Advocacy, Relevance|

If you are a candidate for an architects license you probably received an email from the California Architects Board (CAB) notifying you that beginning January 1, 2021, you must submit a full set of fingerprints in order to receive your initial license.  The purpose is allow the CAB to conduct a criminal background check.

That email may have caused you to ask a simple question: why?

Well, it is because the California Legislature amended the law last year to require the CAB to require candidates for an initial license to submit their fingerprints.  The CAB considered adopting the fingerprinting requirement in 2011 and 2012, but chose not to.  SB 608 from last year removed the decision from the CAB and mandated it implement this requirement.

And this might cause you to again ask that simple question: why?

It has become the policy of the State of California, with the support of the California Legislature, that applicants for an initial state license provide fingerprints for a criminal background check.  The justification is public protection.  For example, a person with convictions for embezzlement may not make the best Certified Public Accountant and the Board of Accountancy may wish to deny that person a license.

Candidates for an initial license in architecture and landscape architecture are the latest additions to the long list of professions that have this fingerprinting requirement.   Most of the professions are listed in Business and Professions Code Section 144.  The State Bar of California requires ALL attorneys to provide fingerprints, not just those who are seeking their initial license.

Another good question is why does this only apply to applicants for an initial license?  Why doesn’t it apply to those renewing their licenses?  Certainly there is a cost factor involved, and the logistics of processing hundreds of thousands of fingerprints a year.  Additionally, California law generally requires relevant criminal convictions of license holders to be reported to the holder’s licensing board.  For architects, that is found in Business and Professions Code Section 5590.

More information about this requirement can be found in a CAB FAQ on the fingerprinting requirement.

AIA California
AIA California
Celebrating over 75 years of service, the AIA California actively promotes the value of design and advocates for the architectural profession. AIA CA is an association of 11,000 dedicated and passionate members who share a commitment to design excellence and livability in California’s natural and built environments.

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