AACA Update on the Coronavirus COVID-19 (16 March 2020)

The AACA is continuing to monitor the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation. We are following the guidance of the Commonwealth and State Health Departments on appropriate steps. Given the evolving Coronavirus situation in Australia, the AACA has determined that the APE National Examination Paper currently scheduled for the 21 April will be postponed until 18 August.

The decision to postpone the NEP was made by the AACA after considering advice from AACA consultants, current Government advice on restrictions on gatherings of people – currently of 500 persons but likely to be tightened further – and projections of the spread of the virus over the next 6 weeks.

Candidates will be automatically enrolled in the National Examination Paper on 18 August. All Candidates will be advised of this postponement in the notice of outcome letter for APE Stage 1 issued by the Architect Registration Boards.

For further information contact your local Architect Registration Board.

Can I get a refund?

There will be no refunds as the NEP is postponed to the 18 August not cancelled outright. If you consider exceptional circumstances apply, then you should contact your local Architect Registration Board.

What happens if I am outside the 2 year period for completion of the all parts of the APE due to the postponement of the NEP on 21 April?

The 2 year period for completion of the all parts of the APE due to the postponement of the NEP on 21 April will take into account any postponements of Parts 2 and 3.

Will my Part 3 interview be delayed?

All interviews will be held post the NEP on the 18 August.

Accreditation of Architecture Programs

What is the Architecture Program Accreditation Procedure in Australia and New Zealand?

The Architecture Program Accreditation Procedure in Australia and New Zealand sets out the peer review process through which all architecture programs in Australia are assessed against the accreditation standard, generally once every five years or ten semester equivalent. This assessment is made by an independent Accreditation Review Panel, composed of practicing architects and academics, which then makes a recommendation on whether and for how long a program should be accredited. The decision on accreditation is made by the relevant architect registration board.

The Procedure is administered by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia on behalf of the State and Territory architect registration boards who are responsible for the regulation of architects via the State and Territory Architects Acts. The New Zealand Architects Registration Board licences the Procedure from the AACA for the purpose of accrediting architecture programs in New Zealand.

You can access the Architecture Program Accreditation Procedure in Australia and New Zealand here, noting that the Procedure consists of a primary document and a number of support documents. All of the Procedure documents can be found on the Publications page.

Why do university architecture programs need to be accredited?

A prerequisite for architectural registration in all Australian States and Territories is the completion of a university program in architecture (or accepted equivalent) accredited by the architect registration boards in each State and Territory in Australia. Accreditation of university programs provides confidence that graduates have achieved the required fundamental competencies for them to progress on the path towards registration.

Do I need to have an accredited Australian degree to become a registered architect?

Generally yes, as the most common pathway to architectural registration is to obtain an Australian accredited Master of Architecture qualification following a five year program of study followed by successful completion of the Architectural Practice Examination.

However, accredited degrees from New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore allow entry to the Architectural Practice Examination and five year architectural programs of study from other countries may be accepted following successful completion of the AACA’s Overseas Qualifications Assessment process or the AACA’s National Program of Assessment, a practical examination which can grant exemption from the requirement to hold an accredited architecture qualification.

Experienced overseas and local practitioners who meet specific eligible criteria may also be eligible for the fast-track to registration assessment. Further information on the different pathways to registration can be found here.

What is an accredited Australian architecture qualification?

In Australia, the accredited qualification is normally the Master of Architecture degree. Bachelor-level degrees are not accredited. In practice, most students first complete the provider’s designated pathway qualification at Bachelor level. This Bachelor level qualification is specifically intended to dovetail with the provider’s Masters degree and to expose students progressively to the required concepts and skills for entry to the Master of Architecture. Providers may also accept students into their Masters degree from a variety of prior education experiences, in accordance with the provider’s policies.

Are Bachelor programs in architecture accredited?

No. The Master of Architecture is the program accredited for the purpose of registration by the Architect Registration Boards in Australia and New Zealand. Pre-professional degrees (eg. Bachelor degrees) or other preparatory programs that may serve as a pre-requisite for admission to a professional degree program are not accredited. Students with a successful performance in a relevant pathway bachelor degree are generally guaranteed admission to the accredited Master’s program, while students with other suitable degrees are admitted on a case-by-case basis. It is up to each provider to establish their own entry requirements and assessment processes to ensure that students entering their Masters programs have demonstrated prior achievement of necessary competencies.

Who makes the decision about program accreditation?

The eight state and territory architect registration boards have statutory responsibility for the accreditation of architectural programs of study within their jurisdictions. Programs accredited in one jurisdiction are recognised in all states and territories (and New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore). Assessment for accreditation occurs through the conduct of an Accreditation Review Panel. By agreement, architect registration boards are guided by the recommendations of the Accreditation Review Panel, however they are not bound to accept those recommendations. A decision by an architect registration board not to grant accreditation is usually reviewable under the administrative appeals arrangements applying in the respective state or territory.

What is the standard for accreditation of architecture programs?

For the purposes of accreditation, architecture programs are required to demonstrate that graduates meet 37 of the 70 Performance Criteria in the National Standard of Competency for Architects.  

How long is the accreditation period for architecture programs?

The default period of accreditation is five years or 10 semesters.

How can I find out which programs are accredited?

A list of accredited university programs in architecture is included on the AACA website – see here.

Does the Accreditation Procedure assess qualifications from overseas universities?

The Accreditation Procedure only applies to qualifications in Australia and (under licence) in New Zealand. Qualifications from other countries (excepting Hong Kong and Singapore where Australia has a Mutual Recognition Agreement in place) are individually assessed under the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia’s Overseas Qualifications Assessment process.

How is the Accreditation Procedure funded?

The Accreditation Procedure is funded equally by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia on behalf of the Architect Registration Boards and the providers of accredited programs.

From January 2018 funding of the Accreditation Procedure is based on full cost recovery arrangements and incorporate transparent financial accounting and reporting on an annual basis. Costs include all Accreditation Panel costs, inclusive of the costs incurred in running the Secretariat, operation of required management systems (primarily via the new Accreditation Management Committee), and training of Standing Panel Members. Some accreditation activities, such as pre-accreditation Program Advice, are funded on a fee-for-service arrangement.

What are the Knowledge Domains and how are they incorporated in the Accreditation Program Accreditation Procedure?

The Knowledge Domains underpin the entire National Standard of Competency for Architects and do relate to every Performance Criteria; they provide context as to the practice environment. A Provider does not need to provide evidence of achievement of each Knowledge Domain for each of the required Performance Criteria.  A Provider may use the Knowledge Domains to assist in their underpinning description of their achievement of a particular Performance Criteria.

How should a Provider report on proposed or actual changes to their program?

Refer to Page 21 of the Accreditation Procedure that outlines Provider Annual Reporting, and the need for program changes are to be reported via this mechanism.

The Provider Annual Reporting mechanism commenced in 2019. 

What advice can AACA provide to students about studying  architecture and pathways to registration as an architect in Australia?

Students or potential students wishing to study architecture and later register as an architect in Australia should consider the information available here: Information for students

Architectural Practice Exam

What should be studied in preparation for the Architectural Practice Examination?

The scenarios upon which the questions are based are written by practicing architects based on situations found across the range of practice in architecture. The scenarios test one or more performance criteria that may be tested in Part 2 of the Architectural Practice Examination. Part 3 examination by interview focuses each candidate’s experience and knowledge applied in the context of the specified performance criteria from the National Standard of Competency for Architects. See here for the required performance criteria that may be examined in the Architectural Practice Examination and here for the link to general info about the Architectural Practice Examination.

Are there any training courses available prior to undertaking the Architectural Practice Examination?

Most Registration Boards offer a briefing session for candidates and there are several preparatory programs available for candidate. Details can be obtained by contacting the Boards directly. See here for link to Board websites.

How often is the National Examination Paper held?

There are 2 sessions of the Architectural Practice Examination each year.  The National Examination Paper is generally held in April and August each year.  Examination dates are published on the AACA website.

Contact the architect registration board in your state or territory should you require further information.

 Can I sit the exam on a different date?

No.  There are 2 sessions of the Architectural Practice Examination each year. The National Examination Paper dates are published on the AACA website. Contact the architect registration board in your state or territory should you require further information.

What does the National Examination Paper look like?

  • The National Examination Paper comprises 9 scenarios:
  • Each scenario has 5 multiple choice questions
  • Each multiple choice question has one correct answer
  • Each multiple choice question is worth one mark
  • Correct answers score as one mark – incorrect answers score as zero marks

See for here a sample scenario question.

How long is the National Examination Paper?

Candidates have 75 minutes to complete the exam (which includes ten minutes reading time), you must arrive at least 30 minutes before the start time.  

Where is the exam centre for the National Examination Paper?

Once your Logbook and Statement of Practical Experience has been assessed and accepted by the Board you will receive notification of the details of the test centre. Your personal exam log-on details will be provided by the Invigilators on the day of the exam.

Will I need to bring anything to the examination centre?

Just bring your photo identification. Your personal exam log-on details will be provided by the Invigilators on the day of the exam. Candidates will be provided with either a laptop or desktop device to undertake the exam and IT support will be on hand at the test centre to assist with any technical issues.

Who supervises the examination?

The exam will be invigilated by Board staff who will check candidates’ photo ID on the day. IT support will be available at the centre in the unlikely circumstances that technical assistance is required.

How do I know if I passed the National Examination Paper?

You will receive your results directly from the Boards generally within 3 weeks of the date of the National Examination Paper. All candidates will receive feedback based on the Performance Criteria.

Candidates who have been successful in the exam can apply to sit Part 3, Examination by Interview through their local Board.

How important is the statement of practical experience?

The statement of experience is very important and should be well considered and clearly expressed as it will be discussed in the Part 3 interview. It is important that this statement encompasses the candidate’s overall experience and is clearly linked to your logged experience.

What are the submission requirements for the Electronic Logbook?

All of this information can be found in our website here. Applications are submitted to the architect registration board in your state or territory. Some states and territories now only accept on-line applications, so check with them for specific for submission requirements.

Duplicate Copies of Documents

I have lost or no longer possess an original copy of my skills assessment letter. Can I request a duplicate copy?

Yes, you may request a duplicate copy of your skills assessment letter. However, you will have to provide the following before the duplicate can be issued:

  • Completed Request Form 
  • A fee of AU$25.00 for reissue of skills assessment letter.  The payment must be made online by Visa or Master Card.  To make payment, see here

Experienced Practitioner Assessment FAQs

Am I eligible for the Experienced Practitioner Assessment?

Applicants for the Experienced Practitioner Program must have completed a professional qualification in architecture of 5 years or equivalent and have experience as a primary decision maker in at least 4-6 complex projects. See the Guide for details.  If you do not meet these eligibility criteria, please check here for more information on all the pathways to registration as an architect in Australia.  

I have an overseas professional qualification in architecture, which is less than 5 years in duration. Am I eligible to apply for the Experienced Practitioner program?

You are eligible as long as your completed professional qualification at the time of your graduation was the professional qualification required for you to practice as an architect in your home country.

What is the definition of executive level experience?

Most commonly, you would have worked as a project leader in a primary decision making role, not-withstanding that you may have reported back to the director or other senior staff members, especially in a larger firm.

I undertook 2 years of my 7 years work experience after I completed my Bachelor degree and before I commenced my Master of Architecture qualification. Do these 2 years count towards the required seven years of work experience?

No. Only work experience gained post completion of the five years of professional study counts towards the required seven years of post-graduation experience in the Experienced Practitioner Assessment.

I have worked on large single houses. Can these projects be considered as complex projects?

Generally, single dwelling residential projects would not be considered a complex project. Single residences and other projects that do not meet the definition of complex projects in the Experienced Practitioner Assessment can be submitted as a fifth or sixth portfolio project in addition to the four complex projects.  See the Guide for more information.

Most of my complex project experience was completed overseas, and in Australia I have been mainly working on smaller scale buildings. Is there a time limit for a complex project to be submitted in the portfolio?

The complex project experience in at least four projects should not be older than ten years. You can submit older projects for the two additional projects.

Do all of the portfolio projects have to be completely built?

One or two projects that have at least passed the DA stage, or are under construction can be submitted in the portfolio as long as the majority of projects (four projects out of six) has been built.

Do both of my referees have to be Australian registered architects?

The primary reference needs to be from an Australian registered architect. The secondary reference could be prepared by a consultant, builder or client who was involved in one or more of your portfolio projects.

Can one of the references come from an architect registered overseas?

The secondary reference could be from an architect registered overseas providing they can comment on your professional involvement in overseas projects.  The primary reference needs to be from an Australian registered architect who can comment on your professional capacity to operate to the standard expected of an architect in Australia. See here for more information.

One of my references is older than three years. Can I submit this reference?

To ascertain the currency of the professional work experience, it is important that both required references are within the three year period unless exceptional circumstances apply.  In some cases, an older reference could be considered as a third reference, provided it is not more than ten years old.

Can one of the referees be a non-practising architect?

The registered architect should be a practising architect. We would accept a non-practising architect only if he/she has moved into the non-practising category no longer than 6-12 months ago and their name is still on the register.

I set up my own practice a few years ago working as a sole practitioner and I can’t obtain a reference from a registered architect from my current place of work.

One of your referees has to be a registered architect in Australia. This referee might not come from your current place of work, but the referee needs to be in a position to comment on your professional capacity to operate to the standard expected of an architect in Australia.

Do I have to have experience in every performance criteria within one project?

At least one box needs to be ticked against each Performance Criteria and may relate to any of the projects listed in the Checklist.

I work together with my partner, who is a registered architect in Australia. Can I use my partner as a referee?

No, the AACA does not accept references from family members.

I am not sure if my projects can be regarded as complex projects.

Please refer to the definition of complex projects in the EPA Guide. You can send us a brief email with a few photos of the projects you are unsure about.

I have mainly been involved at the design phases but I have no executive experience during the project delivery stage of my complex projects. Would I be eligible?

To be eligible for this pathway, we expect you to have project delivery experience on at least one of the complex projects submitted in your portfolio.

Is it acceptable to prove one of the criteria without having the experience directly?

This is not acceptable, as the level of application in the EPA program requires the application of knowledge and skill.

Does all the work experience have to be under the supervision of a registered architect?

No, you do not have to have worked under a registered architect. However, one of your referees needs to be a registered Australian architect who is required to comment on your professional capacity to operate to the standard expected of an architect in Australia on one or more of your portfolio projects.

If I have a previous Stage 1 Assessment and then fail the Experienced Practitioner Assessment, can I go straight through to the APE?

You will have to pass a modified version of the OQA Stage 2 first.

How to find an architect

How can I check whether an architect is registered?

In each State and Territory of Australia it is a legal requirement that any person using the title ‘Architect’ or offering services to the public as an Architect, must be registered with the Architects’ registration board in that jurisdiction. You can search the architect register in most Australian jurisdictions online at the Architect Registration Board in your state and Territory.

Logbook of Practical Experience

How do I download the logbook?

The AACA Logbook is an Excel document.  Ensure you download the latest version of the Logbook from the Publications Page of the AACA Website.

  • Clear browser history from your computer
  • Download AACA Logbook
  • Enable Macros (MAC users: If the ‘drop down’ tabs are not displaying when you select a field, go to ‘page layout’ from ‘view’ on the toolbar).
  • Save logbook as xlsm
  • Start entering your hours in the log sheets 1-80 (keep in page lay-out view)
  • The summary sheets will calculate automatically when you have logged all your hours
  • Go to View in the menu bar across the top and click “normal” not page layout

Refer to Logbook Guidance for further information.

I have used up all the pages in my logbook

There are 80 sheets in the Logbook in which experience can be recorded.  Each sheet can have one project and cover 3 months at a time.  The Logbook cannot be extended to more than 80 sheets.  Applicants will need to consider how they structure their Logbook to ensure the 80 pages are sufficient to record the minimum required hours.

Candidates could condense the logbook to reflect the minimum 3,300 hours by trying to use most recent projects.  It is best to frame the logbook around the projects that will form part of the Statement of Practical Experience.

Can I re-order the pages of my logbook

Sequential date order of the log sheets is not mandatory.

Is there a password for the Log Sheets so that I may unlock them for my editing purposes?

The log sheets are password protected and cannot be edited.  If you try to edit or delete log sheets, the calculations and formulas embedded in the log sheets will be deleted and this will affect the Competency Summary Sheet and the formatting of your logbook.  

AACA is unable to assist when this happens and candidates will need to download the logbook a new version of the logbook.

From when can I count my post-graduate experience?  Is it from the date I received confirmation that I had passed my last subject and thus completed my degree, or is it the date my degree was formally conferred?

Post-graduation experience commences from the date listed on the academic transcript issued by your university.

Is there a mandatory minimum requirement for how many years an applicant must have pre and post qualification?

Candidates must have a minimum of 12 months experience subsequent to successfully completing this qualification in architecture; candidates must have 12 months of logged experience in Australia.

If my testamur is lost, can I submit a Statement of Results or Academic Transcript?

Yes, you may submit either Statement of Results or Academic Transcript issued by your university.

Can I start logging hours while I am studying or do I have to wait until I complete my Masters?

One year of practical experience is required subsequent to successfully completing an approved qualification in architecture.   You may log one year of experience prior to graduation. 

I don’t have professional experience on ‘Complex Projects’, can I still complete the Logbook. 

It is not a requirement that all the hours recorded in the Logbook are from tasks completed on a ‘Complex Project’.  However, Parts 2 & 3 of the Architectural Practice Examination will examine candidates under the context of a ‘Complex Project’.

Do I have to have my log sheets signed by my supervising architect/employer?

It is no longer a requirement to have your logbook signed off by a supervising architect/employer.  The Statutory Declaration signed by applicants attests to the accuracy of the all the documentation being submitted.  

 The person I’ve been working under isn’t registered.  Can I still log my experience? 

Candidates can log experience as an employee in a building design firm, or an employee in a firm in an allied field in the construction industry, or in relevant government agencies, or gained independently in a self-employed capacity.  However, experience gained by candidates when working independently or working as an employee of a non-architectural firm must be gained at executive (decision-making) level.

The person I’ve been working under is registered overseas but not in Australia.  How do I note this in the logbook?

This person is not recognised as an architect in Australia.  Therefore, experience gained not under the supervision of an architect (ie experience gained as an employee in a building design firm, or an employee in a firm in an allied field in the construction industry, or in relevant government agencies, or gained independently in a self-employed capacity  must be gained at executive (decision making) level.

An architect I worked for has retired and is no longer registered, neither practising or non-practising.  What should I put against their registration number?

In these circumstances, you are not able to complete this field.  Note, the Statutory Declaration signed by you attests to the accuracy of all documentation submitted.

Can I log overseas experience?

You can log up to 12 months overseas experience in the APE logbook.  However, you must log a minimum of 12 months of relevant experience in Australia.

If I have logged more than one year experience working for an architect in Australia, can I log more than one year of overseas experience if I want to show completeness of my experience on an overseas project?

You may refer to additional experience overseas in your Statement of Practical Experience in the CV component of your application.

I work for a builder, can I log my hours? 

Practical experience may be gained as an employee of an architectural firm under the supervision of an architect, or as an employee in a building design firm, or an employee in a firm in an allied field in the construction industry, or in relevant government agencies, or gained independently in a self-employed capacity.  

Experience gained by candidates when working as an employee of a non-architectural firm must be gained at executive (decision-making) level. 

I want to consider some of my experience as a participant or an observant and the person who is observing/mentoring me is a non-practising architect.  Can I still consider the hours that I’ve worked under her supervision in my logbook?

Experience gained not under the supervision of a practising architect (ie experience gained as an employee in a building design firm, or an employee in a firm in an allied field in the construction industry, or in relevant government agencies, or gained independently in a self-employed capacity  must be gained at executive (decision making) level.

I don’t understand the Performance Criteria, can you please provide me with further explanation? 

The Performance Criteria are self-explanatory.  The National Standard of Competency identifies the primary activities that are fundamental to practice of architecture and in relation to which an architect is expected to demonstrate competence in the delivery of professional services.

Competency Standards are occupational functions (expressed as Performance Criteria) that a candidate should be able to perform effectively in an ordinary work environment. 

Candidates are to decide how their individual experience relates to the Performance Criteria. 

We cannot provide specific advice on how experience should be logged against the required performance as the context of the experience of each candidate will vary. 

You may seek advice from your supervising architect or colleague re specific queries about how your experience relates to the required performance criteria. 

How do I log my experience against the Performance Criteria?

It is up to candidates to decide how they will allocate their relevant experience against the required performance.  Candidates should view the performance criteria in the context of the four units and nine elements of competency and then allocate experience against the required performance criteria accordingly.

We cannot provide specific advice on how experience should be logged against the required performance as the context of the experience of each candidate will vary. 

You may seek advice from your supervising architect or colleague re specific queries about how your experience relates to the required performance criteria. 

 I am confused about the 3 Levels of Experience.

  • Executive – experience gained as the principal decision-maker on a project. 
  • Participant – experience gained as a team member or operative working under the instruction or supervision of a responsible person. 
  • Observer – experience gained by careful observation of procedures and practices carried out by others.

Is there a specific project phase/order attached to the Performance Criteria?

Each candidate decides how to map their experience. There is no project or phase order requirement as it may differ across work places and projects.

My experience is 10+ years old, can I use it? 

Experience over ten years old cannot be logged; however, you can include experience obtained more than ten years prior to application to the Architectural Practice Examination in your summary CV which forms part of your Statement of Practical Experience.

Does the full-time equivalent of 8 weeks refer to the length of time you worked on a particular project? Or is it referring to a min of 8 weeks employment to be able to count hours from that workplace?

As a general Rule, work experience less than the equivalent of 8 weeks full time duration may not be credited.  This is because in order to obtain genuine work experience to achieve competency in a performance criteria, the AACA considers a candidate should work on a PROJECT for a reasonable period of time.  

Assessors in your State will decide on a case by case whether they will accept periods of less than eight weeks on a project based upon as assessment of each candidate’s logbook and statement of practical experience as a whole.

In the Logbook, what does “Construction Type” mean?

Construction refers to the building typology eg residential refurbishment.

Area of the project: is this referring to the site area or gross floor area?

Gross floor area. 

If I am working for an architect in Australia but the project is located overseas, should I describe that experience as local or overseas?


Period of the project:  is it the period the project commenced until it ends or is it the period of my participation?  What if the project is still under construction but I will no longer be working with the company so I have no idea when it will complete?

Period of Participation.

Cost:  What does this mean? Or I don’t know the cost of the project/the cost of the project is confidential.  Can I leave this information out?

This refers to the cost of the project. 

In circumstances where candidates cannot disclose the cost or do not have access to the information, they should make a note to explain the situation in the Statement of Practical Experience.

I have signed a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement for one of my projects.  Can I log the hours worked on this project?  If so, is it acceptable to put ‘confidential’ in all the project information?

Make a note to explain the situation in the Statement of Practical Experience.

Does AACA have any advice on how an applicant will represent experience if they have had a falling out with employer(s)?

 Employers no longer have to sign off on a candidate’s logbook – candidates submit a Statutory Declaration attesting to the accuracy of all the documentation submitted.

Is there a standard format for the Statement of Practical Experience?

 The Statement of Practical Experience should be well considered and clearly expressed, as it will be discussed in the Part 3 Interview.  It is important that this statement encompasses the candidate’s overall experience and is clearly linked to your logged experience.

Candidates should keep in mind the following when preparing and finalising the Statement of Practical Experience:

  • It is correctly formatted and adequately cross referenced to the Performance Criteria
  • It clearly identifies the level experience across each project
  • It includes sufficient project details to allow APE Part 3 Examiners to appreciate the scope of work, its cost, floor area and nature of construction
  • It demonstrates an understanding of the Performance Criteria
  • It demonstrates sufficient evidence to support the claimed experience in the Logbook
  • The title ‘architect’ is correctly used across the Statement and CV
  • The registration status of the supervising architect is correct

 If some of my experience is self-employed, do I use 3,000 words in my Statement of practical Experience?

If some or all logged experience is not under the supervision of an architect, candidates can write 3000 words (maximum) in the Statement of Practical Experience. 

 In the Statement should I only reference the 15 criteria from the Logbook or should I reference more if my experience covers them?

Candidates should reference additional PCs if demonstrated in their experience.

Is the 2000 word limit approximate or an absolute maximum?

As above.

What is the minimum time an applicant can declare they worked without supervision to allow them to utilise the higher word limit for their statement?

This is at the candidate’s discretion.

I have successfully completed the National Program of Assessment.  Do I have to have 12 months experience after completing the NPrA before I apply for the APE?

 Candidates who are successful in completing the AACA NPrA Program may apply for the next session of the APE providing they meet the requirements of a minimum of 3,300 hours of experience that ranges over all 15 Performance Criteria; and 12 months of logged experience in Australia.


Mutual Recognition

Are there any Mutual Recognition Agreements in place between Australia and overseas countries?

Mutual recognition with New Zealand applies through the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement. Currently registered architects wishing to become registered in New Zealand under the terms of this agreement should contact the New Zealand Registered Architects Board.

The USA/New Zealand/Australia allows for Australian architects to be registered in 30 US states and territories without completing further examinations. See here for more details.  

Australia is a signatory to the APEC Architect Mutual Recognition Agreement. Currently there are mutual recognition agreements in place with Japan, Singapore and Canada.

Overseas Qualifications Assessment

How can I have my overseas qualifications in architecture assessed for migration purposes?

Details about the AAAC’s Overseas Qualifications Assessment process is found here.

Can you tell me whether my overseas qualification is recognised by AACA?

The AACA considers applications on a case by case basis. Therefore, we cannot provide advice on a qualification until a full application together with supporting documentation and payment of the fee has been received. See here for information on AACA’s overseas assessment process and links to application forms.

If my overseas qualification is assessed as not suitable for the occupation architect for migration purposes, will AACA advise me how I can upgrade my qualifications to be able to meet the requirements? 

The assessment of overseas qualifications is a two-stage process. Stage 1 – Provisional Assessment is a desk based assessment of academic qualifications obtained by coursework. Once resident in Australia and regardless of the outcome of the Stage 1 assessment applicants can apply for Stage 2. The Final Assessment is a detailed assessment of applicants’ experience gained through academic or professional practice. If unsuccessful in Stage 2, advice is provided on areas of deficiencies and top up studies are recommended as a requirement for the offer of a second interview. 

I had a Provisional Assessment a few years ago but my qualifications were found to be not suitable. Now that I have more experience I’d like to apply again. 

If you are a resident in Australia and you have completed a Provisional Assessment regardless of the outcome you should undertake the Overseas Qualifications Assessment Stage 2 – Final Assessment. In the portfolio required for this assessment you may provide through academic or professional practice.

If you are not a resident in Australia, you may only re-apply if you have completed additional qualifications in studies related to architecture.

I’d like to have my qualifications assessed but am waiting for my university to provide one of the required documents. Can I submit my application now and send the remaining documents later?

Applications must be complete when submitted, with all supporting documents in the required format. See here.

How long is my skills assessment valid for?

For the purpose of migration, assessments are valid for three years. If your assessment is older than that and your need an assessment for your visa application we are able to re-issue the outcome statement for a small fee. See our forms and fees page here.

What is the level of English language competency required by AACA?

For a Provisional Assessment AACA has no English language requirement. For a Final Assessment a standard English proficiency test is required if the qualification obtained was not undertaken in English. An IELTS Test Certificate (scoring 6.5 or above), or equivalent or a letter from an employer certifying English language proficiency is sufficient evidence.

Can I apply for Stage 2 when my OQA Stage 1 outcome was unsuccessful?

Yes, you can apply for Stage 2 when you reside in Australia and hold a valid visa for at least 12 weeks.

Can I include more than 4 projects?

You can refer to additional projects under the final section ‘Miscellaneous’ (no project title to be included). This section can only refer to knowledge-based (K) criteria (not A or S criteria that have to be mapped against one of your projects).

Do I have to map each of the 37 performance criteria (PC) against each of the included projects?

You only have to include one reference for each of the criteria, or two – as outlined in the NSCA criteria list – for A and S criteria under the section E3 (Conceptual Design) and E4 (Schematic Design). Altogether, the minimum amount of examples is 50 (one for each of the 37, plus a second example for the 13 A and S criteria of section E3 and E4).

Do I need to provide two examples for K criteria of units E3 (Conceptual) and E4 (Schematic Design)? 

No, we ask for only one reference for criteria referring to knowledge acquisition (K).

What can we present under the final portfolio section ‘Miscellaneous’?

You can reference additional project extracts or sketches (including projects that are not your own), figures or screen captures of web pages where we can source building regulations, a code of conduct, standards for contracting; basically anything that would be in general applicable to projects. You can map K criteria either against one of your projects or refer to these to Miscellaneous examples.

Can I include more examples for some of the performance criteria (PC)?

You can include more references, but there is no need to include more than what is listed in the NSCA performance criteria checklist. Assessors prefer brief but specific responses. Avoid repetitive responses. 

Do I have to include a student project?

We recommend to include one student project (for example, the final design project) as basis for a discussion during the Stage 2 interview, however, it’s also fine to include professional projects only.

Can I include in the portfolio my CV? What else do you need or can I include?

Please don’t include any additional content (e.g. a CV, certificates or a list of computational skills.) However, you can include design awards or any publications that are relevant to your architectural designs. 

Can I address more than one performance criterion on a portfolio page?

Some of the performance criteria (PC) are similar and can be addressed with the same figure and a joined response. We recommend to include not more than 2 or 3 PC on one portfolio page. When grouping responses, allow for white space and identify/label the relevant figure and written response.

Do I need to enter in the Project Proforma form for how long I’ve worked on each of the professional projects?

Please enter in which calendar year(s) you’ve worked on each of the projects (e.g. 2018; 2019-current), we do not ask for the duration.

What level of English language competency is required? Does it have to be an IELTS test?

AACA accepts an IELTS test (Academic or General) with an overall band score of 6.5 or higher (we don’t ask for a minimum score for each band scale), or of comparable level including other typical tests such as PTE Academic, TOEFL IBT, Cambridge C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency. The test reports shouldn’t be older than 3 years. As per guide we also accept a letter from your current employer.

What happens after my portfolio has been approved?

After receiving positive feedback on your portfolio and other documents, you will receive an invitation for the OQA Stage 2 assessment interview. When passing the interview you will receive a positive outcome letter from us (and a Skills Assessment letter if you would need it for immigration purposes). You are then eligible to apply for the three-part Architectural Practice Examination (APE) with the relevant architect registration board to register as architect. The APE is offered twice per year, please be aware of the deadlines.

How long does it take to process an application for skills assessment?

Generally it takes a maximum of 12 weeks to process applications once complete applications are received. If documentation is not complete, not properly certified or translated, or the fee is not paid in the prescribed way the assessment may take longer as assessments cannot be completed until all documentation requirements have been fully met.

I’ve recently completed an accredited Australian architecture qualification, having previously completed a Bachelor of Architecture overseas. I’d like to have my qualifications assessed for migration purposes. What documents should I provide?

You do not have to provide the Bachelor degree documents if your Master’s qualification is listed as an Accredited Australian Architecture Qualification. You should apply for a verification of your Australian qualification, see here.

How long does it take to process an application for verification of an Australian qualification for migration purposes?

Applications for verification of Australian qualifications for migration purposes usually take no more than four weeks to complete, provided the fee and complete documentation is provided in accordance with AACA’s requirements. See here

Registration – no recognised qualification

I’ve been involved with building design for many years but I have no architecture qualifications. Can I become registered as an architect?
The National Program of Assessment was introduced for people who have substantial skill and experience in the architectural profession have no formal qualification in architecture, or whose qualification has assessed as not-equivalent to an accredited qualification.

The National Program of Assessment is recognised by all Australian registration authorities as an alternative entry to the Architectural Practice Exam, successful completion of which is required before applying to a State and Territory registration board to become registered as an architect.

AACA logo white

Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
Gadigal Country
Suite 3, Level 5, 75 Castlereagh Street

Located on Gadigal Country, the AACA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.