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 Portfolio Package and Exam Details

​​​​Portfolio Package

Certification Eligibility Requirements

These requirements are a part of the Portfolio Package.  All components must be received/confirmed for the application to be considered complete.

  • Licensure for 3+ years within the U.S. or applicable international jurisdiction
  • 6,000+ hours total healthcare experience within last 5 years (can include pre-licensed experience). The 6,000 hours of experience within the 5 year time frame can include pre-license experience.
  • Portfolio Package:
    • Client Reference Letters (3)
      • Must be from different current healthcare clients identifying the project(s) on which you are currently providing, or have previously provided professional architectural services.
      • The Reference letters should serve as general endorsement of the applicant's character, knowledge, skills, and abilities as a healthcare architect.
      • Letters are collected by the applicant and submitted with the Portfolio Package.
    • Architect Letters of Recommendation (3)
      • Must be from a licensed Architect, not within your own firm.
      • The Recommendation letters should supports the candidate's application for certification with the College.
      • Letters are collected by the applicant and submitted with the Portfolio Package.
    • Portfolio of Projects (3-9 healthcare projects in past 5 years)
      • Only one (1) of those projects may be from your secondary education/pre-license.​

For a complete, detailed summary of the Portfolio requirements, review the Certification Handbook.

Do you have a unique career pathway? Please email us with your eligibility questions.

Your Portfolio Package will be evaluated by the ACHA Certification committee, an independent, peer review panel. If approved to sit for the exam, you will receive detailed information about scheduling your exam in the same year applied. Please allow 6-8 weeks following the deadline by which your application was submitted.

  • Portfolio Package & Exam Application Early Bird Deadline: February 1
  • Portfolio Package & Exam Application Regular Deadline: April 1

Samples of Portfolios

Please note that the above portfolio samples are provided as examples of content only.

Exam Details

The ACHA Exam Testing Window is July 1-31. The computer-based exam is given at over 500 PSI Testing Centers across the globe. This ensures that all qualified candidates can easily access a testing site at a location and time that is convenient to them.

The examination is based on a content outline developed from a national survey of healthcare architects which identified tasks significant to practice. Examination questions are written by committee members and other practitioners to assess the knowledge and skills required to perform the identified tasks. No two exams are identical, although the content outline is constant (updated in 2019).

The objective examination consists of 120 multiple choice questions (100 scored and 20 non-scored pretest questions).  Applicants are presented with a question and are asked to choose the correct answer from multiple options. Pretesting questions allows examination committees to collect meaningful statistics about new questions that may appear as scored questions on future examinations.  These questions are not scored as part of the individual's pass/fail status. The pretest questions are scattered throughout the examination so applicants will answer them with the same care they would questions to be scored as part of the national examination. With pretesting methodology, applicants are ensured their scores are the result of sound measurement practices and that scored questions are reflective of current practice.

The passing score is identified based on analysis, once the examination window is complete. The score is based on the performance of the entire examination, not just individual content sections.  A letter will be mailed to examinees with their final exam result and score report by ACHA within 30 business days of the close of the Exam Testing Window.

Learn more in the Certification Handbook.

Detailed Content Outline

The summary content outline was developed from the current ACHA Job Analysis. The number of questions on the examination from each content area is provided with each major content heading.

Click here​ for Detailed Content Outline (updated in 2019).

Res​​​​ources

The list provided below is not mandatory reading nor is it intended to be inclusive of all materials that may be useful to you in preparing for the examination. These references do not necessarily include answers to all questions on the examination. Rather, it is intended to provide a guide to the nature of the material covered by the examination.

  • National Fire Protection Association. Specific codes and standards include NFPA 101: Life Safety Code current edition. Complete list of codes and standards available online at www.nfpa.org.
  • The Joint Commission Accreditation Manuals
  • 2018 FGI Guidelines

AIA Learning ​​​Units

Applicants who take and pass the examination will receive 20 AIA Learning Units from ACHA. ​

American College of Healthcare Architects
4400 College Blvd Suite 220
Overland Park, KS 66211

Phone: 913-222-8653
Fax: 913-222-8606