Competency-based pathway to the Architectural Practice Examination

The National program of Assessment (NPrA) is a competency based assessment for those who have substantial skills and experience in the architectural profession, but do not have a recognised architectural qualification.

Taking the form of a complex architectural project, successful completion of the National Program of Assessment is recognised by all Australian registration authorities as an alternate entry to the Architectural Practice Examination, successful completion of which is necessary before applying to a State or Territory registration board to become registered as an architect.

The National Program of Assessment is a design exercise that tests candidates’ competency in architecture on the basis of their acquired knowledge and experience. The focus of the design exercise is to design a complex building in response to a hypothetical design brief.

Applications for the 2022 NPrA have closed

The National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA) describes what is reasonably expected of a person who can demonstrate the standard of skill, care and diligence widely accepted in Australia as a competent and professional Architect.

The 2021 NSCA was released in July 2021 and will be implemented across all AACA Assessment Programs in a staged roll-out from 2022.  The 2021 NSCA will be implemented across the National Program of Assessment from 2022. 

Key Documents

Candidates intending to apply for Stage 1 Eligibility of the NPrA in 2022 should familiarise themselves with the following documents before applying for the NPrA:

The National Program of Assessment – a two stage process

Stage 1 – Eligibility

Candidates must satisfy academic, English language, work experience and residency requirements. Candidates who are successful in Stage 1, will be invited to participate in Stage 2.

Stage 2 – Response to the Design Brief

Candidates must respond to the Project Brief by addressing particular Performance Criteria in the context of the National Standard of Competency for Architects.

Submissions take the form of a report and companion drawings. Candidates work alone in responding to the Project Brief and are given one opportunity to ask questions of the Assessors on the Project Brief.

Program Fees

  • Stage 1 – Eligibility $1,122
  • Stage 2 – Response to the design brief $3,672

All fees are GST free. AACA only accepts online credit card payments, by VISA or MASTERCARD. 1.6% surcharge applies to all online payments.


Applications for the 2022 program closed on 31 January 2022.  

Stage 1 Applications Open Wednesday 1 December 2021
Stage 1 Applications Close Monday 31 January 2022
Candidate Offers Distributed Tuesday 15 February 2022
Closing Date for Acceptance of Offers Tuesday 1 March 2022
Stage 2 Program Brief Distributed Wednesday 9 March 2022
Q & A Period Wednesday 9 March 2022 – Wednesday 6 April 2022
Q & A’s Distributed to Candidates Wednesday 11 May 2022
Closing Date for Withdrawal of Participation Wednesday 1 June 2022
Candidate Initial Conceptual Design Response due Wednesday 20 July 2022
Candidate Final Submissions due Wednesday 12 October 2022
Results emailed to Participants Monday 28 November 2022

More information: contact the AACA at [email protected]

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Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
Gadigal Country
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Located on Gadigal Country, the AACA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.