NCARB's "licensure at graduation" announcement rubs Archinectors both ways
Last week we reported on NCARB's announcement that it would offer a path to licensure through academic programs, making it possible for architecture students to be licensed upon graduation. The proposal prompted a pretty divisive set of reactions from Archinect commenters, some excited by the opportunities inherent in the proposal, others despairing over its potential long-term effects.
At the time of this post, the original news piece had 61 comments, the major issues raised including impact on educational standards, earning potentials and the profession's reputation. What also surfaced was a generational bias, with those already firmly set in the practice (but still not licensed) feeling disadvantaged by an opportunity that came too late for them. We've gathered the gist of the commenter's opinions here.
- According to davvid, this new path to licensure will make it easier for graduates to get higher paying jobs more quickly after graduating, which "also increases their earning potential while they pay off student loan debt".
- Linking licensure with academic programming will streamline educational standards within the U.S., by adapting accredited degree programs to a type of "common core". As Martin F pointed out, it's already common in many countries for architects to graduate with an equivalent allowance to licensure.
- In optimistic terms, Donna Sink suggests "this path will provide students who choose to do so the opportunity to focus in the practical skillset of the profession within a BArch program, and maybe allow the Master's degree to go back to focusing almost exclusively on the theoretical side or on specializations like sustainability, computer modeling, etc." This could also help clarify objections to schools being too focused on either formalism or utilitarianism.
- Allowing students the option to graduate with licensure could help clarify the general public's understanding of what an "architect" does. drewjmcnamara says it would "eliminate the need to answer the question "so what exactly did your degree get you?" when explaining that although you did everything required to get a diploma with the words Masters of Architecture on it, you are not an architect let alone done much as of yet to master it"
- won and done williams suggests that this could fast track talented architects to working on more prominent projects in the public realm.
- Countering claims that this new path to licensure might dilute the profession, jia-x agrees with won and done williams, and believes that the profession will only gain from a relaxation of restrictions behind preparing for licensure (if not the actual standards of licensure).
- Schools aren't appropriate venues for licensure preparation, because they "currently do virtually nothing to prepare one to practice" (Janosh).
- Adding another national standard to architecture education might encourage schools to tailor programming to the licensure test, which in Miles Jaffe's opinion, would mean spending more time and money in school in order to reach those standards.
- Because NCARB failed to make this announcement jointly with organizations like NAAB, ACSA, AIAS, or AIA, Gregory Walker feels the announcement is a power grab by NCARB, compacted by the fact that of the 20 officials serving on the board who will study the proposal, only four are non-NCARB members. Donna Sink countered, remarking that schools will have to agree to any initiatives NCARB proposes, checking any NCARB power-play. She did worry though that, for schools who do adopt NCARB's proposal, it will create "model curricula" for students to get to sit for exams, disadvantaging others that aren't on the track to licensure.
- Rigamarol worries that this might create an inflation of licensed architects, calling claims that NCARB's proposal will increase earning potentials akin to saying "printing more dollars quickly will certainly increase the value if[sic] each dollar, right?"
- Some see the move as premature: Matt Diersen thinks students need years of experience out of school before being licensed.
- Those who graduated years ago but still aren't licensed, according to GraduatedLicensure, would be competitively disadvantaged by the influx of new grads already minted with licensure.
SUGGESTIONS for NCARB's proposal:
- To fulfill the internship requirements (IDP) that are part of licensure, schools should run internships through their own studios, with the student working directly with a teacher/practitioner to approximate real-world scenarios. (Mitchell Joachim)
- Rather than conferring licensure upon graduation, GraduatedLicensure suggests schools could issue probationary licenses, which would act like a driver's permit, and require a certain duration of working experience before gaining the real thing. Otherwise, offering licensure tracts would prolong an already bloated degree process.
- Donna Sink agrees that NCAARB should also adjust the naming of their license, to make accredited degree holders "Architects" and those who passed the exam "Registered Architects", a standard that would fit with most municipalities' codes.