California Architects

At its core, architecture is a people-centered enterprise and AIA California supports you throughout your career. Protecting your license, providing education to enrich your practice, and creating connections with other professionals throughout the state—we recognize your needs as an individual in this profession and create opportunities for you to engage.

Emerging Professionals

Are you an Emerging Professional? AIA California listens to your needs, provides opportunities for engagement, and advocates for a cultural shift to include, inspire, and empower the next generation of design professionals.

//resources for licensure

Guide to the California Licensure Process

Obtaining a professional license is a clear and compelling statement about one’s knowledge and qualifications to practice architecture and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Getting there is a rigorous process of education, experience, and examination—not an easy process, but to make it manageable, it’s broken down into five steps. There are licensing advisors to help you and a variety of resources at the state and local AIA Chapter levels. 

Need Help with Fees to get Licensed?

A scholarship to assist with testing and registration fees as well as study preparation materials is available, in honor of Paul W. Welch., Jr’s legacy and commitment to the architectural profession in California. This scholarship was created to celebrate Paul’s experiences with the California Architects Board (CAB), as well as his tenure as AIA California’s Executive Vice President. His unwavering belief in the power of the architectural license is demonstrated through this program which encourages candidates to complete the licensure process by covering all associated costs.

Statewide ARE Study Series is Free

AIA California has a pathway for emerging professionals to study and pursue licensure – The ARE California Study Hub. These statewide ARE study sessions and virtual study groups will serve as a hub for education, connection, and community. This portal will not replace other study materials or resources, rather it supplements them, serving as a network and allowing for collaboration between EPs and AIA professionals across California.

Study Hub

See all upcoming ARE Study Sessions in one place.


Architectural education prepares students to become meaningful contributors to the design and development of the built environment. AIA California supports this journey, providing financial support, resources, and connection to the profession in California.

//competitions & scholarships

Urban Design Awards for Students

Interested in showcasing big ideas for our communities? Enter the Urban Design Student Awards to demonstrate focus on the conception and expression of the idea through to the many phases of a master plan. Students from a NAAB accredited schools from across California are encouraged to participate.

Architecture at Zero

Architecture at Zero is a design competition for decarbonization, equity and resilience, open to students and professionals worldwide. It serves to engage the fields of architecture, design, engineering, and planning in the pursuit of sustainable design, responding to the challenges of equity and resilience through the design solution. Up to $25,000 in prizes are available!

The Chester and Diana Widom Architectural Education Scholarship

The Chester and Diana Widom Architectural Education Scholarship, in honor of Paul W. Welch also known as, The Widom Scholarship, was established in 2017 by Chet Widom, FAIA, and his wife Diana Widom. This scholarship provides opportunities to community college students from California to pursue their architectural education. Scholarship recipients receive up to $3,500 to help offset the costs of higher education in architecture and design. Awards can be used for qualified tuition and related expenses and/or to otherwise improve or enhance your capacity, skill or talent in the field of architecture.

Robert J. Kain Healthcare Design Education Scholarship

Founded by AIA California’s Healthcare Facilities Forum Committee in memory of their colleague, the Robert J. Kain Healthcare Design Education Scholarship, known as The Kain Scholarship, strives to encourage and support architecture students interested in pursuing a career in the design and delivery of hospitals and healing environments. With forces that continually shift and improve healthcare delivery, this scholarship opportunity supports the importance of developing the next generation of architects to create the innovative design and delivery needs of tomorrow’s healthcare facilities.

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