Continuing Education FAQ's

Continuing Education

When am I required to have my continuing education completed? Is it by calendar year?

The CE rules have been amended, and beginning January 1, 2013 you should record your continuing education activities by calendar year. When you renew in 2014 or after, you will be asked to verify completion of the 12 hour requirement for the previous calendar year. Renewal dates will remain the same: the last day of the registrant’s birth month.

Example: if your expiration date is May 31, when you renew prior to May 31, 2017 you must confirm that you completed 12 hours of continuing education in calendar year 2016.

What is the annual continuing education requirement?

Twelve (12) Continuing Education Program Hours (CEPH) of continuing education activities related to the health, safety and welfare of the public annually, including one hour related to barrier-free design and one hour related to sustainable or energy-efficient design. At least 8 hours must be structured study, and up to 4 hours may be self-directed study.

What is meant by “Continuing Education Program Hour?”

Continuing Education Program Hour, or CEPH, is how TBAE rules officially refer to a period of at least fifty (50) minutes spent in an activity meeting the Board's continuing education requirements. One CEPH may be referred to by various organizations as one "credit hour", "hour", "learning unit" or other terms, but for TBAE purposes one CEPH amounts to at least 50 minutes of CE credit.

What is barrier-free design?

Barrier-free design is the design or alteration of a building which complies with the Texas Accessibility Standards, the American with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, or similarly accepted standards for accessible design.

Does the legislation define sustainable and energy-efficient design?

No, legislation did not define the relevant terms, instead leaving that task to the agency. The Board solicited guidance and commentary starting in 2007, and received input from many sources during the crafting of the definitions and new rules to implement the law.

Does this new sustainability requirement replace the current barrier-free requirement?

No, both requirements will apply. So that’s 1 hour of barrier-free design and 1 hour of sustainable or energy-efficient design, out of the 12 CEPH reported to TBAE. A total of 12 hours is still the requirement.

How do you define “sustainable or energy-efficient design,” and who came up with those definitions?

The following definitions were proposed during the October 15-16, 2007 Board meeting to implement legislation passed in the 80th Legislative Session. The definitions and rules were crafted with input from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), and individuals, and became effective April 3, 2008. The complete rules are posted at www.tbae.state.tx.us.

Sustainable Design – An integrative approach to the process of design which seeks to avoid depletion of energy, water, and raw material resources; prevent environmental degradation caused by facility and infrastructure development during their implementation and over their life cycle; and create environments that are livable and promote health, safety and well-being. Sustainability is the concept of meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Energy-Efficient Design – The design of a project and the specification of materials to minimize the consumption of energy in the use of the project. The term includes energy efficiency strategies by design as well as the incorporation of alternative energy systems.

What is the difference between self-directed and structured course study?

Self-directed course study is equivalent to self-study (4 CEPH maximum). Reading from on-line resources, books, and professional journals or magazines may be used as self-directed study. Structured course study (8 CEPH minimum) refers to activity that is in a classroom or classroom equivalent setting. An online or monograph course may be considered classroom equivalent activity if the course contains an independently graded exam.

What are health, safety and welfare?

Health may include aspects of design that have salutary effects among users of buildings or sites and address health and environmental issues. Safety may include aspects of design intended to limit or prevent accidental injury or death among users of buildings or sites. Welfare may include aspects of design that engender positive emotional responses among or enable equal access by users of buildings or sites.

Can I take the same course that I took last year for this year’s CEPH requirement? What about self-directed study?

No. You cannot repeat anything you have taken in the last 3 years except for the Texas Accessibility Academy or another similar course offered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). The same restrictions apply to self-directed study.

Where can I find a copy of the Texas Accessibility Standards?

The Texas Accessibility Standards are available online from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation at www.license.state.tx.us.

May I get an extension to complete my continuing education requirements?

No – you cannot renew your registration until your continuing education is complete.

Am I allowed to carry over hours between registration periods?

Up to 12 hours not used for the current period may be carried over to the next period. Hours may not be carried forward more than one year.

May I apply continuing education hours to more than one profession?

Yes, if it is appropriate for more than one profession.

When am I required to submit my continuing education documents?

You are only required to submit your continuing education documents to TBAE if they have been requested. Each registrant certifies their compliance with the continuing education upon renewal every year.

Where can I find a CEPH Log?

You may print a current copy of the CEPH Log from the TBAE website at CEPH Log

How long am I required to maintain my continuing education records?

Five years after the end of the registration period for which credit is claimed.

Do you have a list of courses and providers in my area? How can I determine if the course I am taking will be approved for CEPH credit?

The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) does not pre-approve courses or register providers of continuing education. Please review the criteria in the rule, and use your professional judgment to determine if an activity relates to your profession and the health, safety and welfare of the public.

What is considered acceptable supporting documentation?

Acceptable supporting documentation issued by the provider includes a certificate of completion, or letter from the provider that indicates the title of the activity, number of hours of credit awarded, the date completed, the provider/instructor contact information and your attendance. You may attach your AIA or ASLA transcript as supporting documentation as well.

If you read from a book as part of your self-directed CEPH requirement, you may print out the front cover of the book and the table of contents; if you read from a professional magazine, journal or online material, you may submit a copy of the article. Please include a signed and dated statement indicating that you have reviewed this material and specify the number of hours you are claiming for CEPH credit (4 maximum in self-directed activity) as supporting documentation.

Does attending a TBAE Board meeting count for structured CE credit?

One CEPH in structured course work may be claimed for attendance at one full-day session of a meeting of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.

What other types of self-directed activity may I use for CEPH credit besides reading professional magazines and books that are relevant to my registration?


  • Hours spent in professional service to the general public which draws upon the registrant’s architectural/interior design/ landscape architectural professional expertise, such as serving on planning commissions, building code advisory boards, urban renewal boards, or code study committees.
  • Hours spent in architectural/interior design/landscape architectural research which is published or formally presented to the profession or public.
  • Hours spent in architect/interior design/landscape architect self-directed study programs such as those organized, sponsored or approved by the American Institute of Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the International Interior Design Association, the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards or similar organizations acceptable to the Board.

How many CEPH may I claim for college or university courses?

College or university credit courses dealing with architect/interior design/landscape architect subjects or ethical business practices may be awarded credit based on the following guidelines:

  • Each semester credit hour shall equal one (1) CEPH
  • Each quarter credit hour shall equal one (1) CEPH

How do I apply for a continuing education exemption?

You must complete the Continuing Education Exemption Application and attach all required supporting documentation. Applications for exemption must be received 4 weeks prior to the registration expiration date. You will be notified by mail (approximately 2-4 weeks) when your exemption request has been approved or denied, or if additional documentation is needed.

If my documents are requested by TBAE am I required to fill out a CEPH log or can I just attach a copy of my transcript?

You are required to complete and maintain a separate CEPH Log and supporting documentation for each registration period and for each profession for which you are registered. You may attach your AIA, NCIDQ or ASLA transcript as supporting documentation. Please circle or highlight activities on the transcript which you are claiming for CEPH credit. Supporting documentation may also include a course description, agenda, or certificate of completion that indicates the title of the activity, number of hours of credit awarded, the date completed, the provider/instructor contact information, if available, and your attendance.

Please visit the Continuing Education Requirements page for definitions and additional information on continuing education.

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The mission of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) is to serve the State of Texas by protecting and preserving the health, safety, and welfare of the Texans who live, work, and play in the built environment through the regulation of the practice of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design.

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