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The American Institute of Architects was founded on April 15, 1857. The group is headquartered in Washington D.C. The goal of the organization is to promote the use of and help those to attain membership. It is also an organization that helps newcomers become part of the group through study and proper licensing techniques. As of now, there are more than ninety-thousand members of the organization. There are different levels of membership as well. Here are the five levels and what one can do once attaining these memberships.

The first level of membership is called the Architect Members. This level of membership is made up of those people who are officially licensed to practice the craft of architecture by a licensing authority in the United States. The second level in the organization is called the Associate Members. These members are not yet officially licensed by the group but these members are working with a professional in the craft in order to become Architect Members. The Third level in this organization is called the International Associate Members. These are people of the group that hold the equivalent of the architecture degree outside of the United States. For example, a person living in France could hold this position with the proper training. The fourth level in this organization is called the Emeritus Members. These are members of the organization that have held their membership for fifteen consecutive years or are sixty-five years and over. This group also pertains to those who cannot work in the architecture profession any longer due to illness or become incapacitated and cannot do any of the work required. The fifth and final level of the organization is called the Allied Members. These are members of the group who work in a profession that is in some way related to the profession of architecture. A few examples of these professions include senior executive staff members from a building firm or landscape architects. Landscape architects are also known as planners and lay the groundwork for the job at hand for the architect.

The highest award that a member of the group can receive is called the Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. This honor only goes to those people who have contributed a great deal on the national level to qualify for this award.

This is the way the group works. With hard work, one can reach the top.