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South Carolina

In South Carolina, S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-10 provides that the Board of Architectural Examiners is created under the administration of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.  The purpose of this board is to regulate the practice of architecture in South Carolina.  Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-20, “Architect” means an individual who, by reason of the individual’s general knowledge of the principles of architecture acquired by professional education and practical experience, is qualified to engage in the practice of architecture as attested by the individual’s registration as an architect.  S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-30 (A) provides that no individual may engage in the practice of architecture without a license issued in accordance with this chapter.  An individual is considered to engage in the practice of or offer to engage in the practice of architecture who in any manner represents himself to be an architect or who performs or holds himself/herself out as able to perform any architectural service or other services recognized by educational authorities as architecture.

Only an individual licensed under this chapter may use the title “architect”.  An individual assuming the title of architect or engaging in the practice of architecture in this State must be skilled in the principles of design and construction so that the individual may be entrusted with the design and review of construction of buildings without undue risk to the public safety.  Before assuming the title “architect” or undertaking the work, the individual shall have a certificate of registration from the board.  A firm offering to engage in the practice of architecture in this State must have a certificate of authorization issued by the board before undertaking architectural work.  Each firm must employ one or more architects registered in this State who are designated as being in full authority and responsible charge of the architectural practice.  Additionally, all personnel of the firm who act in its behalf as architects in this State must be registered under this chapter and must hold a current registration.  If there is a change in ownership, management, or the architect in responsible charge during the year, the change must be filed with the board within thirty days.

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-110 provides that the board may cancel, fine, suspend, revoke, or restrict the authorization to practice architecture of an individual who has had a license to practice a profession or occupation regulated under Title 40 canceled, revoked, or suspended or who has otherwise been disciplined.  S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-120 provides that the board may impose a civil fine of up to two thousand dollars for each violation of a provision of this chapter or a regulation promulgated under this chapter; however, the total fines may not exceed ten thousand dollars.  A final order of the board finding that a registrant is guilty of any offense charged in a formal accusation becomes public knowledge except for a final order dismissing the accusation or imposing a private reprimand.

Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-150, a licensee under investigation for a violation of this chapter or a regulation promulgated under this chapter may voluntarily surrender the license in accordance with Section 40-1-150.  S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-200 provides that a person who engages in or offers to engage in the practice of architecture in this State in violation of this chapter or who knowingly submits false information for the purpose of obtaining a license is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than fifty thousand dollars.  S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-230 provides that the privilege of engaging in the practice of architecture is a personal privilege based upon the qualifications of the individual and evidenced by the person’s registration certificate which is not transferable.  The board shall review the applications of all applicants for admission to practice architecture.  The review shall consist of an inquiry into the record, character, education, experience, knowledge, and qualifications of the applicant.  An applicant approved by the board as qualified must take the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Architect Registration Examination (A.R.E.).

To be licensed as an architect, an individual must:

  • have a professional degree in architecture from a school or college program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB).  The school or program must be accredited by NAAB or CACB not later than two years after the applicant’s graduation.
  • have satisfactorily completed the training requirements established by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) for the Intern Development Program (IDP).  Changes in the program subsequently adopted by the board do not affect those persons currently enrolled in a previously adopted IDP program;
  • have attained a passing score on all subject areas of the NCARB Architect Registration Examination (A.R.E.).  Subject areas may include, but are not limited to, predesign, site design, building design, structural technology, materials and methods of construction, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, acoustical, life safety systems, and construction documents and services.

An applicant may not be licensed as an architect if the individual has been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude, misstated or misrepresented any fact in connection with the application, violated any of the rules of registrant conduct set forth in the law or regulations, or practiced architecture without being registered.  However, if an applicant has committed any of these acts, the board may register the applicant on the basis of suitable evidence of reform.  Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-240, an application for licensure must be made on board application forms.  A completed application signed and sworn to by the applicant must be filed with the board office and must be accompanied by all applicable fees. No application may be considered until the fees have been paid.

The Architectural Registration Examination must be administered in a format and manner prescribed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) to all applicants for initial licensure.  Applicants must pass all subject areas within the time prescribed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).  Scores for the individual subject areas must not be averaged.  An applicant must satisfy the requirements of Section 40-3-230(C)(1) and must be currently enrolled and actively participating in the Intern Development  Program in order to be approved by the board to take the Architectural Registration Examination.  Once an applicant has been approved to take the examination, any subsequent changes in the education or experience requirements do not affect the applicant’s eligibility to take the examination.  The board may accept transfer credits for individual subject areas of the examination passed by the applicant from another jurisdiction.

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-250 provides that an individual and firm licensed under this chapter shall satisfy license renewal requirements as established by the board in regulation, which must include continuing education requirements for individuals.  An individual shall complete a minimum of twelve continuing education hours annually in topics related to safeguarding health, safety, and welfare.  Both individual and firm certificates may be renewed at any time within one year from the date of expiration upon payment of the established fee and a penalty of fifty dollars during the first thirty days and an additional one hundred dollars thereafter during the year.  If an individual or firm fails to renew within one year from the date of expiration, the certificate may be reissued upon submission of a new application accompanied by the application fee and approval by the board.  S.C. Code Ann. § 40-3-200 provides that a person who engages in or offers to engage in the practice of architecture in the State in violation of this chapter, or who knowingly submits false information for the purpose of obtaining a license is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than fifty thousand dollars.


Inside South Carolina