In California architects are licensed by the California Architects Board. Here is the site for more info: http://www.cab.ca.gov/
Contractors in California are required to be licensed by CSLB for any work of $300 or more. The Contractors State Licensing Board is the agency that enforces against unlicensed contractors: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/
You should avoid hiring any unlicensed contractor. An unlicensed contractor cannot lawfully collect money above $300 for the work and you can refuse to pay even for satisfactory work. There is no reason why any competent and honest worker with the requisite skills would avoid State licensure and risk criminal prosecution for working without the license. protect yourself and your home by avoiding unlicensed contractors. Always verify the license before making any written agreement, allowing any work ton your property to commence, and before making any payment for any work.
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Architects are required to be licensed in California. Similarly, General Contractors and specialty contractors are required to be licensed in California. If an unlicensed contractor does work for you, the contractor cannot enforce the agreement and recover money from you. You should avoid working with unlicensed contractors.
You need to separate between design done by engineers and architects and construction done by contractors. Regardless either one need to be licensed in their area of practice. Do not contract with an unlicensed individual.
Not everyone who draws up plans is required to be a licensed architect. Designers can also draw up plans and are not licensed. I agree you should always use licensed contractors.
One does not need to be licensed to merely draw plans. Such plans can be submitted to the LADBS without problem. However, if the plan's include anything more than a simple drawing, then an architect or an engineer would be required to stamp the plans. The City will let you know if you need additional plans and or a stamp from a licensed architect or engineer.