No matter where you are in your career—from pre-licensure to Fellowship, serving in a large firm or as a sole practitioner—AIA|DC has you covered. Join a committee or follow our calendar to participate in or plan professional development programs, mentorship initiatives, and workshops throughout your career progression.

Getting Licensed

ARE Test Prep

The annual David J. Varner Paths to Licensure Program strives to make a significant contribution to an individual’s ability to achieve licensure by offering coaching, and a network of resources to inspire and motivate individuals to navigate and pass their exams, and then celebrate this important career milestone with an annual networking event. The 2023 application deadline is July 15th - Apply Today!


AIA|DC and its Emerging Architects Committee (EAC) are focused on providing mentoring and support for those studying for the Architecture Registration Exam (ARE).

The EAC hosts quarterly ARE Trivia Nights, a fun way to test your knowledge and learn from others who are also preparing for the ARE or have recently completed the exams. The EAC also discusses relevant ARE issues at each of their monthly meetings, providing an opportunity for those studying to connect with mentors and peers.

Check out our calendar and the committee’s website for upcoming ARE Trivia Nights as well as EAC monthly committee meetings.

Purchasing ARE study materials? Kaplan is offering 15% off if you purchase through the link below.

  1. Visit this link.
  2. All prices reflect your special 15% discount. No promo code is required.
  3. During the checkout process, you will be prompted to create an account.
    Please be sure to select AIA Washington on the account creation page.

Other online resources:

Emerging Professionals

The AIA|DC Emerging Architects Committee (EAC) promotes education, leadership development, and community involvement among emerging architects, Associate AIA members, and architects licensed 10 years or less. EAC encourages the next generation of architects to start leading our community by heading committees, organizing events, participating in workshops, and attending our events.


Annual and quarterly Chapter events for emerging professionals include:

  • Mentorship Workshops and Speed Mentoring
  • Portfolio and Resume Workshops
  • Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP)
    In 2013, AIA|DC developed a unique training program to help cultivate the District’s next generation of design industry leaders. The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) schedule consists of nine half-day sessions, with one session occurring per month for nine months. Program participants include sixteen talented emerging professionals that have been selected through a competitive application process. The CKLDP curriculum focuses on core professional skills such as firm management, collaborative excellence, negotiating skills, client development, community leadership, trends analysis, entrepreneurship, the future of the practice, and of course, leadership. The program is kicked off by an introductory “Boot Camp” session, where participants get to know each other, develop curriculum goals for the year, and learn about the session framework for the remainder of the program sessions. Program participants, dubbed scholars, then work in pairs to plan and execute the monthly sessions based on their expressed interests and expertise. Each pair of scholars is responsible for planning of one of the remaining eight program sessions.
  • Virtual and in-person Open Houses with opportunities to network with top DC Firms, coordinated by the Urban Design Committee
  • Thesis Showcase:
    This program aims to spotlight the next generation of engaged architects emerging from today’s architecture schools. Through independent research, with guidance from an advisor, students develop a topic over the course of a year, relating its relevance to the field of architecture through written and visual exploration. The process involves questions and analysis, research and documentation, and experiments and testing with explanation of findings that support a proposition. At the end of the year, students present their thesis projects to an audience of practitioners, faculty, and students.

Mid-Career Professionals

The AIA|DC ACEL (Architects Coaching and Empowering Leaders) Committee provides leadership training for architects in the middle of their careers. ACEL encourages practicing architects to overcome career plateaus by offering content that expands traditional firm-based training and encourages discussion on topics paving the way in the profession. The vision of the committee is to accelerate opportunities for leadership and mentorship for architects in the middle of their careers.

Past webinars include:


The AIA|DC Fellows Committee facilitates the Fellowship candidacy process at the AIA|DC chapter level. The committee is comprised of active/participating committee members serving as a peer review assembly to solicit nominations, support nominations, and recommend candidates for chapter approval and subsequent submission to the national jury. The reviews are based on guidelines from the AIA Awards website and the College of Fellows mission.

Sole Practitioners and Small Firms

The Small Firm Exchange (SFx) seeks to advance the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms. The group advocates for the value of small firms within the AIA and out in public. It also promotes business development, marketing and leadership development. AIA DC SFx focuses the national mission at a local scale, engaging and supporting small firms practicing in Washington DC.

Past webinars include:


AIA|DC offers multiple ways to get involved in mentorship programs.

  • 360 Mentoring
    The goal of 360 mentoring is to allow for participants of all ages to discuss the arc of their careers and consider the impacts of mentoring beyond the traditional top-down approach. Participants will be expected to commit to attending all three virtual meetings and a minimum of three of the four small group meetings.
  • Speed Mentoring and Mentorship Workshops with the Emerging Architects Committee

Connecting Emerging Professionals with Fellows
AIA|DC, the Emerging Architects Committee, and the Fellows Public Programs Committee work together to connect those at the earlier stages of their careers with established professionals. If you are interested in mentorship or becoming a mentor, please reach out to the Committee Chairs or