In the United States, people wishing to become licensed architects (interns) are required to pass a series of multiple exams (depending on specific criteria set forth by the State in which the testing is conducted), referred to as the Architectural Registration Examination (the ARE). In addition, interns must have multiple years of documented practical work experience (quantity depends on type of educational experience and type of educational degree earned) working under a licensed Architect before they may become eligible to take the ARE. Although the ARE is a national exam, each state issues their own licenses. Some states, such as California and Hawaii, require supplemental exams in addition to the ARE. Other states have reciprocity agreements, so licenses may be easily transferred between certain states.
There are three types of accredited ("professional") degrees in architecture in the United States; a Bachelor of Architecture, a Master of Architecture, or a Doctor of Architecture (abbreviated as B.Arch., M.Arch., and D.Arch., respectively). These are called professional degrees as they are required to enter the profession. A Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture (BFA Arch) or Bachelor of Environmental Design (B.Envd) typically takes four years – as opposed to five for a B. Arch degree – and is considered a pre-professional degree. However a professional degree is still required (to take the ARE and to practice) and the programs are often combined usually leading to an M.Arch degree. A pre-professional degree is not necessary to enter a professional degree program, but accelerates completion. Following graduation from a professional program, documented apprenticeship (typically 3 year internship) is required before the individual is eligible to take the ARE and become licensed.
The American Institute of Architects  is the professional organization dedicated to offering a network of services to architects in the United States. Architects who are members of this organization are permitted to use the suffix AIA after their names. Not all architects who are licensed by their respective states are members of the AIA, and the general public often confuses the AIA suffix with actual credentials rather than participation in a business organization.