NCARB rule changes


It seems like NCARB keeps making new rules to make becoming a licensed architect easier, does anyone know if there is a particular motivation for this?

Jun 20, 14 2:13 pm

I think they may be trying to align architecture with the practice of law.  Finish school, take an exam, get your license.

But what do I know?  I don't have a professional degree and I'm going the BEA route... which is also becoming easier if they reduce the amount of time it may take.

Jun 20, 14 3:02 pm

I've been hearing that in the coming years there may be a shortage of licensed architects - my cynical theory is that less people are getting licensed and it's affecting NCARB's bottom line.


IMO - if they really want to see more people get licensed, they should either force states to relax the education requirement to a 4 year degree - or make it easier to gain reciprocity from states that don't have as strict education requirements.  I think the reason people aren't getting licensed is not that it's difficult, it's because more and more recent graduates are in extreme debt and there are some financial risks and added expense to carrying a license.

Jun 20, 14 3:02 pm

i really think it's unlikely there will be a shortage of architects. 

it could be that fewer architects are keeping up their ncarb records.  it costs a lot and has very little value unless you're working in multiple states.  of course, i think many if not most architects that regularly stamp drawings do work in multiple states, so those people are probably keeping their record up to date.

perhaps ncarb thinks increasing the pool of people who might potentially want to pay them will get them more money.

Jun 20, 14 3:22 pm

Curtkram is probably right, at the end of the day it comes down to dollars.

Jun 20, 14 3:27 pm
What makes me a little crazy about this is that they instituted the 6 month rule, which had the side affect of eliminating experience of older unlicensed (but very experienced) people in the profession. Now, they want to allow people w very little experience to gain licensure. Me, I went the traditional route, which was long and difficult. What does it mean for my credential when someone fresh out of college can have the same thing w/o the same experience? What does it mean for the whole profession?
Jun 20, 14 5:02 pm

They want to water down the term "architect." Instead of fighting to protect our name from being used by programmers and IT nerds they want students who are taught by failed "architects" to exit academia with the same credential the rest of us have already(or are currently doing) put in the time/effort to obtain in a terrible economy with predatory hiring practices. 

Would you rather hire(as an owner) the fresh graduate with a license and maybe 9-12 months of internship experience or the licensed professional with the degree who put in the hours following the traditional route. We need fewer students flocking to the profession not more over-educated graduates with no real world experience.

But with everything in life, follow the money and you get your answer.

Jun 20, 14 5:15 pm

as paranoid as i can be about ncarb's motives, i actually don't think this one is about pumping their bottom lines. they are getting a lot of pressure - from the schools, from the aia, from licensing boards - that the process has lost sight of it's original goal, which was to evaluate the 'fitness' of a candidate for acceptance as a 'professional' in a given state. and, i think we'd all agree, it's drifted way too far from that original purpose. 

they are, despite appearances, sensitive to that concern. they're trying to coordinate 50 states, who all have their own quirks, and keep a semi-universal method/pathway to licensure. in so doing, they've unwittingly helped the opposite to happen: it's taking longer and is more cumbersome. and, really, i think to some degree they may be wanting to take a step back from bearing the sole brunt of idp - this downturn has really exposed some fundamental flaws in the system. if you can't get hired because there's no work, should that truly prevent you from ever obtaining a license? that's not what the profession is selling and certainly not what the schools are selling. 

so, i think they're trying to be more responsive. simply put. 

Jun 20, 14 5:33 pm

I think they are changing the rules because we gripe about the rules so much here on Archinect !

Surely that must be the fundamental reason for the changes.

Jun 20, 14 7:05 pm

gruen, they might change the 6 month rule again.

From NCARB's web page "The NCARB Board of Directors has proposed modifying the reporting requirement (also known as the “six-month rule”) for the Intern Development Program (IDP). 

This proposal is being sent to NCARB’s 54 Member Boards for a 90-day comment period. The Board of Directors will then review the comments before voting on whether to approve the change or not at its June Board Meeting. 

The proposal would modify page 9 of the IDP Guidelines as follows: 

To earn full credit for experience, interns must submit all experience including supplemental experience in reporting periods of no longer than six months and within two months of completion of each reporting period.

  • For each day past the two-month filing period, a day of acceptable experience will be lost at the beginning of the reporting period.

Experience reported beyond the two-month filing period and up to five years after the date of the validated experience will be accepted at a reduced value of fifty percent (50 percent) toward the IDP requirements."

Jun 21, 14 8:19 am

They also just put out that the six month waiting period for exam takers is going to be reduced to sixty days. If it makes them money, and helps interns become architects faster, I don't care.

Jun 21, 14 1:49 pm

If these IT nerds keep using the term architect  the mentally retarded will be at great risk of minor confusion.  

Jun 21, 14 2:27 pm

Also in the news...the medical board just issued a warning to Dr.Dre.   That must be why doctors are more relevant.  Ya, That's it.  

Jun 21, 14 2:32 pm

if you can't get hired because there's no work, should that truly prevent you from ever obtaining a license?

but it should, shouldn't it?  if you've never had any real-life experience, wouldn't that be a sound indicator that you might not be prepared to be an architect yet?  if their goal is to "evaluate the 'fitness' of a candidate for acceptance as a 'professional'" i think it would be important to maintain some sort of exposure to professional practice.

we might lose an entire decade of potential architects.  that's unfair to those people.  on the other hand, a lot of well qualified candidates won't really be able to practice architecture anyway, since there are more people wanting to be architects that there is work to keep them all busy.  if ncarb is focused on evaluating professionals, it shouldn't really be about what's 'fair.'  if it is about what's 'fair,' education should be available to everyone and students should be weeded out based on ability, not how much their parents can afford.

the down side to granting a license to unprepared individuals is that people who need the services of an architect will have to go to a contractor or engineer (who may very well consider 'aesthetics' important), and the architect will be seen as only a bureaucratic step the government requires, or another layer of red tape, or otherwise just another hurdle the owner/contractor team has to jump over. we're not far enough away from being in that position as it is.

Jun 21, 14 2:50 pm

Curt, the current system does weed people out based on "how much their parents can afford" and not based so much on ability.  Out of the many people I graduated with, those with families and other financial constraints (despite the fact that many were the most talented and experienced) were unable to Afford spending 3-7 years bouncing around to satisfy Idp.   The current system rewards compliance and the financial freedom of youth.   That's all.  It does not in any way reward ability or talent or work ethic.   In fact it prevents the entrepreneurial spirited which is the number one thing this profession needs a dose of.  

Jun 21, 14 3:29 pm

jla, the idea i meant to convey is that reforming idp, or ncarb, or naab, or whatever else, should be focused on improving the current environment, not changing for change's sake or changing just to make it easier.  i agree the current system rewards people more for the circumstance they were born into rather than their own ability or effort.

i can't imagine going through architecture school with a new family, but i know there are people who do it.  studying for the a.r.e. when you have family commitments is much harder too.  much respect for that kind of dedication and perseverance.

as far as i can tell, people seem to typically use the word "entrepreneurship" in a way that tends to imply "punish people who work for a living."  i also disagree with that.  there is nothing wrong with an honest day's work, even if you don't own your own business.  i'm not sure if you intend to convey that message, but how would "entrepreneurship" help the profession?  being a greedy self-absorbed business owner who doesn't train their employees or offer reasonable wages is far worse for this profession than a lack of 'entrepreneurship.'  i'm not saying you are or would be that sort of business owner, but i am saying rewarding "entrepreneurship" over 'working for a living' leads to that kind of business climate.

Jun 21, 14 5:27 pm

Again, jlaxitive worries, frets, kvetches about the wrong shit - IT Architects. Why don't you get focused? I think, as an architect considering re upping his AIA membership, that you, me, we, should be focused on a few issues. First, punitive actions SHALL be imposed on all member firms that cannot put together an action plan, and demonstrate, through recorded hours, exactly how their intern staff are earning IDP credits. Fines, sanctions, whatever. Second, create a title graduate architects can use, without threat of sanctions from the AIA, something, AIT would be fine, and it would not - like gay marriage - threaten the sanctity of my license. Third, NCARB, AIA, AND NAAB, should create some additional paths for AITs to earn credits, open up the volunteering angle, it should not just be monetized, AITs should be allowed, if they work with licensed professionals, to earn much more than they're currently allowed.

But please already, enough of the focusing on the shiny balls called IT Architects, you're not the only one to deal with it, yet you're the only incessantly distracted by them; learn how to use search better.

Jun 21, 14 5:56 pm

B3, I was being sarcastic at Litzformz.   

Curt, entrepreneurship does not mean becoming the wolf of Wall Street.  Working for others is fine but keep in mind that they are entrepreneurs.  I don't think a grad has the experience or support staff to  do a hospital or a school and we all know that deregulation of title will not result in this.  Young entrepreneurs can however expand the scope of architecture by tapping new small markets that are greatly dominated by contractors and other design professionals.   Ncarb should promote the deregulation of the term architect and replace it with the term RA.  Graduating with a title status rather than an candidate status is empowering.  An entrepreneur will do as they please anyway and once they decide that they are going to work on the fringe in some un regulated terrain then they will do so under some self proclaimed non protected title.  In effect they will be working in new areas that could have been under the general term architect thus expanding the scope and the reach of the profession.  Building spec houses, design and fabrication of architectural "elements" energy modeling, etc.  Through inclusion we could create a broader profession that has many specialists under the same umbrella term.   We are too occupied on elevating value and preserving exclusivity  through regulation when in fact these things can be a accomplished with creativity and inclusion.  

Jun 21, 14 6:37 pm

At least the term architectural designer should be deregulated.  To have a non exempt project built would require the stamp of an RA anyway so what's the problem?

Jun 21, 14 6:54 pm
Do you guys think that the NCARB making these changes will reduce the quality of work of newly licensed architects? And if so, will this possibly be a good thing for architects who are more experienced or have recieved their licenses prior to these changes? Maybe this will be a double edged sword for NCARB if they are trying to boost their bottom line.
Jun 24, 14 3:41 pm

People in charge of hiring will still hire those with the experience because it is arguably more valuable anyway.

Jun 24, 14 3:46 pm
That's why I figured. I just wanted some second opinions on it. Thanks jdparnell.
Jun 24, 14 4:11 pm

Do you guys think that the NCARB making these changes will reduce the quality of work of newly licensed architects?

nope.  the difference in work quality from this minor change will have zero effect.  Is the quality of work less in say Japan or the Netherlands? 

Like it or not quality is a matter of competence, talent, rigor, passion, and practice.  IDP has a miniscule effect on competence by mandating experience but no effect on the other factors at all.  Competence can also be gained in many many ways outside of the narrow path prescribed by ncarb.  All this current system does is weed out the people with low bs tolerance quotas and less financial ability to be long term interns bouncing around from firm to firm to satisfy an arbitrary check list.

Lets also not forget that crappy client = crappy work.  There is no idp for that.

Increasing the overall quality of architecture can happen in 2 ways.

1. an education/propaganda campaign aimed at the public to educate about importance of "good" design.

2. increased competition

Jun 24, 14 4:15 pm
^^ Good points. I didn't think about that.
Jun 24, 14 4:46 pm
the orange menace

My question is - who benefits in the workplace? I understand people think it'll be great that everyone who goes to architecture school will be an 'architect' - but professionally speaking what would this mean? While the tests aren't a perfect measure of one's ability or knowledge, they're something - passing them has some value. More importantly, having completed your IDP hours shows a certain degree of familiarity with how the profession works. These things, like your years of experience, must factor into hiring. A newly minted "architect" right out of school has no added value to firms over the traditional intern (that I can see) is I guess my point. But hey, NCARB doesn't seem to care about how things actually work out here in the real world.

Also, it will be quite a while where we have 2 licenses - the current version and the diploma+ version. It's going to be obnoxious, and confusing, because the two things are not equal.

Additionally, I actually think that work experience is incredibly important. Getting the specific hours you need may not be easy depending on your firm, but let's be real about university and the profession: architecture school prepares you for your internship, which completes your education. Just like doctors, I think hands-on experience is crucial. We could make internships during school mandatory (might be a good idea either way), but that might not really be enough.

Jun 25, 14 2:08 pm

just found this:

"At NCARB, we embrace change that reflects 'rigor for a reason' rather than rigor for the sake of rigor." - NCARB president Blake Dunn

Jul 8, 14 12:35 pm

embrace rigror mortis

Jul 8, 14 3:14 pm

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