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 ACHA Exam & Requirements

COVID-19 - See Announcement on Extended Application Deadline and Exam Window for 2020​​​

As mentioned in About Us, ACHA provides board certification to architects who specialize in health care within the United States and in countries where NCARB reciprocal licensure can be obtained. The certification process is rigorous and overseen by an independent testing agency, in order to establish a professionally sound, legally defensible standard by which people can identify themselves as healthcare architects.

The three types of Certificate Holders are:

  1. Certificate Holder-- Board Certified in the specialty of healthcare architecture and entitled to use the credentials "ACHA" after his or her name.
  2. Fellow-- Certificate Holder who has practiced within the specialty in an exemplary fashion for ten years or more is eligible to be nominated for ACHA Fellowship. If elevated, the ACHA Fellow becomes a member of the Council of Fellows and is entitled to use the credentials "FACHA" after his or her name.
  3. Emeritus -- Certificate Holder who no longer has a full-time practice is eligible to petition the Regents to request Emeritus status. An Emeritus Member is entitled to use the credentials "ACHA Emeritus" or "FACHA Emeritus" after his or her name.

Certificate Holder Certification Process

Once you determine your eligibility to sit for the exam (see Candidate Handbook for the list of requirements), submit the following materials:

  • Submit Exam Application (found within the Candidate Handbook).
  • Submit Portfolio Package (including letters of recommentation).
  • Pay examination fee.
Approved exam applicants will be notified and will be able to schedule their exam. 

Certification Eligibility Pathways

Pathway 1:  Candidate Program 
Do you not yet meet all the exam eligibility requirements?

No problem! Be a part of the Candidate Program. You must hold an architectural license. No Portfolio or Exam Application required at this time. You will receive periodic updates on the College, exam reminders, and special invitations to ACHA-only events.  Remain a Candidate for up to 5 years for $25/year (only $20 in 2020). For all details or to sign-up as a Candidate, click here.

[Note:  Candidacy does not qualify you as eligible to sit for the exam.  Candidates will ultimately need to submit an application with their portfolio for review before deemed eligible; separate fees apply.]

Pathway 2: Direct Certification
Do you meet all the exam eligibility requirements?

If you do not already have an ACHA account, create one (if you have an existing account, please log in to it).  Complete the online application process. If you meet all the eligibility requirements, you do not need to become a Candidate prior to submitting the portfolio materials then applying for the exam. You will have up to 5 years to pass the exam before resubmitting a new Portfolio Package.

Certification Eligibility Requirements

All components of your Portfolio Package must be received/confirmed for the application to be considered complete.  Please refer to the Candidate Handbook for complete information.

  • Application (found within the Candidate Handbook) outlining your experience - 6,000+ hours total healthcare experience within last 5 years.  The 6,000 hours of experience within the 5 year time frame can include pre-license experience.
  • Portfolio Package:
    • Proof of Licensure (current and original) for 3+ years within the U.S. or applicable international jurisdiction
    • Client Reference Letters (3)
    • Architect Letters of Recommendation (3)
    • Portfolio of Projects (3-9 healthcare projects in past 5 years)
  • Fees (Reduced in 2020 in celebration of ACHA's 20th Anniversary - see below)

Do you have a unique career pathway? Please email us with your eligibility questions.

2020* Exam Fees Important Dates

  • Portfolio Package & Exam Application Early Bird Deadline: February 1
    • November 1, 2019 to February 1, 2020: $20. If an application is not deemed complete and cannot be accepted, or is withdrawn, zero fee is refunded.
  • Portfolio Package & Exam Application Regular Deadline: April 1
    • February 2, 2020 to April 1, 2020: $200. If an application is not deemed complete and cannot be accepted, or is withdrawn, a $100 fee is refunded.

*In 2021, application and examination fees will return to $400.

All fees payable to the American College of Healthcare Architects. An additional $50 will be assessed for insufficient funds.

Scheduling the Exam

Upon review and approval of the Portfolio Package by the Certification Committee, applicants will notified of their eligibility to sit for the exam. Electronic instructions will then be provided on how to schedule an examination appointment. The Exam testing window is July 1-31.


An architect who does not pass the examination on his or her first attempt may elect to retake the exam during the next testing window for a maximum of five years before resubmitting a Portfolio Package and Exam Application is required.  

Click here to download the Application to Re-Exam. In 2020, there is ZERO fee to re-exam. The deadline to submit this form for the 2020 exam testing window is June 1, 2020.

*Note: Turn off your pop-up blocker program. Get Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDFs online.​​​​​​


American College of Healthcare Architects
4400 College Blvd Suite 220
Overland Park, KS 66211

Phone: 913-222-8653
Fax: 913-222-8606