7059 Blair RD, St. 400
Washington, DC 20012

Become Certified

Candidate Handbook Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Program Description
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement
  • Steps to Achieve the CPBD Certification
  • About the Council
  • Code of Ethics and Conduct
  • Terms and Conditions for Certification
  • Qualifications for Certification
  • Fees
  • Certification Policies
  • Non-Discrimination and Accessibility
  • Use of the Certification Mark and Designation
  • Verification and Use of Personal Data
  • Professional Development Guidelines (For Re-certification)
  • Complaints and Actions
  • Application Process
  • Application Evaluation
  • Examination Administration
  • Preparing for Examination
  • Test Development
  • Test Content
  • CPBD Forms (Including the Application Form)

Applicants must complete an application and submit it for evaluation and approval. Applications are processed and reviewed as they are received. Please allow two to three weeks for the review process to be completed and the results reported.

Applications may be obtained by downloading the CPBD Candidate Handbook.

Exams, Fees and Duration:
The application fee is $50 and is nonrefundable. Once approved, applicants are listed as a Candidate. Candidates may begin the exam process at any time. Candidates have 36 months from the date of approval to start and successfully complete all five exams.

Current exam list (length of the exam):

  • Business Administration and Practices (60 minutes)
  • Design Process (60 minutes)
  • Building Design I (60 minutes)
  • Building Design II (105 minutes)
  • Building Design III (60 minutes)

Beginning July 1, 2017 the development of the exam will be in a "standard setting" phase. During the standard setting phase, there will only be ONE exam consisting of 225 questions with a 180 minute (3-hour) time limit. The purpose of the standard setting phase is to evaluated the effectiveness of each question, as well as set the pass/fail score. 

Candidates taking the standard setting exam will not know whether they passed or failed until a certain number of exams is taken, a group of subject matter experts have reviewed the results and the pass/fail score is established. Those who pass will be considered certified and will be invited to continue to the next step. Those who fail will be invited to begin the process again by taking the five individual exams.

The cost of the standard setting exam is $180. 

This phase will continue until a certain number of candidates have taken the exam and may end without notice.

Scheduling an exam is done individually. Exams up to 1-hour long are $40, and those up to 2-hours long are $60. All exams are open book and taken online with a virtual proctor. 

Fees may be paid by check or credit/debit card (VISA, MC, Discover, American Express).

Using the application and supporting documents, applicants must display at least six years of engagement in the professional practice of building design (minimum 20 hours per week).

Educational Alternative:
One year of education from a college, university or technical institute is equivalent to one year of experience. A maximum of three years of education may be substituted for experience.

Supporting Materials:
In addition to the application, the following items must be submitted.

  • Three letters of verification. Letters may be from other design professionals, builders, building officials, clients, etc. The letters are intended to be used to verify an applicant’s number of years of experience. Once you submit your application, please notify your letter writers. Staff will be contacting them within a few days to verify the authenticity of the letters. A letter template is included at the end of the CPBD Candidate Handbook.
  • Applicants whose application includes years employed by a company or firm must submit a letter from their employer (or former employer) verifying the length of the employment. An employment letter is considered a letter of verification.
  • Applicants whose application includes years of education must submit a copy of their transcript verifying their number of credit hours.
  • Applicants applying for reciprocity must submit proof of an active U.S. architectural or engineering license or registration.

How to Submit

Digital documents and materials are preferred and may be submitted by email: info@AIBD.org

Hard copies may be submitted by USPS or Currier to:

725 N. A1A, Suite E-108
Jupiter, FL 33477

Annual Certification
When all five certification exams are successfully completed, candidates will be asked to submit their first year's annual certification fee of $150. Upon receipt, a digital copy of the individual's personal certificate and certification mark will be issued, along with  an 11"x17" diploma suitable for framing. Certification expires on the individual’s certification anniversary date. To re-certify, individuals pay the $150 annual certification fee and must submit verification of eight continuing education credits obtained within the prior 12 month period (click on "Continuing Education" above to learn more about the CE Policy). Certified individuals are encouraged report their educational credits as they are earned to avoid as much backlog as possible.

U.S. Licensed or registered design professionals, such as architects, engineers, and building designers, may have up to all fiven required certification exams waived by applying for reciprocity. All other application requirements still apply. Download the Candidate Handbook to access the Reciprocity Form. The application fee for reciprocity is $50. Once approved, the candidate will be asked to pay the first year's annual certification fee.

The NCBDC Certificate and Seal
Certified individuals will receive a diploma certificate suitable for framing, an electronic version of their Certification Certificate and an electronic version of the NCBDC Certification Mark with their name and certification number displayed prominently. In addition, certified individuals may use the designation “CPBD” (Certified Professional Building Designer) after their name. For a full explanation of how to properly use the Council’s name, designations, and mark, download the AIBD Branding Guidelines.

Certification is suspended if an individual does not re-certify within 60 days of expiration or at any time the Council feels it is in their best interest. Individuals have 36 months from the date of revocation to correct all outstanding issues, pay all re-certification fees in arrears and verify all required continuing education to reinstate their certification.

Certification is terminated 36 months after suspention and cannot be reinstated.