FAQs

Online Transactions

I have lost / I can’t remember /I did not receive my personal User ID and Password. Can you send it to me again?

If you forget your username and/or password, follow the instructions on the TBAE login page to get that information. A unique email address is required for each person, so you are no longer able to share an email address with your spouse or co-workers— again, for security purposes.

May I change my user ID and Password?

Yes, you may change your password once you have successfully logged in. The link is on your main account page.

When is my expiration date? Renewal due?

Your registration expires on the last date of your birth month, and must be renewed prior to expiration. You can check your current registration status and expiration date by logging on to your account.

I need a receipt for my renewal payment so my employer can reimburse me.

You will receive an email with the receipt confirmation. You may also print a certificate from your account that shows that your fees are current.

Will I still get a pocket card?

No, you will not receive a pocket card after every renewal. All registrants have been issued a permanent plastic pocket card. If you did not receive your pocket card or have lost it, you can order a replacement card from your online account.

How will someone know that my registration is current if the pocket card doesn’t have my expiration date?

All registrants have their current status and expiration date listed on our site under Find a Design Professional.

While trying to make a payment I got kicked out and had to start again. Why?

Read the error message that you received. If the message is related to the credit card, try the transaction again and check all numbers carefully. If the message prompts you to call the board, please provide information about what you were doing and which page you received, as well as what the error message says. The main number is 512/305-9000.

Why won’t the system let me enter my entire credit card billing address?

The address field is limited to 35 characters – but that is all the computer needs to verify that your billing address matches the one on your credit card.

Why won’t the computer accept my home address on the credit card payment page?

Your address has to exactly match the billing address for the credit card you are using.

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Use of the Seal

When must I seal a professional document?

Subchapter F of the rules (architect, landscape architect, registered interior designer) addresses the use of your professional seal. You must always seal, sign, and date construction documents when they are issued for permitting, regulatory approval, or construction purposes. If you release construction documents for other purposes, you must include the following information on the documents: your name, the date the document is issued, and a statement placed in a conspicuous location on the document that says: "Not for regulatory approval, permitting, or construction."

May I apply the seal, date and signature electronically?

Yes.

I have been asked to modify and complete a construction document bearing another Architect/Landscape Architect/Registered Interior Designer’s seal. May I do so?

Yes, you may modify a construction document bearing another registrant’s seal after you have taken reasonable steps to notify the sealing registrant of the intent to modify the document. Then you must clearly indicate on the document the extent of the modifications made.

Where can I buy the seal?

Take the image of the seal to any stationery store that sells rubber stamps or impression seals.

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Continuing Education

When am I required to have my continuing education completed? Is it by calendar year?

The CE rules have been amended, and beginning January 1, 2013 you should record your continuing education activities by calendar year.   When you renew in 2014 you will be asked to verify completion of the 12 hour requirement for the calendar year 2013.   Renewal will remain the same, the last day of the registration's birth month.

Example: if your expiration date is May 31, when you renew prior to May 31, 2014 you must confirm that you completed 12 hours of continuing education in calendar year 2013.

What about renewal during 2013?

When you renew your registration in 2013, you will not be asked the CE question. During the calendar year 2013, you will be in the process of completing the required 12 hours which will be reported when you renew in 2014.

What is the annual continuing education requirement?

Twelve (12) Continuing Education Program Hours (CEPH) of continuing education activities related to the health, safety and welfare of the public annually, including one hour related to barrier-free design and 1 hour related to sustainable or energy-efficient design.  At least 8 hours must be structured study, and up to 4 hours may be self-directed study.

What is barrier-free design?

Barrier-free design is the design or alteration of a building which complies with the Texas Accessibility Standards, the American with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, or similarly accepted standards for accessible design.

Does the legislation define sustainable and energy-efficient design?

No, SB 541 did not define the relevant terms, instead leaving that task to the agency.  The Board solicited guidance and commentary starting in 2007, and received input from many sources during the crafting of the definitions and new rules to implement the law.

Does this new sustainability requirement replace the current barrier-free requirement?

No, both requirements will apply.  So that’s 1 hour of barrier-free design and 1 hour of sustainable or energy-efficient design, out of the 12 CEPH reported to TBAE.   A total of 12 hours is still the requirement.

How do you define “sustainable or energy-efficient design,” and who came up with those definitions?

The following definitions were proposed during the October 15-16, 2007 Board meeting to implement legislation passed in the 80th Legislative Session.  The definitions and rules were crafted with input from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), and individuals, and became effective April 3, 2008.  The complete rules are posted at www.tbae.state.tx.us.

Sustainable Design – An integrative approach to the process of design which seeks to avoid depletion of energy, water, and raw material resources; prevent environmental degradation caused by facility and infrastructure development during their implementation and over their life cycle; and create environments that are livable and promote health, safety and well-being.  Sustainability is the concept of meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Energy-Efficient Design – The design of a project and the specification of materials to minimize the consumption of energy in the use of the project.  The term includes energy efficiency strategies by design as well as the incorporation of alternative energy systems.

What is the difference between self-directed and structured course study?

Self-directed course study is equivalent to self-study (4 CEPH maximum).  Reading from on-line resources, books, and professional journals or magazines may be used as self-directed study.  Structured course study (8 CEPH minimum) refers to activity that is in a classroom or classroom equivalent setting.  An online or monograph course may be considered classroom equivalent activity if the course contains an independently graded exam.

What are health, safety and welfare?

Health may include aspects of design that have salutary effects among users of buildings or sites and address health and environmental issues.  Safety may include aspects of design intended to limit or prevent accidental injury or death among users of buildings or sites.  Welfare may include aspects of design that engender positive emotional responses among or enable equal access by users of buildings or sites.

Can I take the same course that I took last year for this year’s CEPH requirement?  What about self-directed study?

No. You cannot repeat anything you have taken in the last 3 years except for the Texas Accessibility Academy or another similar course offered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).  The same restrictions apply to self-directed study. 

Where can I find a copy of the Texas Accessibility Standards?

The Texas Accessibility Standards are available online from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation at www.license.state.tx.us.

May I get an extension to complete my continuing education requirements?

No – you cannot renew your registration until your CE is complete.

Am I allowed to carry over hours between registration periods?

Up to 12 hours not used for the current period may be carried over to the next period.  Hours may not be carried forward more than one year.

May I apply CEPH to more than one profession?

Yes, if it is appropriate for more than one profession.

When am I required to submit my continuing education documents?

You are only required to submit your continuing education documents to TBAE if they have been requested.  Each registrant certifies their compliance with the continuing education upon renewal every year.

Where can I find a CEPH Log?

You may print a current copy of the CEPH Log from the TBAE website at CEPH Log

How long am I required to maintain my continuing education records?

Five years after the end of the registration period for which credit is claimed.

Do you have a list of courses and providers in my area?  How can I determine if the course I am taking will be approved for CEPH credit?

The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) does not pre-approve courses or register providers of continuing education. Please review the criteria in the rule, and use your professional judgment to determine if an activity relates to your profession and the health, safety and welfare of the public.

What is considered acceptable supporting documentation?

Acceptable supporting documentation issued by the provider includes a certificate of completion, or letter from the provider that indicates the title of the activity, number of hours of credit awarded, the date completed, the provider/instructor contact information and your attendance. You may attach your AIA or ASLA transcript as supporting documentation as well.

If you read from a book as part of your self-directed CEPH requirement, you may print out the front cover of the book and the table of contents; if you read from a professional magazine, journal or online material, you may submit a copy of the article.  Please include a signed and dated statement indicating that you have reviewed this material and specify the number of hours you are claiming for CEPH credit (4 maximum in self-directed activity) as supporting documentation.

What other types of self-directed activity may I use for CEPH credit besides reading professional magazines and books that are relevant to my registration?

  • One CEPH may be claimed for attendance at one full-day session of a meeting of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.

  • Hours spent in professional service to the general public which draws upon the registrant’s architect/interior design/ landscape architect professional expertise, such as serving on planning commissions, building code advisory boards, urban renewal boards or code study committees.

  • Hours spent in architectural/interior design/landscape architectural research which is published or formally presented to the profession or public.

  • Hours spent in architect/interior design/landscape architect self-directed study programs such as those organized, sponsored or approved by the American Institute of Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the International Interior Design Association, the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards or similar organizations acceptable to the Board.

How many CEPH may I claim for college or university courses?

College or university credit courses dealing with architect/interior design/landscape architect subjects or ethical business practices may be awarded credit based on the following guidelines:

  • Each semester credit hour shall equal one (1) CEPH
  • Each quarter credit hour shall equal one (1) CEPH

How do I apply for a continuing education exemption?

You must complete the Continuing Education Exemption Application and attach all required supporting documentation. Applications for exemption must be received 4 weeks prior to the registration expiration date. You will be notified by mail (approximately 2-4 weeks) when your exemption request has been approved, denied, or if additional documentation is needed.

If my documents are requested by TBAE am I required to fill out a CEPH log or can I just attach a copy of my transcript?

You are required to complete and maintain a separate CEPH Log and supporting documentation for each registration period and for each profession for which you are registered.  You may attach your AIA, NCIDQ or ASLA transcript as supporting documentation.  Please circle or highlight activities on the transcript which you are claiming for CEPH credit. Supporting documentation may also include a course description, agenda, or certificate of completion that indicates the title of the activity, number of hours of credit awarded, the date completed, the provider/instructor contact information, if available, and your attendance.

Please visit the Continuing Education Requirements page for definitions and additional information on continuing education.

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Practice Requirements

How can I determine if a registered architect is required on a project?

This chart, When to Engage a Registered Architect, (PDF) may help you decide if your project requires the services of a registered architect.

Am I required to display my registration number on my business cards and in all directory listings?

No, this rule was repealed in 2012.

I have been asked to provide fee schedules in response to a Request for Qualifications from a governmental entity.   May I do so?

No.You may submit information related to the monetary cost of a professional service, including information found in a fee schedule, only after the governmental entity has selected you on the basis of a demonstrated competence and qualifications found in the Professional Services Procurement Act.

I am a new registrant and was wondering when I would receive my wall certificate?

The board members sign the new wall certificates when they meet – usually in January, May, August, and October. ( Click here for a list of board meeting dates).   The signed certificates are mailed approximately six weeks later.  The cut-off date for printing new certificates to be signed is six weeks prior to the upcoming board meeting.

My registration certificate was lost or stolen. How can I get a replacement certificate?

You can order a replacement certificate from your online account. See the Fee Schedule for the current Replacement or Duplicate Wall Certificate fee.

What is the statement of jurisdiction?

Architects, registered interior designers, and landscape architects are required to provide a written Statement of Jurisdiction to each and every client for whom they render professional services.   Unregistered interior designers, who are not regulated by TBAE or any other governmental agency, need not provide any Statement of Jurisdiction to their clients, and TBAE has no enforcement authority over their practice or professional conduct.   Clients have no recourse through TBAE in the event that an unregistered interior designer’s practice is unsatisfactory to the client, nor do unregistered interior designers need to adhere to TBAE rules regarding Professional Conduct.

The rule is found in SubChapter F, Other Professional Responsibilities.   For architects: 1.106; for interior designers: 5.115 ; for landscape architects: 3.106.

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Registration Renewal

When will I be able to renew my registration online?

TBAE began offering online registration renewals in December of 2005. Registrants can log in to their account to renew their registration and pay the renewal fee. Click here to find out more about the online renewal process.

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Examination

How do I learn more about the Architect Registration Examination?

The ARE is administered through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).   Examination candidates must apply first through the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners in order to be registered in Texas.   To learn more, link to the Architect section.

Can anyone take the registered interior designer examination?

The National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (“NCIDQ”) administers the examinations for becoming a registered interior designer.   Texas law requires candidates seeking to become registered interior designers to apply through the TBAE in order to become registered.   A person seeking to sit for the NCIDQ examination for reasons other than registration in Texas may do so, and need not apply to TBAE in order to do so.   To learn more, see the registered interior design section.

Do I have to apply to TBAE first before I can register for the computer-administered multiple choice sections of the LARE?

You must apply through TBAE before taking either the computer-administered multiple choice sections or the paper-and-pencil graphic sections of the LARE.   The multiple choice sections are offered 4 times a year at Thompson Prometric test centers, and the graphic sections are offered twice a year in Austin.  Link to the Landscape Architect section of this site to learn more.

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Public Information Act

What is the Public Information Act?

The Public Information Act, formerly known as the Open Records Act, is located in chapter 552 of the Government Code. The Act provides a mechanism for citizens to inspect or copy government records. It also provides exemptions for instances in which governmental bodies wish to, or are required by law to, withhold government records from the public.

How do I make a public information request to TBAE?

The request must be in writing. You may fax your request to the Public Information Officer at (512) 305-8900, or mail it to the Public Information Officer at TBAE, P.O. Box 12337, Austin TX 78711-2337. It is a good practice to clearly label your correspondence as a "Public Information Request" or "Open Records Request." Or email the request to the public information officer.

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Communications

How do I join the list-serve?

The list-serve is an email update service provided by TBAE for registrants and interested parties. Information is sent out as needed to a chosen email address. To subscribe link here.

How do I get on the newsletter mailing list?

If you are a registered design professional you will automatically receive the TBAE newsletter Licensing News which is mailed three times per year or as needed. If you are not a registrant but you would like to receive Licensing News, please join our list-serve.

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Filing a Complaint

Do I need to use a complaint form if I want to file a complaint?

For general information about complaints and TBAE’s jurisdiction please see the complaints main page.

You can download and print a complaint form which contains all of the information needed by TBAE in order to process a complaint including your original signature. Providing your written testimony with a complaint form ensures that that you formally certify and attest to your statements.  In some cases, the Board may initiate an investigation without a formal complaint if there is sufficient evidentiary information provided to establish probable cause that a violation of the law has occurred.

What documents must I submit when I file a complaint?

It is very important that originals or legible copies of all relevant documents be submitted when you file a complaint. If there is insufficient information to support the allegations, the processing of the case file may be delayed or the matter may be dismissed without further action.

If I file a complaint, will my name be disclosed to the person I am complaining about?

Complaints filed with the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners are subject to the Texas Public Information Act.  In most cases, the Board must disclose the information you provide on the complaint form to any person who requests it, including the person against whom you are filing this complaint.  A copy of the complaint could be provided to the individual(s) involved in your complaint.  Also, you could be called to testify as part of a formal or informal proceeding, such as a hearing or a deposition. If you have any concerns about the disclosure of your personal information (name, address, etc.), please contact the Board before you file the complaint form and we can discuss it with you.

Are anonymous complaints considered?

Yes.  When submitting an anonymous complaint it is just as important to use the complaint form, to be as detailed as possible, and to attach supporting documentation to ensure that TBAE is able to determine the nature of the complaint, the date of the violation, and to locate the individual you are complaining about.

What if I am not sure that I want to file a complaint, but I want to discuss the issue with TBAE?

TBAE welcomes dialogue on topics that are of concern to the public or registrants. To talk to someone in the Investigations division, call (512) 305-8530 and ask to speak to an investigator.

How long does it take for a complaint to be completely resolved?

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Board will conduct a preliminary evaluation of the matter within thirty (30) days to determine whether allegations described in your complaint are within the Board’s jurisdiction.   It can be difficult to estimate when a case will be completely resolved due to the complexities involved in each particular case and because due process allows each party certain participation throughout the lifecycle of the complaint.

If I file a complaint, how will I know what happens when the case is closed?

The Board will send a letter to the complainant and the respondent as to the final disposition of the case. If there has been formal disciplinary action taken, the complainant will be able to obtain a copy of the document by writing to the Board pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act.

Does TBAE hold public hearings on complaints?

The process for resolving complaints through hearings is set forth in Subchapter I of the Rules as follows:  architects | landscape architects | registered interior designers.

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It is our mission to ensure a safe built environment for Texas by regulating the professions of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design.

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