Architects in the US Can Now Find Work in Australia and New Zealand

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by TARA DUANE
The new Australian Embassy in Washington DC, designed by Australian architectural firm Bates Smart. [Image: Embassy of Australia United States of America]

A Mutual Recognition Arrangement finalized between the US National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA), and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board came into effect at the beginning of this month. The deal enables architects from Australia, New Zealand, and 29 states of the US to gain licenses and practice in any of the jurisdictions. The agreement comes after two years of deliberation and research found that the licensing requirements of the three countries mirrored one another. In all three countries, becoming a licensed architect requires education, experience and examination.

In 2014 there were approximately 11,090 architects practicing in Australia. Additionally, the Australian construction service industry — consisting of architects and engineers — is expected to grow 14% between 2014 and 2019. In 2014 there were an estimated 112,600 practicing architects in the US. That number is projected to grow 6.9% between 2014 and 2024.

The 29 US states participating in the agreement include states such as California and Texas, both of which employ large numbers of architects. In California, the construction industry contributed $87 billion to the total GDP in 2015, employing approximately 731,900 workers, 12,070 of which were architects. California has the largest number of architects in the country and jobs are expected to grow 9.7% between 2014 and 2024. Consequently, construction and all other related jobs are expected to grow 23.1% between 2014 and 2024. In Texas the construction industry contributed $85 billion or 5.4% to the state’s GDP in 2015, employing approximately 7,910 architects. Architect jobs are projected to grow 21.4% between 2014 and 2024, and construction and other related jobs will grow 16.8%.

Not only does this agreement allow architects to expand their career options, it also facilitates trading of services between Australia, New Zealand, and the states within the agreement. In 2013, California was the top exporter of services to Australia, exporting $3.2 billion worth of services. In 2013, 25,802 jobs in California were supported by goods and services exports to Australia. Texas had the third largest amount of services exported to Australia of any state at $1.3 billion. In 2013, 12,206 jobs in Texas were supported by goods and services exports to Australia. In 2013, the US was Australia’s 3rd largest goods and services export partner.

Tara Duane is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at the University of Western Australia