Experienced Practitioners – Local

Experienced Practitioners – Local

AACA’s Experienced Practitioner Assessment (Local) provides an alternate fast-track pathway to registration for eligible applicants who received architectural education in Australia.

Australian citizens and residents who completed their professional education overseas should select Experienced Practitioner Assessment (Overseas).

For the Experienced Practitioner Assessment (Local) program, AACA only assesses experienced practitioners in ACT, NSW, NT, TAS, VIC and WA. If you are an experienced practitioner in another state or territory, please contact your State or Territory’s Architects Registration Board for further information.

Applicants must demonstrate an applied understanding of the required Performance Criteria from the National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA).

Through a portfolio of Complex Projects*, applicants will demonstrate appropriate experience and practice of architecture at an Executive Level (principal decision-maker), as well as capacity to exercise professional skill as an architectural practitioner in Australia. Applicants must be familiar with relevant Australian contracts, regulations and legal requirements as required across the specified Performance Criteria within all scales of projects.

*Complex Project:  Typically, a project of medium scale or larger that requires the skill and knowledge to deliver the resolution and integration of complicated aspects including but not limited to: siting, planning, structure, services, materials, composition and configuration. A complex project is demanding in its ordering and organisation of  multiple occupancy and/or special purpose user requirements and requires the integration of cultural, social, environmental and technical issues. The building concerned contains at least 4 or more dwellings.

The realisation of a complex architectural project requires an understanding of the significance of specialist input for the resolution of structural and technical design components and special purpose provisions if and where they occur; procurement options and an understanding of resources required for effective resourcing of project specialist input, and the collaboration of an experienced professional team for the preparation of project documentation and contract administration.

Any residential project with less than 4 dwellings we would only accept in exceptional circumstances and with a built outcome that has a substantial number and complexity of consultants. Single dwelling residential projects would not be considered a complex project.

The information on this webpage is a summary only and applicants must follow the detailed information in the Guide for Applicants document below.

Key Documents

2022 Program Update

New submission requirements based on the 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects are effective 1 March 2022.  All applications submitted must follow the 2022 requirements. Please refer to the guide and templates on this page before submitting your application. 


To be eligible to submit an Experienced Practitioner Assessment application, you must have:

  • Minimum five-year professional qualification/s from an Australian accredited architecture program
  • Seven-years relevant professional postgraduate experience with a minimum of three years providing architectural services on complex projects practising at Executive Level (principal decision-maker)
  • 12 months relevant professional experience in Australia within the last three years
  • Permanent or temporary residency in Australia


  • Practice Management and Professional Conduct: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
  • Project Initiation and Conceptual Design: 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 32, 33, 34, 35
  • Detailed Design and Construction Documentation: 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47
  • Design Delivery and Construction Phase Services: 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60

Submission Checklist

  • Supporting items
    • Academic Documents
    • Proof of Residency
    • Checklist for Applicants
    • Proof of Name Change – pdf copy, if applicable
  • Assessable items Assessable items, compiled in a single A4 PDF document
    • Current Resume
    • Two References
    • Project Portfolio
    • NSCA Performance Criteria Checklist
  • Statutory Declaration
  • Payment of fee

Application Fees

    • Experienced Practitioner Assessment Local  AUD $3,420

A card transaction surcharge applies to all payments (1.49% for Australian cards and 2.9% for international cards).

Application Process

Applications follow the below process and are generally finalised within 12 weeks.

  • Submission
  • Eligibility verification
  • Panel-based Competency Assessment Interview
  • Outcome


Following the conduct of the Panel Interview, applicants will receive a written advice stating the outcome of the assessment.


Successful completion of this program allows applicants to bypass the Architectural Practice Examination and apply directly for registration as an architect with their state or territory architects registration board.


Unsuccessful Applicants will be advised of the NSCA Performance Criteria that they were unable to demonstrate and will be advised as to what pathway remains open to them for registration. Unsuccessful applicants are not eligible to re-apply through the Experienced Practitioner Assessment Program.


Applicants for the Experienced Practitioner Program must have completed a professional qualification in architecture of 5 years or equivalent and have experience as a primary decision maker in at least 4-6 complex projects. See the Guide for details.  If you do not meet these eligibility criteria, please look for more information on all the pathways to registration as an architect in Australia.  

Most commonly, you would have worked as a project leader in a primary decision making role, not-withstanding that you may have reported back to the director or other senior staff members, especially in a larger firm.

No. Only work experience gained post completion of the five years of professional study counts towards the required seven years of post-graduation experience in the Experienced Practitioner Assessment.

Generally, single dwelling residential projects would not be considered a complex project. Single residences and other projects that do not meet the definition of complex projects in the Experienced Practitioner Assessment can be submitted as a fifth or sixth portfolio project in addition to the four complex projects.  See the Guide for more information.

The complex project experience in at least four projects should not be older than ten years. You can submit older projects for the two additional projects.

One or two projects that have at least passed the DA stage, or are under construction can be submitted in the portfolio as long as the majority of projects (four projects out of six) has been built.

The primary reference needs to be from an Australian registered architect. The secondary reference could be prepared by a consultant, builder or client who was involved in one or more of your portfolio projects.

The secondary reference could be from an architect registered overseas providing they can comment on your professional involvement in overseas projects.  The primary reference needs to be from an Australian registered architect who can comment on your professional capacity to operate to the standard expected of an architect in Australia. 

To ascertain the currency of the professional work experience, it is important that both required references are within the three year period unless exceptional circumstances apply.  In some cases, an older reference could be considered as a third reference, provided it is not more than ten years old.

The registered architect should be a practising architect. We would accept a non-practising architect only if he/she has moved into the non-practising category no longer than 6-12 months ago and their name is still on the register.

One of your referees has to be a registered architect in Australia. This referee might not come from your current place of work, but the referee needs to be in a position to comment on your professional capacity to operate to the standard expected of an architect in Australia.

At least one box needs to be ticked against each Performance Criteria and may relate to any of the projects listed in the Checklist.

To be eligible for this pathway, we expect you to have project delivery experience on at least one of the complex projects submitted in your portfolio.

This is not acceptable, as the level of application in the EPA program requires the application of knowledge and skill.

No, you do not have to have worked under a registered architect. However, one of your referees needs to be a registered Australian architect who is required to comment on your professional capacity to operate to the standard expected of an architect in Australia on one or more of your portfolio projects.

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