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I'm one of those frustrated 2/3rds of all architecture graduates who can't finish IDP as it currently is structured. Time for all arch graduates and interns to start to Occupy NCARB
This is one of the favorite topics on Archinect (with too many threads to post them all), here are the top threads:
2/3 cant finish IDP? you mean because of a lack of jobs available?
The problems with IDP started long before the current great recession. in my case, I specialized in something that IDP doesn't require many hours in - master planning, sustainability, and project management - now teaching.
i don't really get it - can someone expand on why they think IDP is overly burdensome? it seems pretty damn straightforward to me.
how did your project managing not fill IDP requirements?
sustainability, again i dont follow. if you are talking about building sustainable buildings, why wouldnt that have counted towards IDP requirements? Maybe if you elaborated on what you mean by specializing in sustainability?
teaching, no offense, but that shouldnt count towards IDP at all, considering you arent working under a registered architect on construction projects
barry - you were supposed to fudge your hours like everyone else.
Right on Barry!
Besides the whole process being a burdensome time-suck (that for the most part derails you from focusing on real career growth), it is incredibly inflexible. Those approaching the career from a less beaten path are at a huge disadvantage. The process only seems to have loyal company men in mind.
There are multiple ways to practice as an architect/landscape architect, yet NCARB only recognizes one - the internship route.
Never fudged my hours in the eight years of being in IDP - stopped counting/submitting after wracking up over 7000 units. All that I need is about two month of CDs and CA work, but I'm too senior to be hired for grunt work. being a PM doesn't require being licensed as an arch (I am licensed as a LA). I've worked for both licensed archs, LAs and planners. With sustainability, my project contributions were typically earlier in the design process and never had a project that needed more than a day or two tweaking the specs in cds.
As for teaching/research, I'm working with other licensed professionals in an accredited program, so why doesn't this count towards promoting the health, safety, and welfare of the public? In my research, I'm creating new tools and validating processes that are directly applicable to practice - so again, why doesn't this count?
if you can't complete IDP in eight years, you were doing something seriously wrong... and it sounds like you could be licensed in a few months - hardly something to have an existential crisis about.
The designobserver article is a good one. NCARB needs serious reform, if not tear the whole mess to the ground and start over again. Why are these critical organizational structures always put together by the most egregious bean counters?
I wonder, could you work part-time at a 'traditional' firm until you've finished your hours? It's not a clean solution, but it could be a good option if you are trying to knock out some of the weirder options (cost-estimating, anyone?)
I also have this problem because I am in a specialty; the others I know in my area (nb: okay, there aren't that many) who have also gone this route wound up either finishing their licensure beforehand, or taking a sabbatical and working for a different firm.
Given that there are a lot of different ways to actually *be* an architect, though, I would argue that NCARB should be reformed to allow multiple paths to licensure. We're not all prepping CDs for bids.
haha @shoj. what a tool bag. making a username just so you can troll this thread. wow, some cool club it must be if you're in it.
i have never done anything idp related, but it seems to me that if someone is willing to sign off on it, fudging your hours wouldn't hurt anyone. not even you at this point. that said, i can no doubt believe that the idp program needs reform. why does this thing we call "design thinking" never seem to apply to the systems that manage our field of practice?
I tried my hardest not fudging my hours from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Lorcan O'herlihy's office, but you know in either case there is some sort of fudging being done regardless. On one hand you have the automated computer system which lets project managers track every second, every expense, mean, car ride, etc.. On the other it's honor system, based on how much time you feel you spent, adjusting morally what you feel is right on a value scale. When I asked both firms, I got a spreadsheet from one and a call back with verbal confirmation on what we agreed upon. You know there's inaccuracy in even the computer system, because how much of that did you actually spend working?! I know because they ask you to log in when you open a file.. then you get a phone call on another job, go figure..
So, yeah, nothing's perfect, but you try! :) I'm sure you'll be fine w/ some fudge.
Okay, so I've refined my thoughts a bit. I'm a bit more on the fence about this, but still stand by the general consensus that IDP represents a very limited way of working as an architect.
An architecture license prepares you for a very specific way of working, and you pretty much know exactly the type of work, bureaucratic procedures, etc. that you would be dealing with. I still consider it an important professional step to be licensed because, even though I'm not working in traditional practice and don't officially need a license to consult, I still very much exist within this professional framework. It's an important body of skills to have, even if you wind up being a more specialized architect that doesn't use each and every one of those skills in your day-to-day practice.
However, the profession has historically contracted because all the different specialties became their own disciplines. A very rigid IDP promotes that mentality of further narrowing the precise scope of what it is an architect does - as new types of disciplines arise to deal with the built environment, the profession of architecture proportionately loses even more scope. This is even without the willing loss of scope and liability with the rise of professions like 'construction manager' as architects wall themselves into a 'design' corner.
Should master planners, facilities managers, spec writers, acoustical consultants, energy specialists, etc. be considered architects? Depending on how they work, they could very well deal with very architectural concepts (if they are good specialists). They work under the scope of architectural practice, although they don't really fall under the official legal practice of architecture (for the moment). About the only recent development I can think of where architects are embraced despite not being 'traditional practice' is in design-build, although I hear tell that they are very likely to be a decorator, applying things like 'architecture' and 'style' and 'design' to least-cost developer shlock.
In their own way, these are still architects! I don't think our organizations really recognize this yet.
Even USGBC has different categories for different types of 'green' things you'd design. Why not NCARB?
I recently finished IDP. It was fu*kt. I have been in the field since 1994 as a student intern. I could not get the experience for IDP until recently. I understand we have to pay some dues and NCARB thinks you can get it done in a few years. I really wanted to follow it to the letter of the law so here I am with over a decade of internment. I had to go from firm to firm just to get the required areas. When you work for a firm you get a job position and job description. Pretty much this means you ONLY are allowed to do the things in your position. So I guess it is a double edged sword kind of debate. I hated getting a job position that only let me do one thing. NCARB wants well rounded professionals so interns have to put the pressure on employers to diversify the intern's duties. Try telling your employer you want / need to switch camps from production to design in order to finish IDP and they will tell you to sit tight (i.e. eat a bag of dicks). I HAD to go from firm to firm to get the experience since I didn't think that bag looked appetizing. The good news is CIDP is going away, so it is a step in the right direction.
if you arent working on actual buildings, I dont see why this should count at all. Though if you are validating processes (not quite sure what this means) with licensed architects, I would assume that means you put them to practical use in some fashion. Is there a reason these hours wouldnt count? Or would they not sign off on them or something?
The requirements are pretty vague. If you work for 8 years, I dont really see how you didnt fulfill them all
I have mixed feelings and opinions about this issue, but here’s something to think about:
“Time for all arch graduates and interns to start to Occupy NCARB”
If you do that, the first response you’ll get from policy-makers is the same first response that people at occupy wall street got: There’s nothing wrong with the system; if you have any problems you shouldn’t blame anyone but yourselves.
Perhaps there are better chances for this to be heard if it comes from a couple of respected FAIA. The same way that the discussion about the top 1% and the rest of us takes a different dimension if Warren Buffett (and not a poor guy) is the one who says that congress should stop coddling the super-rich and putting pressure on those at the bottom.
i'm an oldster, seeker, and YES it's a screwed up system, as i recall. i haven't seen anything that our interns are experiencing that's made it better. my frustration was more with the test than with the idp process (though that had its unnecessary burdens, as well). to me the test was a ridiculously dumbed-down set of problems that penalized functional knowledge of the work we do and rewarded slavish following-of-directions. you took it with proprietary broken software: years later, i still remember spending 20 precious minutes trying to make a line snap where i wanted it to stay during the site design test.
at the time i wrote several protest letters. some i sent, some i didn't. (didn't want to make myself a known trouble-maker before they granted me passage.) i told myself that after i got through it, i'd work to fix it. then i passed, got busy, and other things became priorities...
see the problem with your suggestion, seeker, that old people have to be the ones to make noise is that - as passionate and pissed off as i was about ncarb when i was at their mercy - it's hard to rekindle that same passion after you're finished with it. you're exhausted and want to move on.
I sent a letter to NCARB a few years ago sating that as a member - I have been since registration - I was upset that my mentees were dealing with several years of ridiculously long wait times for responses from NCARB despite fees going up over the same period. I received back a pretty boilerplate letter saying that they were working on improving their process. I'm not sure how much/if it has changed in the meantime.
“Time for all [ARCHITECTS,] arch graduates and interns to start to Occupy NCARB”
Someone just got served by the swift hand of justice with an office smack.
let's use barry as an example:
should someone who has less than 150 days worth of CD and CA experience be a licensed architect?
how low of a standard do you guys want to set?
I must be one of the few that think that IDP and the ARE are not difficult enough. I completed my IDP in 3 years 2 months with no fudging at all. I just kept a focused track on what I needed to do to complete it and then asked for that type of work. The point of IDP is so that "specialists" can't become architects. They are not supposed to be architects. An architect must have the full breadth of knowledge associated with all aspects of the design process. I don't want someone that has barely touched CDs or been on a construction site diluting my profession. And same goes for the person that has only done CDs or been on a construction site, but has not done programming or conceptual design. The problem with the issue you take is that a registered architect has done everything that you have done plus. That is why that person is an architect and you are not.
the standard is already very low, and the requirement catergories are rather vague to allow for a lot of leeway (and i am not talking about fudging hours)
yes, you need to work in an architectural firm under a registered architect. There has to be some baseline experience requirement if there will be any at all, and this one is incredibly low. The tests, while annoying, are basic in their scope.
To say you cant finish IDP because of how it is structured is a bit ridiculous. If you choose to instantly become a specialist, then I dont see why all the rules should be changed to fit your specific career. I have a feeling though that a lot of your work experience would have actually counted, unless you did the same single task over and over again for 8 straight years.
Just go get a building inspector license. Take an open book test and you can review the architect's work!
Since I'm using my own experience as the point of departure for this thread, I guess it's worth sharing a few more details of my cv. Prior to starting IDP, I spent over 6 years as a designer in a design-build situation, so have a huge amount of non-certified experience designing CDs and CA. I also racked up 3 years of p.t. work in firms during grad school which didn't meet the minimum reporting threshold for IDP, but certainly exceed the cumulative total of units of experience that I'm now missing.
The IDP system as it is currently designed, is intended for folks that have no prior professional experience. There are a bunch of folks who started their own practices immediately after school, who are unable to complete IDP or get licensed no matter what their merits are. There are also folks (like me) who are multi-disciplinary with professional licensure and senior responsibilities in practice that again, are unable to complete IDP without undertaking onerous steps.
IDP does not make better architects (nor do 3d skilz). Being licensed is as much about professional responsibility and acknowledging your own competencies and abilities. NCARB should be embracing diversity in practice (racial/gender/specialization) and not forcing folks who want to call themselves 'architect' to fudge their titles.
the problem is and always has been how to verify these "other" professional experiences
right now, they are verified by their own members, other registered architects. While that certainly doesn’t guarantee any sort of truthfulness to the verification, it gives it minor credibility in that at the very least, it is one of their own members signing off.
I am not sure how you realistically verify hours that are not signed off by a registered architect. It would have to be a specific case by case basis, which would most likely turn into a huge headache all around, as that means more and more NCARB staff to review each case individually. Given the stellar quality of the current NCARB staff with their minimal responsibility, I don’t expect it to be a very efficient system. Plus, there are already endless complaining threads about paying NCARB dues, which would only increase significantly if they had to verify so many individual cases.
A license is a baseline. All it does is say you have X experience and have passed these exams. To add any more to that just seems like it will make more of a headache all around. Because it will then turn into that is what everyone wants to do, and no one will do IDP anymore just to save themselves 10 minutes of logging hours every 6 months. So not only will you have all these people like Barry who genuinely have other professional experiences, you will have all these interns who just didn’t keep up or feel like logging their hours.
An alternative would be to eliminate the work experience requirement, and let anyone take the exams once they graduate from an accredited school. But then that kind of lessens the license even further in my opinion, and at that point, might as well just make it a final exam in your last year at school.
Of course, then you will still have all these people who then decide that their “alternate” degrees should be enough to allow them to sit for the exams, and we will have this same discussion all over again
I dont think IDP claims to make better architects, and if it did, that would be a joke. It's a baseline, nothing more. I dont think NCARB's purpose has anything to do with race or gender and is concerned with a general licnese, and should not be concerned at all with specialization. Who then decides what specialties get to be included in NCARB?
I don't think the imperative should be 'interns, occupy NCARB!'. The imperative really should be 'NCARB, occupy architectural practice!'
The city of our expertise as architects keeps sprawling all over the place, but NCARB has never bothered to annex anything beyond its original borders. As a result, we are in this weird in-between place where the architectural practice is shrinking in scope and size, and a lot of practitioners who don't directly fall within this scope (you know, the ones who might actually expand the list of things that architects can do!) can't officially join the practice even if they want to because they don't fall within the scope of this 'traditional practice'.
I agree with Marmkid, though - IDP does provide at least a minimal set of work experiences and expertise (that you hopefully have) that give a good, fundamental introduction to architecture through an apprenticeship system. I would argue that going to school for six years should be an important part of this expertise, but we all know that this is usually not the case :-p So, reform of the educational system should be part of that too.
Given that architecture is becoming more complex, I wonder if we would see a tiered system like engineers have. You have a basic test that you take (FE, but for architects) that says you have a certain minimum expertise for licensure. You then work for a while and take a second test in a field of expertise (what would those fields be? Traditional practice? General architectural engineering? Landscape/master planning?) that makes you officially an architect.
"There are multiple ways to practice as an architect/landscape architect, yet NCARB only recognizes one - the internship route."
Snooker has been Snookered by NCARB....yes it is true. I'm just to damn old to argue with them about their understanding of the world of Architecture. That should be they only recognize the internship route after the education route. intenship=apprenticeship, I say yes they say no.
who is more worthless the AIA or NCARB?
-one rewards the commodification of architecture, petting the cat so to speak,
-the other is a regulating body for how to professionalize the cat, tricking the masses of 'professionals' into thinking they have some kind of responsibility that merits such a laborious edication
....Im going to play some Call of Duty
But you guys ARE NOT Architects. You may be decent designers or planners but that is not the legal definition of the title Architect who is entrusted to protect the health and safety of the public via their TECHNICAL and LIFE SAFETY knowledge and most of all EXPERIENCE.
After 3 years of Law School you can take the bar and be a lawyer in 6 months, have lives in your hands, write contracts, etc... My friend did this and started a practice in a year of graduating, and is now doing better than lawyers in the business for 30years. Young competition is a healthy force. Imagine if programmers or scientists had the same type of road block (no Google, apple, Facebook, theory of general relativity, and so on) Experience is important, but so is talent, and if we stifle the industry by creating a road block that takes the power to fulfill a dream out of the hands of the individual then hard work and determination only go so far. IDP requirements in this economy prohibit one’s ability to become an Architect, because it’s not up to them as much as it is up to shitty economic circumstances and the cooperation of an employer. Take a look at Scarpa, Ando, etc, etc.... They all did OK without IDP. I think the tests are enough! If we pass and fuck up then it’s our problem, we get sued.
There have been Architects for 4000 years prior to NCARB. This title thing is so annoying!!!
Bramante was just a designer I guess.
Experience is important, but so is talent, and if we stifle the industry by creating a road block that takes the power to fulfill a dream out of the hands of the individual then hard work and determination only go so far.
Having your license and having talent are not necessarily related. Hard work and determination will get you licensed.
IDP requirements in this economy prohibit one’s ability to become an Architect, because it’s not up to them as much as it is up to shitty economic circumstances and the cooperation of an employer.
I am pretty sure this has been bitched about during good economies as well though. This economy prohibits a lot of things, and having a steady job is important. The only real alternative is to eliminate the work experience requirement completely. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I think it could be a valid solution with the right system. The exams would need to get a lot harder though, otherwise we would seriously lessen the value of the license.
Take a look at Scarpa, Ando, etc, etc.... They all did OK without IDP. I think the tests are enough! If we pass and fuck up then it’s our problem, we get sued.
Again, I don’t necessarily disagree. But you speak of talented individuals. How would you prevent the ordinary masses who would bring the industry down with the huge increase in licensed architects? It’d be like the old LEED AP status. It became almost meaningless because everyone was a LEED AP. How do you prevent that from happening with licensed architects?
The tests could be enough, but I think they would need to be much harder than they are, because it shouldn’t be something that someone just can walk in, study for a few months and just pass.
Really though, all you would be doing is just lowering the overall bar that comes with someone having their license. Right now, having your license means 2 things. You have worked for several years with a registered architect, and you have the motivation to pass 7 exams. From a construction industry view, do we want the people who legally sign off on our drawings to have even less of a baseline?
I agree that to have a license, you should have to have worked directly with someone who has one. I find the apprenticeship-type working relationship to be very beneficial in our industry. I think it’s a very minor requirement to include, but has overall very positive effects. If you remove that, then really, it should just be included in any accredited arch program degree requirement.
everyone keeps throwing out all the names that were in our architectural history 101 books saying that they didnt need a license to be an architect
right now, if you were any of those architects, you wouldnt need a license either. you can design anything for anyone. And if you are good enough, they will get someone else to sign off on it. A license has no meaning if you are as good as Bramante or whoever else, just like it has no meaning if you have an incredibly rich client who likes your designs
"the legal definition of the title Architect who is entrusted to protect the health and safety of the public via their TECHNICAL and LIFE SAFETY knowledge and most of all EXPERIENCE"
on top of that the apprenticeship-type working relationship is an antiquated and expired model
The only real alternative is to eliminate the work experience requirement completely. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I think it could be a valid solution with the right system. The exams would need to get a lot harder though, otherwise we would seriously lessen the value of the license.
I would be all for that. I think the tests and the education should be harder, but at least our future would be in our hands. Experiance is important, but all I'm saying is that we should have an alternative path if this one is blocked by the economy. I am frusterated that I graduated top of my class, read architecture books on friday nights for fun, have a great portfolio, and yet, can't be an architect because I can't get a job, and may not be able to finish IDP for another decade.
How would you prevent the ordinary masses who would bring the industry down with the huge increase in licensed architects? It’d be like the old LEED AP status. It became almost meaningless because everyone was a LEED AP. How do you prevent that from happening with licensed architects?
Seriously? Have you been outside lately, or better yet have you ever been to Phoenix?
whether or not you have IDP, there are going to be good architects and crappy ones.
whether or not you have IDP, there are going to be good architects and crappy ones.
yeah seriously, so then your solution is to make it even easier to become a licensed architect?
I would be all for that. I think the tests and the education should be harder, but at least our future would be in our hands.
The education would have to be almost completely reformed, as from my experience anyway (limited to just my specific undergrad and then grad schools), it barely goes into anything in the profession beyond schematic design. No internships were ever required, and it was essentially how good can you make your design portfolio. Which I was fine with, because I was never under the illusion that I knew everything I needed to know to be an architect when I graduated. It was all with the understanding of an apprentice type work internship coming after graduation.
I think work experience is invaluable, especially while you are in school. If it were required though, then we fall into the same economic issues that we currently have anyway. If students were out there looking for work, then there is some cheaper labor to take away jobs from the rest of us, even temporarily. Which would then lead to more complaining about the economy. It’s hard to get relevant experience that isnt a real building project unfortunately.
Experiance is important, but all I'm saying is that we should have an alternative path if this one is blocked by the economy.
The only one I could see that could be viable is making the exams that much harder to pass without actual experience and knowledge. Academic reform has been discussed a lot on the boards and I think has a lot of merit. But its also something that, if it is going to replace the 3+ years of hours currently required by IDP, will be a MAJOR reform to school’s current program. I am not saying that isnt a good thing, but it is a very lengthy change that I am not sure who will enforce.
I still havent heard a viable alternative that doesn’t devalue a license though
I am frustrated that I graduated top of my class, read architecture books on friday nights for fun, have a great portfolio, and yet, can't be an architect because I can't get a job, and may not be able to finish IDP for another decade.
It is definitely frustrating out there all around. What is the current status of IDP and concurrently taking your exams though? Say you finish and pass all your exams, but still have to finish the required IDP hours. How long after you pass your last exam do they remain eligible for you to complete your IDP hours?
That’s a way around it right now for those stuck without a job. You can focus on your exams and get that part out of the way. Then you can use that on your resume as you are looking for a job. Yes, my exams are all passed and complete, so if you hire me, in X months, I will have my license and you will have a licensed architect.
yes easier to become a licensed architect, but harder to stay in business due to increased competition! You know why the food is good in NY? It's because there are so many places to eat. If you suck your out!
so because a few of us are having some issues because of the economy, and because some of us prefer to specialize right out of school, we should lessen the value of the license so it is easier for those to get one?
I just dont follow how that makes anything better
actually, let's just hand an architecture license to every baby born in the U.S.
i wish that once you pass the LEED exam, then you get your architectural license
Then i'd be set
I don't see how the title architect is lessened by more people holding it. There are a million lawyers in the US and a million doctors. What is destroying the value of the title is the fact that architects have lost many roles in society to developers, civil engineers, and planners, but that is another discussion.
I am not talking about making it easier, I am talking about making it more accesible! Like I said, harder tests, harder education (get rid of March and make it a doctorate similar to a J.D)It's just the IDP thing that I have a problem with, and the fact that it is the only way. How about an alternative being an additional 2 year educational program where you work in a mock firm. It can be taught by a licenced architect. All I am saying is many people like myself feel like there is no way out of this situation.
It's just the IDP thing that I have a problem with, and the fact that it is the only way. How about an alternative being an additional 2 year educational program where you work in a mock firm.
Really? You would rather pay for 2 additional years of school (on top of the 5-8 already required) rather than getting paid at a firm while you complete IDP?
doctors and lawyers didnt ease the requirements of their respective licenses just because of a bad economy or because people who didnt work with licensed doctors and lawyers wanted their license.
And since we continuously like to compare ourselves to doctors and lawyers, do they have alternate routes available to them? I am not really familiar with the details of the path each must take
Dont doctors from other countries who come to the US have to go through some type of residency at a hospital just like any graduate, ignoring any professional experience they had before coming to the US? Or did i just see that on Scrubs or something, haha?
I am all for having an alternate route, but i still havent heard one that seems reasonable to implement. The best bet would be to start at the college level and make those requirements stricter, so then all you need to do is pass your exams once you graduate. But what does that even mean to make the education harder? What would you be doing? The best way would be to be interning at an actual office. Which in that case, how is it any different from IDP? Except maybe if it is part of a degree program, the school would have it set up with firms for there to be available jobs, which would help things in a bad economy. But then, in our profession, its hard to project that much work steadily to that point, so I dont know how well that could even be implemented?
I think starting at the bottom is the best way (college level). Once we get into circumstances where established professionals are looking for an alternate route is where I dont see it being that realistic, and just see it as something that can quickly either jack up fees for everyone since we now need to employ a ton more NCARB members to personally review each individual on a case by case basis, or it can just become an easy route around IDP where no one ever needs to bother logging hours and/ or firms have even less incentive to give interns any sort of varied work experience.
I would rather have the option to do so. At least when I'm done I would be hired as an Architect or could start a firm on my own. In this economy so many people have been unable to find jobs in firms, and the firms that are hiring want licensed architects because they don't want to spend time and money training people. Debt sucks, but I would rather be 150k in debt with a license than 100k in debt without one.