Frequently Asked Questions

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.  You may request a new Username by written request.

When is my expiration date?  When is my 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 showing that your fees are current.

Will I still get a pocket card after every renewal?

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 your 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. Our 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 payment website 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.

Use of the Seal

When must I seal a professional document?

Subchapter F of the rules (architectlandscape architectregistered 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?


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?

It’s easy and inexpensive to find a local or online stationery store or stamp-maker that sells rubber stamps or electronic seal files in a format of your choice.

Continuing Education

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 one 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.

When am I required to have my continuing education completed?

You are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education every calendar year between January 1 and December 31. During the registration renewal process, you will be asked to verify completion of the 12 hour requirement for the previous calendar year. Your renewal date is the last day of your birth month. Example: if your expiration date is May 31, when you renew prior to May 31, 2023 you must confirm that you completed 12 hours of continuing education in calendar year 2022.

What is meant by “Continuing Education Program Hour?”

Continuing Education Program Hour, or CEPH, is how TBAE rules officially refer to a period of at least forty-five (45) minutes spent in an activity meeting the Board’s continuing education requirements. One CEPH may be referred to by various organizations as one “credit hour”, “hour”, “learning unit”, or other terms, but for TBAE purposes one CEPH amounts to at least 45 minutes of CE credit.

What is “Structured Course Credit?”

Courses of study relevant to the profession, taught or otherwise provided by qualified individuals or organizations, delivered by direct, in-person contact or through distance learning methods, the completion of which results in the issuance of a certificate or other record of attendance to the registrant by the provider.

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 structured course credit based on the following guidelines:

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

What is “Self-Directed Study?”

Time spent by a registrant developing knowledge and skills relevant to practice that does not qualify as Structured Course Study.

Does attending a TBAE Board meeting count for self-directed CE credit?

One CEPH in self-directed course work may be claimed for attendance at one full-day session of a meeting of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.

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?

  • Time spent in professional research for publication or formal presentation to the profession or public;
  • Time spent in professional service to the general public that draws upon professional expertise, such as serving on planning commissions, building code advisory boards, urban renewal boards, code study committees, or educational outreach activities;
  • Time spent preparing to teach or teaching courses relating to the profession. However, a registrant may not claim credit for preparing for or teaching the same course more than once.
  • Time 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.

Which courses or activities qualify for barrier-free design credit?

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. To qualify as a barrier free-design CEPH, the course or activity must include at least 45 minutes of content related to barrier-free design.

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

Which courses or activities qualify for credit in sustainable or energy-efficient design?

The following definitions apply to sustainable and energy-efficient design:
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 developments 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.
To qualify as a CEPH in sustainable or energy-efficient design, the course or activity must include at least 45 minutes of content related to sustainable or energy-efficient design.

What do I do if I realize I’m short a few CE hours for the previous calendar year?

Under newly adopted rules, registrants may take advantage of a new process to correct a failure to complete CE in the previous calendar year. If you are missing any number of CE hours for the previous calendar year, follow these steps to achieve compliance:

  1. Do NOT renew your registration until you are compliant with CE requirements, as follows.
  2. Complete qualifying CE credits to cover any deficiency for the previous calendar year.
  3. IN ADDITION to covering the deficiency for the previous calendar year, complete the full 12-hour requirement for the current calendar year. Your total for the current and past calendar year now should be 24 CE hours.
  4. Renew your registration and safely certify that you have completed the required hours.

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

No – you cannot renew your registration until your continuing education is complete. See the question and answer above for the solution.

Am I allowed to carry over extra hours to the next calendar year?

Yes. A maximum of 12 CEPH completed in excess of the continuing education requirements for a calendar year may be carried forward to satisfy the continuing education requirements for the next calendar year only. Hours may not be carried forward more than one year. For example, if you earn 24 CEPH in one calendar year, you can use 12 of those hours for that calendar year and carry forward the remaining “extra” 12 hours for the next calendar year. (Remember that you still need one hour each of sustainable and barrier-free design for each calendar year, of course.)

May I apply continuing education hours 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?

Each registrant certifies their compliance with the continuing education upon renewal every year. However, you should not submit your continuing education documents at the time of renewal, Rather, you are only required to submit your continuing education documents to TBAE if you are requested to do so pursuant to an audit.

If audited, 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 calendar year and for each profession for which you are registered. You may attach your AIA, IDCEC or ASLA/LACES 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.

Where can I find a CEPH Log?

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

What is considered acceptable supporting documentation of continuing education?

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, IDCEC, or ASLA/LACES 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.

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. 

How do I apply for a continuing education exemption?

At the time of renewal, you may claim an exemption from continuing education requirements, based on the exemptions identified in Board Rules 1.69, 3.69, and 5.79, as applicable. If audited, you will be required to submit proof of eligibility of any claimed exemption.

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

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.  Alternatively, we have provided an interactive flowchart for the same purpose.  

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. Architects 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 as discussed in the Professional Services Procurement Act.

I am a new registrant. When will I receive my wall certificate?

TBAE 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 TBAE 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.

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.


How do I learn more about the Architect Registration Examination (ARE)?

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.  Learn more.

Can anyone take the registered interior designer examination?

The Council for Interior Design Qualifications (“CIDQ”) administers the examinations for becoming a registered interior designer. Candidates seeking to become registered interior designers must 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 Designer section.

Do I have to apply to TBAE first before I can register for the LARE?

The Landscape Architect Registration Exam is administered by CLARB. You must apply through TBAE before taking any sections of the LARE; Link to the Landscape Architect section of this site to learn more.

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.


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 click 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.

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.


House Bill 1717, which makes several changes to the way TBAE operates, passed through the legislature in May.   Sections 2 and 5 of the bill put in place a new requirement for fingerprint-based criminal history checks of TBAE registrants.

If I’ve already submitted fingerprints for a concealed handgun license (or another reason, such as for a school project or when adopting a child), is that sufficient?

Unfortunately, no.   FBI regulations prohibit that kind of sharing of fingerprint information among government agencies.   Fingerprints are required of an Active status TBAE registrant even if he or she has submitted prints for a concealed handgun license, for a previous school district or other public project, for a federal project, for a military project, or for any other reason.   FBI regulations do not appear to offer any exceptions.

When does the new law start?

Starting January 1, 2014, Active-status registration renewals or new applications for registration will require fingerprinting.

Do I have to get fingerprinted?

The new requirement applies to Active-status registrants.   Inactive and Emeritus status registrants need not get fingerprinted unless and until they seek to become Active-status again.

Where do I go to get fingerprinted?

The collection and submission of fingerprints will be handled by a third-party vendor (Morpho Trust USA) under contract with the Department of Public Safety (DPS), not by TBAE or any TBAE vendor.   There are about 85 vendor locations across Texas, and there will be a different process for registrants located elsewhere.   The out-of-state fingerprinting process will not require travel to Texas to fulfill the requirement.   The process will be undertaken at local law enforcement agencies, who are well accustomed to fingerprinting for non-law enforcement purposes.

Is the fee to be paid every year?

No.   The fee and the fingerprint submission are one time only.

I live in California (or elsewhere outside of Texas) and am registered in Texas.   Do I need to get fingerprinted?

Yes, if you are Active status.   All Active registrants will need to meet this requirement.   If you are Inactive or Emeritus, there is no need.   The process for out-of-state registrants will be posted soon, and will not require travel outside a registrant’s home state or city.

OK, what is the process for out of state registrants like me?

You will receive specific instructions on the process soon.   You will not be required to travel to Texas to fulfill this requirement; it can be done easily in your home state and locality.

Is TBAE making money off this?

The fee will be paid either to DPS or to its vendor directly.   TBAE will collect no part of the fee.

Is TBAE going to have a copy of my fingerprints?

No. TBAE will never store, collect, or even see any registrant’s fingerprint information, as that information will be housed elsewhere.

Is this a nationwide background check?

Yes.   The criminal history checks performed under this new law will be run against both DPS (statewide) and FBI (national) databases.   Any positive matches will be sent to TBAE for review.

What if I had a DWI or some relatively small offense many years ago?

There are criteria that TBAE Enforcement staff consider in these reviews, and mitigating circumstances include how long ago the conviction was, whether it was related to the practice of the profession, and more.

Why architects/LAs/RIDs? We’re not a dangerous profession!

Design professionals were not “singled out” for this requirement; rather, this process is in place for many occupations, including doctors, engineers, nurses, lawyers, teachers, and many more.

OK, what do I need to do specifically?

TBAE is working diligently to create a process by which registrants may fulfill this requirement, and urges you to watch your email for more detailed information as soon as it becomes available.

How did this requirement come about?   Whose idea was it?

The fingerprinting requirement is one that the Sunset Commission of Texas (Sunset) commonly recommends for occupational licensing agencies, and their recommendation was written into the TBAE “Sunset bill,” HB 1717 of the 83rd Regular Session.   That bill passed both houses of the legislature, and became law effective September 1, 2013.

If I’m licensed by TBAE in more than one profession, do I have to get fingerprinted more than once?

No.   You only need to submit fingerprints for TBAE once, regardless of how many TBAE registrations you hold.   As a side note of possible interest to some TBAE licensees who are also licensed as Professional Engineers, our understanding is that you will need to submit fingerprints once for TBAE, and once for the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.   Several other Texas state occupational licensing agencies have similar fingerprinting requirements, as well.

I’ve never heard of MorphoTrust USA, and I may not be comfortable sending them sensitive information.   What can you tell me about this company and their credentials?

MorphoTrust USA has been the third party provider for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) since 1995, and all MorphoTrust USA employees undergo the same fingerprint screening and security check protocols required of DPS employees.   MorphoTrust USA is bonded, and all MorphoTrust USA fingerprinting sites and equipment meet DPS requirements for security and transmission encryption.   Once data is transmitted from MorphoTrust equipment, that data is transferred to the DPS and FBI, and MorphoTrust no longer can access it.   MorphoTrust never has access to any applicant criminal history information.   There have been no incidents of improper data dissemination through hacking or negligent employee conduct during MorphoTrust’s contract with DPS.