In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. National Architecture Accreditation Board (NAAB) , which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. Professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Master's degree programs may consist of a preprofessional undergraduate degree and a professional degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The NAAB grants candidacy status to new programs that have developed viable plans for achieving initial accreditation. Candidacy status indicates that a program should be accredited within 6 years of achieving candidacy if its plan is properly implemented.

To practice architecture in Massachusetts, a student must receive a degree accredited by the National Architecture Accreditation Board (NAAB), as the first step in the licensure process. The second step is three years of practice/internship under the direct guidance of a Massachusetts Licensed Architect. Required enrollment in the Intern Development Program (IDP) administered by the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards (NCARB) where a candidate for licensure is monitored throughout their three years of practice serves as a guide for meeting the requirements of internship and to prepare the candidate for the Architecture Registration Examination (ARE). The professional exam for licensure is administered by NCARB.