Continuing Education

The AIA recognizes that continuing education in architecture is crucial to advancing and improving the profession. Architects need continuing education to maintain competency, to prepare for the future, to fulfill the continuing education requirements for AIA membership, and frequently to renew state licensure.

The requirement applies to full AIA members only. Associate and Emeritus members are encouraged to participate but are exempt from the requirement. All members are exempt during their first calendar year of membership.

AIA/CES is a continuing education system developed by the AIA to organize and track professional development activities required for AIA membership. AIA/CES enables members to keep current on issues in the field, master new knowledge and skills, plan for the future, and responsibly meet the role society entrusts to a professional architect. By making available learning opportunities in every area of knowledge relevant to today’s architect, the AIA/CES program has grown into a major force in the improvement and revitalization of the architecture profession in the 21st  century.

Requirements for Members

To maintain their active status, members are required to earn 18 Learning Units (LUs) per calendar year; of which, 12 LUs must be Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) learning and 6 of the HSW must also qualify for Sustainable Design learning units. Learning Units are measured by hour. The minimum program length is one hour of actual learning time. All states requiring continuing education credits for licensure accept AIA accredited programs. For a more detailed explanation of the program, click here.

Types of AIA/CES Credits (Learning Units)

General Course Learning Units
All approved provider courses are eligible for general course LUs. General course LUs are reserved for courses on a wide range of topics, in which 75 percent of the course content is not related to HSW and/or SD course topics. The total number of course LUs in advertisements and on certificates of completion should be written as (# hours_ LU Hour). For example, if your course is one hour in length, it would be written as 1 LU Hour.

Health Safety & Welfare (HSW)
These programs are defined as those that relate to the structure or soundness of a building site. This requirement is based in states having the power to grant professional licensure as a means of protecting the life, safety, and welfare of the public. Examples would be programs on nontoxic building materials, sprinkler systems, uses of natural light, ventilation, and provisions for users with disabilities. In 2012, the HSW requirements will increase from 8 hours to 12 hours. Click here to go to the AIA National FAQ page to learn more about HSW requirements.

Meeting the Requirements: How to Earn Learning Units (LUs):

Registered Provider Programs
Members receive credits by attending programs presented by AIA Registered Providers. Registered providers are those AIA components, private vendors, educational institutions, and other associations that have pre-approved their programs for CES learning units with AIA National. It is highly recommended members keep records of the courses attended, including course title, number, date, program provider, and contact information for future reference.

Members may also submit Self-Report Forms for other activities, either structured, self-designed, or a part of a community service. Beginning on January 1, 2012, HSW and HSW/SD requirements must be met through structured programs and may not be obtained through self-designed activities. Click here for more information.
How to Self-Report: Click here

Distance Education
Members can take approved distance education programs to meet AIA/CES requirements. Distance education is defined as a method of instruction in which there is a separation of place and/or time between the instructor and learner, between fellow learners, and/or between learners and the learning resources. These courses may use one or more delivery methods. Examples of distance education course delivery (alone or in combination): Internet; Podcasts; Publications/articles; Teleconference/audio conference; Webcasts; and NCARB monographs. However, distance learning does not have to be technology based; traditional correspondence courses (for example, articles or “paper and pen”) are also effective ways to deliver continuing education. For more information, download the CES Guidelines for Members.

Credit for LEED Certification
If you studied on your own and took the exam you may self-report that time online as a self-designed activity (research). Since it was not structured and presented to you by a third party, it will not be eligible for HSW credit. If you took a class from an organization that was not an AIA/CES Registered Provider then you may self-report the class as a structured activity program. If the program was presented by an AIA/CES Registered Provider than the program provider is responsible for the submission of your activities to AIA/CES Records. This type of activity will be eligible for HSW credit, and possibly SD credit.

Credit for Teaching
Members who present a program or class, serve on a panel, or give a speech of one hour or longer can self-report the program for credit as a Structured/Self-Reported Program by completing an online self-report form. Members can file for HSW credits for the program if appropriate and can self-report the research and preparation time for presentations, speeches, programs and classes they teach. This research must be reported as a Self-Designed Activity and, regardless of the topic, will not qualify for HSW credits. The AIA allows a maximum of 10 Continuing Education Hours of research for each hour of presentation time. Members must select just one of the above described options, either teaching credit (Structured/Self-Reported Program) or research (Self-Designed Activity) for a presentation, program, speech, or class. Full-time university faculty cannot apply for credit for a course that is part of their regular curriculum workload. They can apply for credit if the course or program is “outside” of their normal assignments. Part-time faculty can apply for credits for any course taught once every three years.
Click here for more information.

AIAU- Online Education 
Members who are interested in online learning opportunities are able to access credits through AIAU. This educational opportunity can be accessed at .

AIAU features rigorously-curated content for architects, designers, builders, and others working in our diverse and evolving field. These online courses supplement events in your community, giving you learning you can access any time of day, from any place in the world with an Internet connection.


AIA Member Continuing Education & Non-Compliance Audits

Member transcripts are randomly selected for review throughout the year to ensure compliance. An audit of members’ transcripts is done in January for the previous year. A member who was audited and found not to be in compliance with the annual requirement will be notified by AIA National and given the opportunity to report activities completed the previous year.

Members’ credits are calculated as follows:
Overage from previous year + audit year + current year

Credits earned in the current year that apply toward the previous year’s requirements are not subtracted from the current year’s totals. If a member is randomly audited for the audit year’s requirements and the credits are not completed by September 30th of the current year, the member is not eligible for membership renewal until nine new credits dated October 1st of the current year or later are completed.
These retroactively reported credits (deficit credits) will be posted in the year in which completed and automatically be applied to the year the member was found not to be in compliance. It is the responsibility of the member to regularly check his/her transcript to ensure compliance.


AIA Pittsburgh: Kira Kellner,, 412-471-9548
AIA National: 202-626-7436 or 202-626-7478
AIA/CES Records: 800-605-8229, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time
Online: AIA National website: You can view your transcript, self-report programs, submit program evaluations, and download forms on AIA National’s website. The AIA website provides information on state Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE) requirements, an online directory of continuing education courses, and offers an extensive member FAQ.

The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice

Available for members at the AIA Pittsburgh Offices’ Library or Purchase at the AIA Store.
Selected Chapters of the Handbook are now available for download.

Get Involved!

Join AIA Pittsburgh’s Continuing Education Committee! Help direct the development of AIA Pittsburgh’s continuing education programming that helps architects fulfill mandatory AIA/CES requirements for AIA membership and licensure. This committee plays a major role in the planning and development of Build Pittsburgh ‐ AIA Pittsburgh’s annual continuing education conference and exhibitor show. If you are interested, please contact Rachael Kelley at AIA Pittsburgh.