In most developed countries, only those qualified with an appropriate license, certification or registration with a relevant body (often governmental) may legally practice architecture. Such licensure usually requires a university degree, successful completion of exams, as well as a training period. Representation of oneself as an architect through the use of terms and titles is restricted to licensed individuals by law, although in general, derivatives such as architectural designer are often not legally protected.
To practice architecture implies the ability to practice independently of supervision. The term building design professional (or Design professional), by contrast, is a much broader term that includes professionals who practice independently under an alternate profession, such as engineering professionals, or those who assist in the practice of architecture under the supervision of a licensed architect such as intern architects. In many places, independent, non-licensed individuals may perform design services outside the professional restrictions, such design houses and other smaller structures.