Concerning Licensure


To those interested in the subject of licensure in architecture, I have posted a report/appeal for transparency called Concerning Licensure at

The report and charts and graphs in the appendixes are also posted at my google documents page Please distribute to anyone you know who is interested in the topic.

Copies have been sent to the architect members of each state licensing board, as well as the members of the boards of the AIA, NCARB, NAAB, AIAS, and the ACSA. If you agree with the conclusions of the report, and expect positive action to be taken in response, please add your voice in support of this request for honesty and transparency with regard to outcomes in education, internship, and licensure in architecture.

Every student of architecture should be aware of the conditions we face.

Matthew Arnold mda1618 (at)

Mar 21, 11 2:57 pm

OK, admittedly I only quickly skimmed the paper, but I'm going to ask my question anyway (maybe I missed it).

First off: I strongly applaud your effort in questioning the structures in place through which our profession is regulated. I think these kinds of questions are long overdue, and our profession would be stronger if we all felt these kinds of challenges/call to action could achieve results. Perhaps the only reason we all feel powerless is that no one has taken the time to simply challenge the power structure, and again, for that effort I congratulate you.

My question: one of your main concerns seems to be that a large number - a majority? - of graduates are not getting licensed: did you acount for those who chose not to bother pursuing licensure? For myself, I graduated (BArch 1990) with my four best friends and only two of us pursued (and achieved) licensure, the others are practicing in ways that don't require it or just decided to pursue other paths. So 3/5ths of my group just decided, willingly, not to engage with NCARB at all: have you controlled for those willful decisions in your study?

Mar 21, 11 3:47 pm

Donna, thanks. This study is confined to quantitative data, not qualitative.

...and bhudda might add, all outcomes are willful.

Mar 21, 11 3:51 pm

Law, medicine, accounting, etc. all have 'conversion' rates above 30%.

That is to say, if you graduate from an accredited college studying one of the professions above, there is a 30% chance or greater that you will obtain a license to practice as a professional. I know that law and medicine are particulary high because the entrance requiremets are also very high.

I wonder if there is a correlation to the difficulty of admittance to a professional degree program and the probability of licensure within 5 years.

I guess I disagree with Donna Sink in that I don't think it's relevant to filter out individuals who simply opt-out of obtaining licensure. Engaging NCARB has nothing to do with getting licensed or not getting licensed. If you don't have an architecture license, your not practicing as an architect. If you disagree, check with your state and see what their laws state regarding unlicensed practice.

Mar 21, 11 5:05 pm

marlowe: Engaging NCARB has nothing to do with getting licensed or not getting licensed.

How so, unless you are getting a license under the broad experience category (which is now only an option in a couple-few states, I believe.)? Doesn't NCARB facilitate IDP, and isn't NCARB how one gets their record and test results transferred to their state board?

Mar 21, 11 5:51 pm
St. George's Fields

Holy shit!

*golf clap*

I commend your determination to actually write a letter and start a campaign rather than bitching about it!

Speaking of which-- NCARB no longer publishes their tax returns as of this year (2010) in an easy to find place on the internet. If anyone remembers, we tore the numbers apart last year in a thread similar to this.

Our thread made a lot of the magazines!

I'm a little peeved that a non-profit non-government organization is not even adhering to the basics of transparency.

Mar 21, 11 6:02 pm
Engaging NCARB has nothing to do with getting licensed or not getting licensed. If you don't have an architecture license, your not practicing as an architect. If you disagree, check with your state and see what their laws state regarding unlicensed practice.

By that exact logic, the OP shouldn't include data on 'conversion' rates in architecture, since only the ones who pursue licensure matter in this discussion of NCARB. "If you don't have a license, you're not an architect" right? Therefore people who don't get a license should not be germane to the complaint at all - including in discussion of 'conversion' rate.

Mar 21, 11 8:03 pm
olaf design ninja

Damn can't read the link on my blackberry, the only time I read archinect
I read this a while back in the Yale architect alumn mag I think and it was I believe Gluckmann, a design build father son team in NYC, explaining the history of the market we are in, why its commodity driven by developers instead of quality driven by architects, starting with the developers method for getting projects delivered...
What I am wondering, is there a study that shows the change in project delivery versus the licensure trends?

To me, clearly the license is little more than a rubber stamp these days. And yes I am taking my exams, that rubber stamp is a nuisance to project delivery for me.

Mar 21, 11 9:03 pm

I'm thrilled to see someone taking this on!

Mar 27, 11 3:58 pm

I havent been able to read it all the way through, a bit too busy at work right now for that, but it looks like you bring up some good points

I have always felt that until you reach a definitive ceiling that requires a license to get through, it will never really be viewed as an essential part of everyone's career.

I almost feel it will take until all the senior level members of firms today have retired will there be any sort of emphasis on getting a license.

For example, I work in a smallish firm, 35-40 people arch/mep/interiors. We have 5 people with their license, 3 principals and 2 associates. There is little benefit right now for me to have a license in this firm, since its not needed for the company in the near future.
I am 4 of 7 through the exams and hope to be done by the end of the year, which will be a bit tricky with a baby coming in a couple months. But i view it as a long term career check mark rather than something essential any time soon.

Mar 28, 11 12:40 pm

Here's the question I would ask interns to consider. Who bears the cost of administering IDP? I believe the answer is the interns do, they absorb it in lower pay. But if you assent to a three-year internship, but then take ten years to complete it, your cost is tripled, and yet you were never asked to agree to that, nor did you knowingly agree.

Mar 28, 11 8:01 pm

...but Buddha said all outcomes are willful?


Mar 28, 11 9:01 pm

indeed. ;)

Mar 28, 11 9:02 pm
timothy sadler®

"I have always felt that until you reach a definitive ceiling that requires a license to get through, it will never really be viewed as an essential part of everyone's career."

Yeah, but if you don't care enough about yourself to get your license, why would anyone else care enough about you to help you get to the ceiling?

Mar 29, 11 12:27 am

don't forget that in many states you're required to have a professional degree, and in most cases this is a masters on top of a 4-year bachelors. You can do IDP after a 4-year degree, but in order to get licensed you either need a decade or more experience in some states (and reciprocity) or the masters. factor in that it can take several tries to get into a masters program of your choice, add it to 3 or 4 or 5 years working , and you've got people who are pushing 8 years of experience before they are even qualified to sit for the exam.

Mar 29, 11 1:00 am

The reason many are not getting a license, such as myself, is because we are interested in pursuing alternative goals (outside of the standard architecture career path).

The lengthy (and costly) path that allows for very little entrepreneurial pursuits or creative approaches to business.

That is why so few go onto get licenses. Simply because it really, beyond using the title "architect" (which will change), there is not that much value (at least in a tangible sense).

Many look at the cost/reward ratio of architecture, once they are in far enough to understand (since schools do a pretty good job of turning a blind eye to reality), and look at other career options, and there are many.

One of two things will happen: 1, well get a more logical path that gives licensure opportunities at graduation from a professional degree. Or, 2, the numbers will continue to decline as the younger gen pursues more aggressive business plans outside of the status quo and bypass IDP altogether.

Mar 29, 11 8:41 am

"Yeah, but if you don't care enough about yourself to get your license, why would anyone else care enough about you to help you get to the ceiling?"

oh i agree completely

Then again, I have always not really understood why someone wouldnt get their license, especially if you are planning to basically just work in a firm for your career.

I dont think its a ridicuously impossible amount of money or time though, its more just a pain to do while working full time. I have always been of the mind though that its much easier to get done earlier and as soon as possible to basically just not limit yourself further on in your career. Really, the only cost is your time to study and the exam price (which you can hopefully get reimbursed for at least partially by your job if lucky).

I would imagine that having a license could also help with any entrepreneurial pursuits, but have no personal experience in that regard so i dont really know

Mar 29, 11 9:54 am

"One of two things will happen: 1, well get a more logical path that gives licensure opportunities at graduation from a professional degree. Or, 2, the numbers will continue to decline as the younger gen pursues more aggressive business plans outside of the status quo and bypass IDP altogether."

Do you mean being able to sit for the exams right out of school? Would that really help if one of the main reasons people arent getting licensed is because of career paths that dont really require it?

I think that the license shouldnt just turn into an extension of a degree just to give people the incentive to get it. If there are alternate career paths and business opportunities that just werent around 20 years ago and that is a reason the numbers are declining, then really, that is fine.

I just look at several people I have worked with or gone to school with who really have little motivation to put in the little bit of extra effort to get their license, and I would hate to have it essentially just handed to them. It would end up lessening the value of the license, even more so that it already seems to have been

Mar 29, 11 10:00 am

It is easy and logical only if you pursue a traditional career path (ie working for someone else for decades), otherwise it is not practical.

Clearly it is fine that there are other careers, but that doesn't mean that they aren't architecture, just not the traditional career path.

I, personally, don't know any lazy architects, so I can't comment on lack of motivation being a factor.

What adds value to the license would be encouraging more creativity (not in a design sense) within the profession instead of encouraging people to move outside of it.

There will not be any more 'value' added until there is some encouragement for more talent to stay in the profession of architecture. There won't be that until there are more opportunities created, limiting things just discourages possibilities.

Mar 29, 11 10:21 am

That is what i meant, its easy and logical for a traditional career path, since that is what i am on. And I work at a firm where others are on that same path, yet are not licensed and will not be any time soon, or probably ever. It baffles me a bit

And i dont know if that makes these people lazy, just that it is not something that is a priority considering it doesnt effect their career right now. I think 10 years down the road it may, but right now, the firm does not need them to be licensed, and they dont need it to do their job.

"What adds value to the license would be encouraging more creativity (not in a design sense) within the profession instead of encouraging people to move outside of it."

I dont quite follow what you mean here with regards to a license. What could you add to a license beyond it being just a legal means to build something? I dont know if anything else really is necessary or if that is what drives people away from the profession.
Are people moving outside of the profession because of the license process? Or do you mean that if the license process was a bit more flexible outside of solely the "traditional" path, that would keep more people in the profession?

I'd agree with that, as if you dont graduate and go into a traditional firm that is helpful towards your IDP hours, you will then end up scrapping for every hour you can get and it will take a really long time when it seems the intention is for it to mainly be just steady work experience.

Mar 29, 11 10:54 am

Really, I think much simply comes down to the title "Architect". That is an advantage, marketing wise. The legal gymnastics that is currently in place is a joke, and, frankly, quite insulting.

I think that if people could simply have more flexibility we'd see more creative ventures. It would, at least, keep people on the periphery and give them the flexibility to be involved, come and go, pursue different ventures, etc.
Right now, you are either part of the traditional gang, or you are out, completely.

And yes, I think that if there was some flexibility to IDP it'd encourage a more creative process and at least give people the opportunity to not be "with us" or "against us", black/white situation.

More flexibility gives more encouragement to experiment and think outside of the box, which, more likely than not, will add value to the word "Architect".

Mar 29, 11 11:59 am
Ms Beary

trace, it isn't about the title, it is about the health, safety and welfare of the public! All of the legal gymnastics we have in place serve a purpose you know. For example, what if some dummy designs a bulkhead that is too low and someone hits their head on it?!? I don't even want to think about some ignorant fool designing a threshold with greater than a 1/2" rise.

Mar 29, 11 3:00 pm

Really, really cool piece of info there Matt.

Mar 29, 11 3:19 pm

i guess the problem is how do you measure the experience someone has for these alternate experiences so someone can become eligible to take the exams without having to go the "traditional" route, or spend 3-4 times as long accumulating the hours

I think having a certain amount of experience as a requirement before sitting for the exams is a good thing, but should it be necessary? I guess if someone is just a great test taker and wants to take it right out of school, they will most likely only be hurting themselves as they will then be assumed that they can offer more than they are capable because they are "licensed".

Mar 29, 11 3:29 pm

I have not read all the posts here, but, I think, maintaining the license is more problematic than attaining.

Taking exams for license is okay because licensure seems the only way to prevent developers and contractors from taking our profession away from architects.

However, the process need to be more flexible. For example, there must be alternate ways to complete IDPs for those who are not in ordinary practicing situations.

For those who think 2~3 years are too long to complete IDP before taking exams, I recommend to take exams simutaneously gaining IDP hours. Some states like Texas and Florida allow to do that, and I took that path and was able to complete licensure process within about 3 years after graduation.

Mar 29, 11 5:07 pm
olaf design ninja

Reason contractors and developers are taking away the profession is the requirement of licensure.

I have worked with enough licensed architects that I can confirm most do things to cover their ass and they tend to know very little about either construction or design. There are few that are good at both and have balls, very few.

What licensure does is makes it impossible for those capable and in the position to reinvent project delivery with architecture design backgrounds to suceed..project delivery is what it all boils down to eventually.

While architects try to maintain an outdated mode of project delivery, those with creative business methods work on new ways of getting design built and care little about the liability issue.

Because the law follows common sense, and common sense says if you made the decisions for the products outcome you are liable. If you did perty pictures that no one can build off of, of course you are not liable...but wait you stamped the drawings...

Its just silly to think an architect really ensures safety and health by making cover your ass drawings, too which most contractors respond "useless drawings, I have to build and therefore will ultimately assume all liability anyway, thanks architect for avoiding everything."

Like I say - hire a designer, hire a contractor, and if needed hire an engineer. Or as an architect call yourself a designer and get some other schmuck to take theoretical liability.

Sitting for exam april 5th, asking architects to process designs is just not worth the head ache anymore.

Mar 29, 11 6:44 pm

The point I tried to make in my earlier post was that while NCARB does control the IDP and examination process, each state in the US has the sovereign right to accept NCARB's policies. I find it interesting that in a couple of states in the US (Arizona and Texas I think), one can obtain licensure with only a high school diploma and work experience. Each state decides the criteria for licensure and NCARB's policies serve as a guideline.

I think Matt_A's work is fantastic because if we as a profession feel that NCARB's policies are not in the best interest of the profession, making the appeal at a state level could enact change.

For example, the issue of taking the ARE prior to completing the IDP varies widely across states even though NCARB's position is "NO" on the issue.

Mar 29, 11 8:50 pm

Apurimac, marlowe -- thanks. I'm asking anyone who agrees that this information should be publicly available to contact the architect members of their state board of architecture and request that they require some accountability from NCARB. The state boards are the only constituency that NCARB is accountable to.

Mar 30, 11 12:01 pm

This is why i LOVE archinect!!

Mar 30, 11 3:20 pm

What about this...?

It's in the best interests of Licensed Architects to make it as difficult as possible for others to gain the legal right to practice. Because...

Presently, the skills needed to produce documentation (which is the profession's product) are all computer generated. Software programs are now being continually reinvented and updated.

Many ownership-level architects were trained, say 20-ish+ years ago and have no idea how to produce documentation effectively with today's tools. They never really learned the software in the first place, but rose to a level where they really didn't need to. Now, there's no way many could sit down and even draw a rectangle in autocad.

What they do have, however, is a seal that is legally required. You can't put the word "Architect" or "Architecture" on your door without a license. So their "skills" are not really valuable in the efficient production of drawings. What they do have however, is a seal that allows drawings to go out the door.

How many people who sign drawings actually did any of the work to produce them? And what percentage of it, if any?

And with the progression of building technology, many of the ownership generation don't think in terms of new building systems and technologies. Their method of building is not a dynamic reconsideration of materials application. How many happily switch out metal studs for wooden studs on an exterior wall assembly? Enough. Thermal Bridge anyone? "What's a thermal bridge? Why is there mold in my wall?" Uhhhhh.

So since many Architects couldn't produce a set of drawings (effectively) without "dusting off their drawing boards" (a quote from a partner), and with obsolete understanding of building methods, their key capability is to sign drawings.

If the people who actually do the work can sign the drawings, the people with the outmoded skills are the ones who become unemployed - not the people who are younger and don't particularly care to work extra hours for free. So if your skill is basically that other people are legally incapable of calling themselves "Architect", it's best for you to keep it that way.

So by making the registration process as tedious and complicated as possible you can help eliminate any competition and keep your job.

Mar 30, 11 5:42 pm

The documents you refer to are instruments of service, not a product, and their value is in the ideas and expertise they embody, not in their technical creation. They are not intrinsic to the practice of architecture any more than a keyboard is intrinsic to writing. The vehicles we use to communicate will change as our civilization changes. Being able to paint a racecar doesn't mean you can drive one. You sound like someone who knows how to accomplish your goals, Menona, the details of these hurdles shouldn't faze you..

Mar 30, 11 5:55 pm

You sound have never worked for a real architecture office, at least at a respectable position.

Mar 30, 11 5:57 pm
St. George's Fields

"instruments of service, not a product"

If they are not a product, why does nearly every customs agency, post office and courier service require you to declare that them?

From 123.63 Documents and Merchandise: Examples of items that do not qualify as documents — rather, they are considered merchandise, so the sender is required to apply a customs declaration form and declare a value — include the following:


i. Engineering drawings.
j. Blueprints.

The fact is they do have value and are treated as any other valued object at least in a most primitive legal sense.

I do agree with you that architecture can be a service but almost anyone with a crash course in architecture and a decent design sense can provide "architectural services."
Mar 30, 11 6:08 pm

Quite so. The place I worked was pretty despicable. There were no respectable positions. And though it was run by "Architects", I wouldn't say it was a real architecture office. But to expand on that wouldn't be terribly useful. Suffice to say the "Mold Growing Wall" assembly is not a product of my imagination. And the people whose imagination it did spring from, didn't really seem to understand what was going on.... Such was their expertise.

I'm fully on board with the idea of documents being more of a means than an end. And I totally agree that is how it -should- be. But if we look around at the built environment, is this actually the case? What percentage of buildings actually embody ideas and expertise? How many are just vacuous mounds of material, kind of thrown together with standard, least expensive details ? Is it 50/50?

I think I come off as terribly cynical, the issue is obviously complex. I do think however that self preservation is one facet of the new complexity of the registration process. Maybe not a big one. But I'd say it's there.

Mar 30, 11 6:28 pm
olaf design ninja

Well put menona, another way to say what I was saying.

Clients know if they just offer a contractor an opportunity they will get better construction and even design advise than if they paid the architect for consulting.

Are you really worth 200 an hour if you can't produce and don't understand construction and code without having to use reference materials or calling your engineer or code consultant (an intern can do that).

Its a recipe for disaster, old people ensuring their jobs while not adapting to change.

Maybe they should make those with licenses prove they can still draw, since the ultimate documentation of the profession is the drawing. Its just sill to assume interns can pick up all the things the project manager misses (since the pm is overseeing many many jobs)

Mar 30, 11 7:13 pm
timothy sadler®

<< eye roll >>

Mar 30, 11 11:08 pm
olaf design ninja

Oh shit old dude having a seizure?!? Isn't that what it means when the eyes roll...

Mar 31, 11 12:59 pm
timothy sadler®

It's like that sign in the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago:

"If you're so smart, why aren't you RICH?"

Mar 31, 11 1:29 pm

Marlowe, NCARB's position on early testing (concurrent with IDP) is actually "YES", and it is because of this that so many more states have moved to allow this within the last 8 years. Prior to that there were only a handful of states allowing it, and it sometimes created problems with reciprocity in other states For example, Oregon used to reject applications from all applicants for reciprocity who had tested through other states prior to completion of IDP. These applicants' only option for licensing in Oregon was to retest. But when NCARB stated their position on early testing, Oregon quickly adopted it.

Another issue on which NCARB's position is "YES" is that completion of IDP should be based on completion of the required units, not on a set duration. In other words, NCARB's position is that if an intern manages to complete IDP and testing in less than 3 years after graduating, he should be eligible for licensure. But several states have minimum internship durations (for example, NY has a 3-year minimum after graduation.)

I'm only pointing these issues out to make sure that people consider that the consequences of each state having its own differing policies aren't always favorable to the young intern or architect.

Mar 31, 11 2:42 pm
olaf design ninja

Make more than most licensed architects and principals of firms...but that doesn't say much, haha

So did you come out of the seizure or you still rolling your eyes?

Mar 31, 11 2:44 pm

To see NCARB's positions on various licensing issues, go to this link. Instead of selecting a state in the "Select Jurisdiction" pull-down, leave it set to "NCARB Position":

Mar 31, 11 2:51 pm
timothy sadler®

Still rolling. Could be the chili I had for lunch, but I don't think so...

Mar 31, 11 3:39 pm

The IDP issue is especially sticky.

With the implementation of the 6 month rule, if you failed to register your hours (& pay the accompanying fees to a National body) before last year, all of your experience is worthless... because of a "Rule" (impediment). NCARB is a gatekeeper. And you have to pay to play. ANd you have to play by a very specific set of rules.

If you are an intern in a state that only accepts IDP for experience verification, and you can't find employment somewhere that will give you the requisite breadth of experience, you are just out of luck. And without completion of IDP you can't sit for an exam no matter how long you've worked or what level of education you've attained.

It's all about getting people to check off little boxes. If you have the cruel misfortune to be hired into a "Production" role, and the ownership only cares to "Bob Cratchit" you, and not provide you with the required TYPES of experience required by IDP... there's simply no way to get registered. No matter how capable you are, or how long you've worked. You can't even make any progress towards it. You're disallowed from sitting for the ARE. You have to move out of state - or find a job at someplace that values you (which are fewer and farther between) enough to treat you and let you practice as a professional.

And there's no oversight on firms that hire interns is there? So there's no governing body that will hold Architects accountable if they hire interns and don't provide them with the requisite professional development.

Each state having differing policies is problematic. Especially when the individual states genuflect to a national apparatus (NCARB). The State holds ultimate permissive authority, yet most defer to a national body that is comprised of 50 states and a few other areas.

Would it be better to establish a National Registration with specifics based on geologic and weather based certifications rather than a state to state (political boundary based) reciprocity?

For obvious example: Southern California would require more Seismic understanding, and Illinois would require better comprehension of Thermal issues. In the existing system, can an Architect registered in Arizona gain registration through reciprocity in North Dakota or Massachusetts? The nuances of the building skills required are considerably different.

It would make more sense to have Architectural registration based on general National environmental understanding for the particular climate dynamic, rather than the wildly antiquated state boundary lines.

Or would it?

Mar 31, 11 4:34 pm

well, as has been said several times, most states allow you to sit for your exams before your IDP is 100% complete

and the 6 month rule was talked about for a really really long time, so if you werent able to get your act together in that long (perhaps several years of time to allow everyone to catch up), you really have no room to complain

IDP/ NCARB has a LOT of issues. Those 2 arent really valid anymore

"Would it be better to establish a National Registration with specifics based on geologic and weather based certifications rather than a state to state (political boundary based) reciprocity?"

Thats a good idea and makes sense, though dealing with the political aspect of work is still state by state, so it could run into problems that way, where you need several types of a Pennsylvania license for example. But that is really no different for any firm that does work in different states now.
But doesnt California already have different exam requirements due to earthquake codes? I am on the east coast, so i am not familiar with their exam

Mar 31, 11 4:51 pm

California has its own exam, in addition to the ARE. It's not specifically an exam on seismic issues - it covers all issues of practice in California.
There are several other states that also have state-specific exams, but in most other cases these are take-home tests or papers on state practice rules and codes.
A few other states still do have an interview-type exam in front of the board (similar to California's current exam), but in all of the states except California this is generally waived for anyone who has done IDP.

Mar 31, 11 4:58 pm

Menona --

You've given this subject considerable thought. I'm generally much more in favor of decentralized solutions than centralized ones. That is to say, I'd like to see a system in which the person whose career is on the line is in the position to exert maximum control over their own outcome.

Currently, internship is mandated for licensure, yet those providing the experience are not accountable (nor are they compensated) for the outcomes. This is not the case in other, similarly regulated, professions. A student wishing to become a dentist, at the conclusion of their educational experience is fully qualified to practice, for example, subject to passing their final board examination. That is to say, the education of the professional continues until the professional is qualified to practice. A student in such a system is paying for the preparation, and the school is accountable for their performance. For this reason, 'licensure' rates in medical and legal professions are published by the schools as they compete to attract students.

In architecture, this is not the case. By adopting the model of post-educational internship, the system has removed any requirement for the schools to provide an education relevant to practice. The interns actually *do* pay for the process, through lower wages and in other ways, however they have no way to direct and control the quantity or quality of their internship experience. They agree to an approximate-three-year internship and then spend a decade working their way through it. The wages they forfeit over the course of their career due to this situation are considerable. Because the firms are not accountable in any way for the quality of the internship (nor are they required to demonstrate any qualification to be mentors -- there is nothing intrinsic in having a license that makes you a good mentor) there is no oversight; because the interns are not in a position of economic control, they cannot demand reform.

I think state by state regulation of the profession is logical. There is no national building code, and the laws governing practice are not national either. I also believe that the system we have adopted has created circumstances where the schools of architecture are providing only a very partial preparation for aspiring architects; the increasing attenuation of internships is a consequence of the lack of accountability on the part of those 'responsible' for providing the other part of the education of an architect.

Either the schools must be forced to finish the job, or the profession must force itself to give the issue the serious attention it deserves; or some other alternative structure should be created to provide the necessary education.

Before we can address solutions, however, I think we need an accurate picture of what is actually happening. Anecdotes and stories about attitudes are an insufficient foundation for reform.

Mar 31, 11 5:01 pm

quick note... menona, i understand all your points and think all the criticisms in this thread are valid... just so you know, you'll find a very rare few IDPs completed where the intern actually worked the required hours in the required areas. Everyone understands this, and i bet if you asked honestly, most would admit they 'fudged' some hours here and there...
the fact that you have to cheat to complete IDP though is an indication its a less than ideal system though...

Mar 31, 11 5:22 pm

i agree with most of the criticisms of IDP above...i don't understand how it's possible for real experience earned to be arbitrarily nullified on a technicality, irrespective of someone's failure to 'act in time', especially since many states that accept idp still have parallel, sometimes contradictory, state requirements for licensing.

new york, for example, outlines several possible paths to licensure, of which IDP is only one. another is 10 (12?) years of professional work experience. however, they still require IDP, and someone with no degree and 10-12 years experience is not eligible for idp. so it's a mess.

i still don't think any change is possible on the national level, since the individual states still have the power to set ultimate standards. there are two possibilities that interest me, however:

one is the possibility for states to set EDUCATIONAL requirements for architectural qualification for any architecture school WITHIN THAT STATE. In this scenario, Columbia, Pratt, etc. would have to offer courses approved by NYS for qualification, and students who graduate from these programs would be licensed in NYS. NCARB can then handle interstate reciprocity cases only, and interns would only have to get involved w/NCARB if they wanted reciprocity. And if the state decides to set rigid technical/internship requirements, the schools would have to include this in their curricula. Then, by the time students graduate, they would be licensed, prepared, and ready to go. This is similar to how licensing works in some european countries.

The other, and this is crazier and would probably cause a lot of commotion at first, is if there was an alternative to NCARB. NCARB is not an official body; there's nothing that says it has to be the ONLY body that handles architectural licensure. if another non-profit org could propose a different process for licensure and get the states to buy in, at least then there would be options. kind of like how colleges often accept either the SAT or the ACT....


Mar 31, 11 5:45 pm

elinor --

on a side note, those who were licensed in NY state in 2009 (with NAAB-accredited degrees) had graduated from school an average of 11 years prior.

That means that they got licensed in essentially the same amount of time as those who avoided the delay and expense of college and worked in the field. Kind of makes you wonder.

Mar 31, 11 5:52 pm

actually, they got licensed more quickly, since they did not spend 5 or 6 years in school.

Mar 31, 11 5:53 pm

yes, but as far as i know it's not really posiible to do that...NYS REQUIRES IDP.

Mar 31, 11 5:54 pm

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