The biggest challenge facing the profession today is relevance. To the vast majority of the population that we typically don't work with, architects are mystical. They don't know what we do. To those we work with, architects are seen as commodities or unrealistic artists. An architect gets a job with a low fee and bending to the will of the Owner or by building a project that wins architecture awards but doesn't serve the client well. Neither of which propel the profession forward. 


Questions About Licensure

Contact Amy Tonyes at (816) 979 3187 or

Architectural Experience Program (AXP) Guidelines


Architect Registration Examination (ARE) 4.0 Guidelines


Architect Registration Examination (ARE) 5.0 Guidelines




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