Becoming an Architect

Becoming a first-time Architect is a combination of Education, Experience and Examination.


A Master's Degree in Architecture or Academic Qualifications certified by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB).  Please note that certification of architectural academic qualifications done by World Evaluation Services (WES) is not accepted by the profession in Canada.

Experience and Examination (Internship in Architecture Program (IAP))

In Nova Scotia, there is a pre-license interview for those applying to become a licensed architect for the first-time.

More information on the IAP can be found on our Intern Architects' page.


For foreign trained architects moving to Nova Scotia, there is an alternate pathway to become licensed which may be available to them.  The Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect Program (BEFA) is administered by the CACB.


A visual pathway to becoming an architect outlines these two licensing pathways.

Who must be a member of the NSAA?

  • Anyone who is studying architecture should become a member of the NSAA.
  • Anyone who has completed their studies in architecture and wants to become an architect needs to be a member of the NSAA.
  • Anyone who wants to work as an architect in Nova Scotia needs to be a member of the NSAA. 

The steps below describe the process for applying for registration with the NSAA. If you have any questions on the application process at any time, the NSAA is available to provide you with any clarification you may need.

  • 1. Select a Membership Type

    A list of membership categories with links to downloadable applications is available here.

  • 2. Submit the completed application with all required documentation and payment

    Applications may be submitted either by:

    • hard copy (via post or delivered in person); or
    • electronically via emailed pdf files.

    Please note payment will be processed as the last step of the Application Review process.

    Online application process is under development and not currently available.

  • 3. Application Review process begins

    The application will now enter the review process. A visual pathway of this process is available here. The remaining steps that follow below as numbers 4, 5, and 6 detail the Application Review process.

  • 4. Internal Review of Application

    The NSAA's Registration and Program Officer reviews the application.

    • If the application is complete, it will be added to the agenda of the next meeting of the Board of Registration. 
    • If the application is incomplete, the Registration and Program Officer will notify the Applicant by email or telephone of the missing items. Once all missing items have been received, the application is added to the agenda of the next meeting of the Board of Registration.
  • 5. Board of Registration Application Review

    The Board of Registration meets the second Tuesday of each month.  The Board of Registration's members review the application.  The Board of Registration will:

    • Approve the application; or
    • Request the Registration and Program Officer to contact the Applicant for additional information or clarification; or
    • Refuse the application*. 

    *When the Board of Registration decides to refuse an application, its decision must go to Council at its next monthly meeting.  Council meets every third Thursday of the month.  Council then reviews the Board of Registration's refusal and the reasons given for the refusal of the application.  Council then makes a decision regarding the refusal.  Council's decision is communicated to the Board of Registration at the Board of Registration's next monthly meeting and to the applicant.

    If the application requires additional information or clarification, once this information is received by the Registration and Program Officer, the information will be shared with the members of the Board of Registration for further review at its next monthly meeting.

  • 6. Application Approved

    Once approved, the Registration and Program Officer will send you a letter of approval. If the application was for Licensed Architect then the Licensed Architect stamp is ordered and will be shipped to your home.

What if my application is not approved?

The Registration and Program Officer will contact you at each stage of the process whenever it seems there may be something missing that would be needed to approve the application.

If your application is not approved, an Appeals Process is available to you. Click here for the appeals process described in Sections 16 and 17 of the Regulations Pursuant to the Architects Act.