Architectural Licensing in South Dakota

Recently, licensing for professionals has become a very publicized topic of conversation as it pertains to workforce development in our state. Last year, during the legislative session, former Governor Dennis Daugaard introduced the Temporary Licensure Compact Bill, aimed to streamline the process for reciprocity for all licensed professionals. This bill lost the vote in the House in 2018, but as Governor Kristi Noem outlined in her State of the State address, reviewing licensing requirements is still a priority for the new administration.

As South Dakota’s current state Licensing Advisor for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, or NCARB, my duty is to serve as an information resource on the requirements of licensure for my state, as well as to advise and assist licensure candidates with the NCARB Record application process.

NCARB 100 Years.

For those who are unfamiliar with this entity, NCARB was created in 1919 to “facilitate the exchange of information on examining, licensing, and regulating architects, to foster uniformity in licensing and practice laws to facilitate reciprocal licensing, and to discuss the merits of various examining methods as well as the scope and content of licensing examinations.” This compact for professional architectural licensing has continued to evolve with the needs of the profession and public safety for the past 100 years. Learn about the history of NCARB here: NCARB Turns 100.

By using NCARB’s Licensing Requirement Tool, as shown in the cover image, the requirements for each state, district or territory have been outlined as to how to achieve an initial or reciprocal license. NCARB works with each state licensing board to ensure a standard of care to safely meet the needs of the public throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

NCARB also releases a document each year called ‘NCARB by the Numbers,” which examines various data points for architectural licensure. This document provides a report of several aspects of architectural licensing, including an update of each jurisdiction as shown below. Surprisingly, South Dakota has only about 126 resident licensed architects, however over 770 architects licensed to practice in South Dakota received their license through NCARB’s reciprocity system.

By the Numbers, NCARB. 2018

The items presented in this article are to introduce a short history of the current compact in place with an established process of becoming a licensed architect in South Dakota. We should, as architects, continue the conversation of licensure with the new administration to assure the public of the quality of licensed architects within our state. Again, as the South Dakota Licensing Advisor, I would happy to further discuss the process one would take to become a licensed architect in South Dakota. Please feel free to email any questions to me at

One Reply to “Architectural Licensing in South Dakota”

  1. Great article! Thanks for pointing out all the great resources for potential architects to gain licensure in South Dakota. I’ve been watching the updates to NCARB by the Numbers and I’m glad to see more architectural candidates submitting hours and completing exams! The 70% success rate is great!

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