Continuing Education for Professionals

What is AIA/CES?

AIA/CES is a continuing education system developed by the AIA to emphasize and record participation in professional learning activities.

AIA/CES enables architects to keep current, master new knowledge and skills, plan for the future, and responsibly meet the role society entrusts to a professional. The program also allows members to fulfill a requirement for AIA membership and meet any state mandatory continuing education requirement.


What is Mandatory Continuing Education?

Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE) is education required by a state to retain licensure.

If you, like the average AIA member, have four or more state licenses, you must meet the continuing education requirements for all the states in which you intend to practice.

Most states that require MCE will accept AIA/CES transcripts as documentation for completion of valid continuing education credit. For AIA members, this means that AIA’s single record-keeping system is the documentation needed for reporting your state MCE requirements when requested. (Note: It is strongly suggested that you keep backup documentation of your activities as support.)

Illinois has instituted MCE in conjunction with the biannual license renewal cycle. The state requires 24 hours of learning (what the AIA calls "LU"), 16 of which must be in public protection subjects (what the AIA calls "HSW"). For the complete Illinois MCE rules, click here.


Eight Ways to Obtain Continuing Education Credits

1. Attend programs offered by a CES Registered Provider, such as AIA Chicago and a growing list of companies, associations, community colleges and universities. Registered providers automatically report your learning units to the AIA’s record-keeper. For a list of upcoming AIA Chicago events, view our calendar.

2. Participate in structured programs (i.e., classes, lectures, conferences and seminars) offered by organizations that are not registered providers, and use a Self Report Form to tabulate and report your learning units. Learn more about self-reporting here.

3. Report your own self-designed study. This would include completing research for a client’s project, preparing to teach a class or give a lecture, studying The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice published by AIA, or any kind of self-study in which you are learning something that relates to the practice of architecture. Periodically tabulate and report the learning units you’ve earned using the Self-Report Form. Learn more about self-reporting here.

4. Read the CES-certified articles in Architectural Record. Take the corresponding question-and-answer quiz and complete the report form included in the magazine. Important note: only eight articles per year can count toward your annual requirement of 18 LU.

5. Take the AIA Trust Self-Assessment Tests.

6. Attend the AIA national convention and/or a national KC conference.

7. Study at your own convenience through NCARB’s Professional Development Program monographs and quizzes.

8.  Earn 2 hours credit (2 LU) hours per calendar year for Professional Community Service which includes volunteer service on committees, boards, and other projects that promote the architectural profession. Use the Self Report Form to report these hours. Note: these credits are not eligible for HSW. Learn more here



Find your transcript here at the national AIA Web site.