Now that I am 25 (almost turning 26!), I am finally getting ready to take the ARE! I still haven't finished my IDP, but some of the states allow you to take the exams concurrently with your IDP hours - so check before you apply. I always felt like there was something missing since I graduated, like it's not complete until I become licensed. So after two years of hard work, it's about time! Sohere it begins:
It took me almost two months from the moment I clicked "Request Eligibility" on my NCARB to getting the approval email. I just want to share with you some quick tips of what I have learned and what you can totally do to avoid this situation.
1. Set a Goal
Everything is easier when you set up a goal for yourself. My goal is to finish all the seven exams before I turn 27. That gives me 1 year 1 month 25 days / 13 months 25 days / 421 days. Most people take 1-2 years to finish the ARE, so I think this is possible. If I take an exam every two months, that will be 14 months (given that I do not fail...). Setting up a goal early on helped me push the application process forward and pay that big bucks that I wasn't really willing to pay at first. If you have a goal and you really really want to finish it, you will do anything to finish it!
2. Update Your Record
I have submitted my request for the Authorization to Test to NY in January, but then I was told that my education status says "Incomplete". So I waited for my school to send my transcript to NCARB...and now two months later they finally approved me after a lot of phone calls and confusion.
When you go into NCARB to request eligibility, NCARB doesn't send the Board a report if you haven't finished your IDP hours yet. They only send the Board a link to review your status and see if you meet the state's requirements. So when my education status was finally updated to say "COMPLETE", I have to call NY Boards for Architecture and NCARB back and forth to make sure they understand each other.
So be sure you have an updated record before you request for eligibility through NCARB. Unless you want to godown this confusing and annoying path like I did…..
3. Be Ready to Pay $$
When I requested eligibility, I paid NCARB $250 to send my record. Then when I filled out the application form for the NY Board, I paid another $377. That's $627 in total! I knew ARE would be an expensive and long process, but given that I do not get paid a lot of money(but who does?), this presented a little bit of a surprise for me. Save up some money! This will at least be an investment well spent on your future.
4. Take it now!
My last piece of advice is to TAKE IT NOW! It's great that now some states allow us to take ARE before we have finished our IDP. I have heard/seen too many stories of how someone keep procrastinating and eventually life gets into ways so they just remain unlicensed. And as you get older, it's harder to study for tests (I am sure there is a statistics on that but that's just common sense right?) Remember it's always better to take it before you get married and have babies and do all that stuff called life.
Have you gone through any trouble applying for the ARE? If you have started your ARE, let us know!
And now let’s startcounting to the 421 days of studying...
Thanks for reading!
Documenting the life between our graduation from architecture school and becoming a licensed architect. They say it's the journey that matters, so here we are experiencing the joy of being a great intern. All full posts are available at joannlui.com.