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NCARB - How to measure Quality of Experience?

BulgarBlogger

So this is an ongoing problem that I can't seem to find an answer to.

We all know that intern architects submit hours to their licensed supervisors, and often, whether its because the supervisor wants to be nice, doesn't take the IDP program seriously, or simply doesn't have time, that supervisor doesn't actually (or anally) review if the hours spent were actually in the category of experience that was reported. And so what ends up happening is that the unlicensed employee doing IDP keeps submitting hours, those hours keep on getting approved, and woe and behold - three years later, they finally complete their IDP!

The crux of the problem with this current situation is that even if the supervisor did actually confirm that the hours reported were actually worked in those experience categories, there's no way for NCARB to actually verify the quality of those hours, essentially rendering IDP useless, because IDP is supposed to establish some baseline standard for experience. 

An example of this lack of quality control in experience would be if an unlicensed employee spent 150 hours producing presentation drawings related to the programming of a building or development. The intern architect may have technically participated in the "programming phase," but may not actually have done any programming at all. Furthermore, programming millwork is much different than sitting in at a client meeting and actually taking notes and assisting in creating the program. 

So how do we improve this situation? How do we establish quality control so that aspiring architects actually can say- "hey- I've actually learned something from working there?"

 
Jan 19, 18 1:31 pm
BulgarBlogger

One last thought- we keep on kicking the can down the road and this is why we have this false perception that someone who is older and has more experience is more capable than someone younger with less experience. The mentoring has become so bad that in my opinion, the only reason why older architects (with "more experience") are more capable, is because they have failed more times than have been taught properly. We keep on relying on others to do the mentoring, rather than spending the time to do it ourselves. 

We can blame the institutions, the schools, but the real problem is that we aren't giving younger architects enough quality experience.

Younger kids can learn languages easier, but only if they are continuously taught and the language is practiced. Age has nothing to do with capability

Jan 19, 18 1:34 pm
JLC-1

There is an exam at the end that is supposedly a good metric, isn't it?

Also, the word "expert" comes from experience, which is just doing something a bunch of times until you can do it blindfolded. Older folks can learn just as well as younger, age has nothing to do with capabilities.

Jan 19, 18 1:56 pm
Tinbeary There there

How well can a standardized test measure anything but ability to take a standardized test?

JLC-1

You tell me, it seems there's a lot of architects that think it guarantees you're able to do something others can't

Tinbeary There there

Terrifying to think people put so much emphasis on that damn multiple choice exam.

RickB-Astoria

In the old days, they didn't even have IDP/AXP. You just had to have a work record of 3 full-time years. Similar to how it is currently down with engineers (with exception that there isn't a "fundamental of architecture" exam to take prior to starting. In theory, you can get that concurrently to when you are at school so if you were working for an architect while at school, you could be completed close to when you were done with school. Most didn't get jobs working for an architect while attending architecture school in those days. You got it when you completed your degree or you stopped your education short and then have to work more years but at the end of the day, you took the exam.

The original version of the ARE was modeled after the established state exams which were already somewhat standardized a bit because they were substantially modeled after the Illinois architect exam.


SpontaneousCombustion

NCARB has dumbed down this process deliberately.  In the 1990s it was
taking an average of 7.5 years for interns to make it from graduation to
licensing, and many dropped out along the way and never came back.  In
the early 2000s NCARB formed an explicit mission to shorten that time to
3-4 years. Along came loosened requirements, fewer credits required, no more rules about the lengths of time that employment situations had to last, or the point in one's education that one could begin IDP, more allowed training settings, less of the training has to be under a licensed architect, remote supervision now allowed - and much less stringent review/reporting requirements for supervisors.

The first few times that I was an IDP supervisor, the paper forms were about 4 pages long, and had detailed break downs of all the hours in each category and sub-category.  They also had a half-page devoted to the supervisor's ranking of the intern's performance in various areas - as I recall there were four or five possible ratings, and if the supervisor selected "poor" or "unsatisfactory" there were spaces to explain why, and NCARB would follow up if an intern had gotten a lot of poor evaluations (and I think "unsatisfactory" got the report rejected.)  The interns used to have to come to me and discuss their progress, and we would review competencies and plan a path forward. NCARB used to provide a guide book for mentors/supervisors.  Now it's been reduced to a pamphlet.  NCARB used to encourage the candidate to have a separate mentor and supervisor, and employees' mentors used to actually contact me to discuss and advocate for the interns' experience in various categories. That hasn't happened in 20 years.

These days the supervisor just gets an email alerting that a candidate has logged experience.  Sometimes I get these emails about people who worked with me years ago, or who I don't even know are pursuing IDP/AXP.  What we see is much less detailed - it doesn't have a full break down of hours into tasks - it's just a listing of the broad categories - so unless the hours differ drastically from what I know that employer worked during that time period, there really isn't much info from which I could verify or question accuracy.  Supervisors are no longer asked for any rating of the quality of the employee's work - we only have the options to accept the experience as reported, send it back to request an edit to the number of reported hours, or reject it outright. 

I agree that the process has become watered down, but I don't think that's entirely the result of supervisors not wanting to provide good quality experience and mentoring. I think NCARB wants to rush the process and can't be troubled with quality.


Jan 19, 18 2:24 pm
RickB-Astoria

I'd love them to provide a fuller detailed 'spreadsheet' (not meaning an actual spreadsheet file) outlining the hours in the bigger breakdown of tasks and hours assigned so people like yourself can actually make a proper decision and not be stuck in a position where you might be dragging your feet because you don't want to say yes or no because NCARB doesn't provide you a full picture.

"NCARB used to encourage the candidate to have a separate mentor and supervisor, and employees' mentors" - Regarding this.... I think they are still technically encouraging candidates to have a separate mentor who is not in the role of supervisor but they have seemed to downplay it somewhat from the past.


thatsthat

I finished IDP about 3 years ago, so before it was AXP, but not too long ago.  I started IDP about 6 months into my first job.  I felt compelled because I didn't want to lose any of the work experience and not be able to count it if I was going to go for licensure anyway.  As someone with basically no experience, I was completely confused about what types of tasks counted for what categories and what I was supposed to be learning from each category.  (And like someone else brought up, how much exposure do you need to be able to count it?)  Luckily, I had a very nice coworker who sat down with me to go through the different categories, and what types of activities I could count.  (She had only just finished IDP herself and was starting AREs.)  Now, I'm the one explaining the AXP requirements to younger employees, and I know what I would like them to learn, but why does NCARB make this so much more confusing than necessary?!

Jan 19, 18 2:48 pm

If anything, NCARB has been trying to make it less confusing. The downside is that this is just allowing candidates to take advantage of the simplification.

I'm usually the one to complain about NCARB instead of defending it, but in this situation I'm placing the blame on the candidate and the supervisor, not NCARB. NCARB has provided the framework, but it is up to the candidate to get out of the process what they will. 

Good candidates will talk with their supervisors and ask about what they should be getting from the AXP process. Likewise, good supervisors will take the time to review the hours and ask for clarification from the candidate if necessary. Do we really need more bureaucracy from NCARB to try and force that interaction? By the time you get to the point in your career that you'll be logging IDP hours you should be grown up enough to realize if you fake it you're only hurting yourself. 

It's essentially the same with the ARE. I know I could have crammed for the tests and still passes and retained basically nothing ... I'm sure that many candidates do exactly this (which is why so many licensed architects know practically nothing). Would that have been the best for me and my long-term career goals? No. So I actually tried to learn and incorporate what I was learning into my work. I think I'm a better architect because of it.

The experience and examination portion of earning your license isn't the finish line, it's just another couple of steps in a career of learning and development. You'll get out what you put in. NCARB doesn't need to micromanage your development. NCARB is only there to verify candidates completing the AXP and the ARE are minimally competent. 

Jan 19, 18 3:18 pm
SpontaneousCombustion

I don't think NCARB needs to micromanage this - but I do think it would be helpful if the hours that the candidate puts in were broken down into specific tasks, like they used to be.  Or maybe they are, and it's just that supervisors don't see that information?  I'm not sure, since I can't see the same interface that the candidates see.  The sum total of what the supervisor sees these days is about the size of a post-it note, and has something like 6 or 8 broad categories listed, with a total number of hours for each, and 3 big buttons at the bottom: approve, send back for edits, or reject.  I'm not really sure what was wrong with the old 4-page report - it gave supervisors and interns something to sit down and discuss, and I preferred that.  Maybe I should dig up one of the old forms and use that as our in-office system.

Jan 19, 18 3:39 pm
thatsthat

There is a pamphlet that explains what tasks can count for what categories.  The candidate should give this to their supervisor before starting.  It's not as broken out as it used to be, but they try to guide you as to what should and shouldn't count. Hearing what everyone is saying about how the old IDP systems were, it sounds like NCARB is easing the system, but also creating flexibility for those who work in less traditional architecture firm settings.

From this page you can click each of the 6 broad experience areas to more detailed lists of tasks that NCARB thinks that at the end of AXP a candidate should be able to competently perform. This is also covered in the AXP Guidelines

There should be plenty of things for a candidate and supervisor to sit down and discuss there for you.

RickB-Astoria

Personally, it should have some kind of clickable icon to expand the view from the simplified format to the fuller expanded view so the supervisor can see how the candidate assigned the hours to each task type within each category. It might not seem to be much of an issue but I haven't really looked into IDP since AXP and how it works, now.

BulgarBlogger

"revise and resubmitted", "approved as noted", "rejected" haha

Jan 19, 18 3:50 pm
archinine
It's a lot of red tape and paper work thrust on the supervisor who probably doesn't have time to begin with. Ultimately the ARE is going to reveal whether or not the candidate has gleaned anything. Further the work that's doled out to candidates it's rarely their choice. Boss asks an intern to render options for 3 years, not much the intern can do other than ask for more meaningful work or leave (in addition to any outside studying).

I know many who'd prefer the idp disappear altogether in place of a national minimum number of years worked + the tests.
Jan 19, 18 6:01 pm
RickB-Astoria

We used to have a fairly national standard minimum number of years worked.... 3 YEARS (because everyone was modeling their architectural licensing laws to that of Illinois). Everyone with an NAAB accredited degree and 3 years experience basically met the standard for every state. The people who had issues were those on alternate paths to licensure to each state. Each state had varying opinions ranging from 8 years to 12+ years (for experience only candidates). 4 year architecture degree would reduce the years of experience required compared to the experience-only path. I think people want it standardized by NCARB so they can become licensed through one or more alternate paths and become NCARB certified so they don't have to constantly get letters of verification from past employers for every state they want to become licensed. I would support an NCARB National Standard Alternate Path to Initial Licensure. The licensing boards would have to adopt it as a path. However, there has been politics in the way of that. There are some states that may require some kind of legislation action implemented.

Positive Pete

its a system and test for minimum competency.  

Jan 19, 18 6:18 pm
arch76

I think the IDP process has some additional merit because of the red tape and chutes and ladders that need to be navigated by candidates to earn a seat at the test. It prepares you for a career of dealing with bureaucracy and the process of the profession.

Jan 19, 18 9:03 pm
Positive Pete

exactly.

Tinbeary There there

I think what the OP is saying is that there isn't much to the red tape if there is no accountability and a good amount of leeway (cheating) is done with zero consequences. Not actually earning the various points in the various categories doesn't seem to matter. Meanwhile, if you try to have integrity and earn the experience, you just shoot yourself in the foot because it actually does take 7 years that way.

Jan 20, 18 8:44 am
Tinbeary There there

You can also takes classes that spoon-feed you what is on the test. A friend gave me materials from a class she took and I felt pretty stupid that I had been slogging through it all without cliff notes. I do think it's true that I'm better at thinking through situations because I figured out most everything on my own by relying on knowledge through experience organically, but it took years. I whipped through the exams but not IDP.

Jan 20, 18 8:53 am
Tinbeary There there

Same friend who told me masonry units can't be cut. I guess it wasn't in the notes!!! :)

Positive Pete

Really? How does one build a wall that does not equal exact bumber of blocks which are staggerred....

Tinbeary There there

Custom molds. Someone has to come out and make custom molds. It is expensive. There are stock cut pieces too though.

LITS4FormZ

I'd compare and contrast the current system with the Professional Engineer license requirements. They have a very similar framework, log experience, take exam, become licensed. I do like how they have the FE(Fundamentals of Engineering) exam that must be passed prior to logging any experience. Then once the experience requirement is fulfilled only then can they sit for their respective exam. 

Another interesting nugget is that if they fail the exam 3 times, they have take 12 credits of relevant engineering courses before being eligible to take the exam again. With NCARB you can go into an exam to "test the waters" with the only consequence of losing out on the exam fee and having to wait 30 days. 

Our process is being dumbed down to line the coffers while engineering is  maintaining it's integrity. I do agree that 7 years was excessive before, maybe 5 is the right balance...but being able to complete your MArch with a license from select programs is a travesty. 

Jan 20, 18 12:07 pm
Tinbeary There there

The PE exam is open book and you bring your own books. They have questions with minute details unlike the ARE which is pretty generalized.

Jan 20, 18 1:07 pm
Bloopox

The OP is asking about measuring the quality of the internship experience, and I agree that NCARB seemed more concerned with measuring that some years back.  Besides asking the supervisors to consider and grade the quality of the intern's work in each category, the finer breakdown of hours better prevented BulgarBlogger's example of being able to record 150 hours to satisfy a category, even if it was all in one peripheral task, with no exposure to the real meat of that category.

It frustrated me when I was trying to complete IDP that I had nearly twice the minimum total experience hours required, but still wasn't finished because I was missing 12 or 16 hours in one specific task.  That task was something that my firm didn't typically do, so I had to arrange with my boss to let me take some "field trips" to another firm to finally get that experience, but I got it.  Sure, even in that system my boss could have just signed off on my form - there's always a way to cheat - but at least it made everybody aware of what was expected. That issue of interns having 5 or 6 years of reported experience but still being short on a few specifics is why NCARB made the whole system less specific - but it seems harder now for interns to know exactly what experiences they're lacking, or to judge quality, when 150 hours of producing presentation drawings can just be signed off on as satisfying a whole category.

If it's all up to the supervisor and intern, and we don't want NCARB "hand-holding", the how/why is NCARB supposed to be responsible for judging quality of experience?  If we do want NCARB to judge quality, then we need to return to the much more detailed system of what's required, and to the system of requiring supervisors to grade the intern's performance.

Jan 20, 18 1:23 pm
BulgarBlogger

I think the wuality of experience also has to dow ith whether or not firms are willing to pay to train their employees; and by pay, I mean the money spent on a supervisor’s time explaining stuff to the intern architect.


Many firms would argue- “this is a firm- a business - not a school.” And while that is true, I still think that part of the reason for why firms have found ways to fenegle the quality of an intern architect’s IDP experience is so they can minimize non-billable time. 


To solve this, I think that there should be skme kind of tax incentive during an employee’s training period. Budgets are already so tight and taxes are part of a business’s expenses and if you try to get a tax break somehow for employee training, then maybe you can actually eliminate the financial excuse for lack of training.

Jan 20, 18 1:40 pm
RickB-Astoria

Bloopox, this is not directed AT you but at the 'whining employers who don't want to train'. 

Contracting business is a business but they do also have to train their hires. People do not all come from some magical school that teaches everything they need to know. Part of the cost of running a business is training your workers for the task and that includes explaining what needs to be done. If you, the employer, can't do the basic responsible job of explaining the tasks and what you need done with a new hire, you have no business A) running a business, and B) hiring people and being an employer. The solution for getting paid for your time for teaching, raise your rates to the clients or work for your pay check. If you are paid two or three times your fresh new entry-level hires, are you working two or three times as many hours? If not, quit whining and do your job as an employer. 

It is part of the role of leadership and as an employer to train your staff appropriately. You know there is no such thing as a single office standard. You better plan into your billing and contracts with clients what it takes of your time and what it cost. If you are a salary worker as a principal of a firm or similar high ranking positions, you work 40 hours a week MINIMUM for a fixed salary amount. If you feel the client needs to pay a little more, then so be it. Set up the price in your agreement to begin with. I find people who whine about supervising and explaining to a fresh hire.... annoying and I say... you could be doing the shit detail yourself that you were so happy to pass it off to someone below you to do. If it means you have to explain a few things more than just "here's your task on the sticky note" and walk away while sitting in your office in that comfortable padded chair, drinking coffee and talking on the phone 2/3s of the day and playing golf for the other 1/3 of the day and then maybe have to spend a few hours overtime reviewing the shit. Come one, you spent the office work day jaw jacking and golfing. 

Yes, I understand you have work to do but there is times you might be spending your time that can be more better spent but guess what if you're a Principal, your job isn't a 9-5 job. It is your life more or less because you're married to the business and you get a sizable chunk of the net profits in addition to your salaries or guaranteed payment. You're paid $150,000 a year, quit whining when you have to work past 5pm. A lot of people work 2 FULL-TIME JOBS (or equivalent) for less than 1/2 of what you make. They never have a day off and they may have to work over-time from time to time with both jobs and have nearly no sleep for a week. Do you have it that hard? No! Quit making excuses. 

You're paid the same amount whether you work 10 hours a week or 100 hours a week. So what if you have to spend an extra hour a day for some weeks with new entry level hires. Maybe spend a hour less golfing or some other b.s. Stop banging your office assistant or whatever. The financial excuse is b.s.,charge the client maybe 5% more on design fees when setting up contracts. Perhaps some of work of training of new inexperienced hires can be distributed and be a group effort from not only yourself but experienced staff.

RickB-Astoria

Sorry, I mean BulgarBlogger not Bloopox.

BulgarBlogger

Rick, I try to not to be a troll and take advantage of the fact that you are others’ easy target on archinect, but I reallh don’t think you know much about the business of architecture. You may know to do things in oregon, but simply raising your fees doesn’t work in NYC where architects are a dime a dozen. Sitting in your office talking on the phone isnt what most successful bosses I know do anyway...

RickB-Astoria

Most successful bosses knows the value to training their employees and knows the schools won't and never had and never will. Office practices in every single firm varies to some extent. I hope you understood I was being a little facetious and sarcastic. Since you are already working anywhere from 40-60 hours a week, so what if you have to work 5 more hours a week to trained. Hell, it isn't necessarily one person doing this. There is that saying, it takes a community to raise a child. It is kind of that way to raise (train) a fresh newly hired individual who happens to not have a lot of experience. Otherwise, the only people they'll hire is architects with a hundred years of experience behind them.... oh wait... they would be dead. Good firms values quality training of new people because otherwise the only people they will be hiring are dead architects. As I said, there is two options, suck it up, spend the extra time to train the employee........ OR..... raise the fee. Since it isn't costing you guys any more money other than running the lights on a little longer and maybe a little more on the electrical bill and heating. At the end of the day, you spend the time. Why should the government care? Business owners would be happy to never pay taxes because they would be funneling that money to off-shore accounts in tax havens.

If I had to hire people, I may have to train them. If it means a little more time what may already be a busy work schedule, then fine. It's the life of being....

RickB-Astoria

AN ARCHITECT / DESIGN PROFESSIONAL.

RickB-Astoria

When you are starting off in this kind of business on your own, the first thing is NOT hiring. The first thing is getting clients and projects. Along the process or at the beginning is forming a team of core experienced individuals that are going to be co-founders or otherwise partners in the practice. This team should be about 3 to 5 individuals before hiring ANYONE inexperienced or fresh out of school. For every new inexperienced individual on the team, you need about 3-5 individuals that can collectively share the responsibility of training the new person.The other experienced individuals will simply be part of the community that foster and supports the raising of the new member of the family in the firm.

BulgarBlogger

to elaborate a bit further: 


To prevent abuse, the amount of tax-deduction would be tied to a pre-determined percentage of expenditure based on the quanity of house submitted by the intern architect.


Example:


Say an intern architect’s wage is $21.63 an hour- his annual income is $45,000. Per the employee agreement, the employer agrees to mentor and train that employee through thr IDP program and other minimum state experience requirements. 


Say there are 2,000 billable hours per year (+80 vacation hours) of which the employee and emoloyer agree that 5% of those hours would be spent in direct training by the employer.


 So the value of 5% of 2000 hours = 0.05 x 2,000 x $21.63/hr, or $2,163 annually would be tax deductable by the firm.

Jan 20, 18 1:53 pm
RickB-Astoria

Why should it matter. The employer gets a salary and also gets dividends from the shares of the business and other benefits. So what if he or she is working 100 hours more in that year. The employer is not on a wage and is paid the same whether he works 10 hours a week or even 100 hours a week. So what if you have to work 42 hours instead of just 40 hours a week. Other experienced workers in the firm that are on salaries can be assigned to train and mentor the new worker. So what if it means you work a few extra hours a week. If it means working 45 hours a week.... fine. You're paid a fixed amount and usually at a few pay steps up from what someone entry is being paid. You know... like effectively $30 an hour if you were working exactly 40 hours a week for exactly 50 weeks. Oh wait..... most people being paid minimum wage must work 2080 hours a year as a full-time employee. So what's the bitch for actually having to work a true FULL TIME work year or even a little more when you are paid $50,000 to $60,000 a year BASE SALARY. (Again, this is not directed AT BulgarBlogger)

BulgarBlogger

Huh? you lost me there, Rick. Architects never work just 40 hours a week. They work more like 60. Most states also exempt professionals from overtime pay so really the wage is based on a 40 hour week; everything beyond that is technically free work on the part of the employee. HOWEVER - what most people don't understand is that even where projects are not billed hourly, efficiency becomes a big factor.

RickB-Astoria

That's not entirely true. I know architects that don't work more than 40 hours a week except if they are nearing critical deadlines.

BulgarBlogger

this is not to say that the other 95% of hours won’t count toward IDP, just that the 5% would be spent on direct mentoring. And in order to get the tax deduction, both the mentor and the mentee need to sign off on the mentoring sessions.

Jan 20, 18 1:55 pm
jla-x

here is a novel idea...get rid of the experience requirement all together and allow people to make their own decisions on when they are ready to assume risk and liability, and let the millionaire clients practice good common sense or get burnt.  Create a national exam that is limited to hsw / code issues. A test anyone can take. That test can allow one to work in any of the design professions freely and nationally.  

Jan 20, 18 4:22 pm
arch76

cool. the quality and value of building stock plummets, lawyers get rich from the ensuing lawsuits. more lawyers for architects to marry. perfect solution.

jla-x

Lol. Not exactly. Absolutely nothing will change but better opportunities for designers. I'd bet my life on it.

archinine
^yes eliminate the hand holding / red tape that is IDP.

It doesn't matter how micro managed or hands off the ncarb submission requirements are, there's always a workaround to getting hours through. It has always been an honor code system.

Minimum exams + minimum education + minimum years worked under licensed professional = licensed. After that one ought to be free to fumble along solo as they wish - be subject to lawsuits etc at their own risk.

What is the point in this nannying up to ages 30+? Just as within any profession, [the more experienced] one needs to trust that [less experienced] people will seek out help/guidance on topics which they are unfamiliar with, and that occasionally doing so does not equate to them being incapable nor unfit to operate [mostly] autonomously. This is applicable both within offices and in the profession at large.
Jan 20, 18 5:11 pm
jla-x

Yes, and furthermore the market/client will select those with demonstrated experience. It's not that difficult.

archinine
The insistence on the hand holding reminds me a bit of no child left behind in some ways.

It delays the inevitability for some who will never really be successful and slows down those pitted to achieve high marks.
Jan 20, 18 5:16 pm
archi_dude

I understand the merits of both sides of the argument however I worry that “eliminating the red tape” would turn the professional license into more of a real estate license scenario, everyone has one, it really is just an email tag line. I know this idea is meant to have younger talented designers join discussions of what can get built but at the same time remember if you make it easier for them you’d alll of a sudden have a bunch of contractors or developers taking an easy code exam and saying yep I’m an architect this lowering the profession further and not really adding any value to it. And honestly it’s really easy to get the license, I have completely become burnt out on this profession and for awhile have known I’m going to go to the real estate side. Just figured I’d plant my flag pole in the top of mountain first so I snagged the license last year and might do some things as a hobby on the side. What more proof do you need that it’s way to easy to get when you have me, a hobbiest who had the thought, meh I’ll just get it before I go to the dark side, will be nice to just submit my own sets on some shitty flips.

Jan 20, 18 5:29 pm
jla-x

Regardless, that's not the duty of the state to dictate. Their scope ends with protecting the hsw of the public. This hsw argument has been construed by trade groups to protect their pockets by limiting competition. Such as the more extreme cases of the state requiring a license to massage horses or sell flowers in a flower shop. It's gone way to far. Imagine the opportunity for architects if they could practice in all 50 states and territories freely. Imagine an architect being free to move into landscape architecture if that's where the road takes them. This whole idp thing is nothing more than a desire to control, limit, and line the pockets of buerocrats. I'm not proposing this because I have disdain for the profession, I'm proposing it because I Believe it would be a great expansion of our economic liberties to work and expand more freely into new terrain.

jla-x

With all honesty, how many of you would turn down this freedom?

jla-x

Also, I'm not saying to make the test easy.

archinine
^archi I hear you. But eliminating idp does not eliminate the education, rigorous testing and general 3 years work experience requirements.

If it is too easy then it's the tests which should be more difficult as idp/the honor code is an ineffective metric to prove a candidate has learned the material.
Jan 20, 18 5:38 pm
archi_dude

Yeah and I apologize that was a little harsh. I don’t disrespect the profession that much, that was an outburst of exasperation realizing what I do love doing just isn’t valued by many people and there doesn’t seem to be much consensus on what we can do. However I will say, as someone who took both 4.0 and 5.0. I think NCARB did a good job in making it more geared to making sure interns without experience can’t just cram but older employees who’ve put it off and have children actually can rely on experience quite a bit more.

archi_dude

*have children and less time.

arch76

totally agree. took me 15 years to complete the IDP, but I rocked out the ARE in less then half a year. There were some questions that I had deja vu, recalling the answer from conversations overheard in 2004...

archinine
^archi while I agree the solution isn't clear cut, I think the general work requirement (which only some states mandate) is the best aide against a pure cram (and subsequent forgetting) of the info. That said, anecdotally from friends' stories I know it can be incredibly difficult to actually fulfill the idp requirements even within those three years, regardless if said individual is knowledgeable from outside studying. Some firms/employment situations/regional work available make it near impossible to (legitimately) gain exposure in every category and minute topic. One can't have gleaned nothing from 3 years of work, and if they truly have learned zilch being in a firm that long they probably aren't going to be successful at the tests or as an independent practitioner. Even with the crappiest of bosses assigning only pictorial type work, a perceptive learner can listen and absorb quite a lot, especially when paired with independent study.

If anything it would seem eliminating the idp would be a favorable option to those with less time due to children or other situations.
Jan 20, 18 6:43 pm
RickB-Astoria

Ultimately, the question that must be kept in mind is, will people go through having children (for example) to get exempt of IDP requirements. Some people will find a way to basically cheat or abuse the process for their own gain.

BulgarBlogger

@Sponteneous Combustion 

In the 1990s it was taking an average of 7.5 years for interns to make it from graduation to licensing, and many dropped out along the way and never came back

Can you please tell me what is wrong with those who "dropped out along the way and never came back"? What is wrong with a lean and clean group of architects? Why do we insist on flooding the country with mediocre professionals? It seems like NCARB favors numbers over quality...

Jan 20, 18 8:36 pm
RickB-Astoria

Have you looked at the AXP Portfolio program?

jla-x

You assume that the cream will rise to the top. That ignores several inherent flaws with mandatory and prolonged internships. One, the low pay and long hours make it financially burdensome for parents, especially those who's significant other has a higher paying job. The cost of child care + repayment of student loans completely erase the earnings. This makes those with children more likely to drop out because of circumstances rather than abilities. Second, your employer and future competition is your gate keeper. This is a fundamentally flawed scenario for obvious reasons. Third, young energetic entrepreneurs are often compelled to move on to greener pastures rather than deal with years of red-tape for a profession that offers little bang for its buck. While this may show a low bs tolerance quota, it's no indication of a lack of talent or ability. Fourth, minority hiring discrimination, if you agree exists, is automatically now elevated beyond its localized harm to a barrier of entry into the overall profession. After prolonged discrimination, it's not hard to imagine why some would move on to something else.

jla-x

This is the flaw of big government loving democrats- the institutionalization of the very problems they say they want to eradicate.

jla-x

And fifth, let's not forget the trust fund babies who can more easily acquire the mandatory hours needed and move more freely from job to job to satisfy idp. This is especially an advantage when the economy is down. This advantage will logically result in greater numbers of wealthy people being able to weather a bad economy. Again, circumstantial and not merit based.

Tinbeary There there

It is not NCARB's job to ensure expertise, just minimal competency, otherwise that is subjective gate-keeping. The market sorts it out from there. Stop thinking the license is some sort of stamp of approval and not just a minimal competency and you'll stop having such thoughts.

SpontaneousCombustion

I didn't say anything was wrong with it. I thought I made it clear that I think the rules and procedures that were in place then did more to encourage high quality on-the-job training.

At the time an oft-repeated accusation was that NCARB was deliberately acting as a gatekeeper to limit competition, making the path to a license difficult specifically in order to cut down the numbers of people who ever made it to being architects.  The average length of time from graduation to license was a little over 7.5 years.  People were constantly complaining that it was unnecessarily difficult.  NCARB's response was to cut back the regulations, with the stated goal of cutting this average down to 3-4 years.

Jan 20, 18 8:52 pm
Tinbeary There there

They are making the tests harder, by the way, to anyone who cares to know. They are harder in that you are going to need actual experience to be able to answer the questions, not just cliff notes. Sounds like an appropriate response to easing up on the IDP/AXP and even granting some licenses along with the degree. Even if people are eligible, they have to pass the exam. They greatly reduced the waiting period to retake after you fail one too, which I don't agree with because again it lets people who have more money than sense just keep taking them. Used to be 6 months, now I think it's 30 days. Can I get a gold star for passing all on the first try? No, there is no such thing. But I wasn't going to pay to fail an exam, so I didn't. 

Jan 21, 18 12:53 pm
Positive Pete

I saw hard sample question once

Tinbeary There there

It's still mostly a multiple choice exam, and you can usually eliminate 2, then you got a 50/50 chance! And you don't have to ace the exam, just pass it!!!

BulgarBlogger

oh boo hoo- we have to consider those who want to be parents... well guess what- have all the kids you want after you have gotten your license just as you wouldn’t want to get knocked up before graduating high school. You can’t have it all...

Jan 21, 18 1:58 pm
Positive Pete

Man i have a joke for this post but its wrong like rrall wrong so i have had to refrain ad positive pete.

archinine
^and there again bulgar firmly plants foot in mouth. This sort of comment (as well as plenty of other retorts you've made on these forums) reveals the underlying reason you struggle to impress clients of a certain class.
Jan 21, 18 6:58 pm
BulgarBlogger

I make politically incorrect comments anonymously, just like the conservative aristocracy makes comments about the 47% behind closed doors. Just because many people disagree with the statements, doesn’t necessarily make them untrue.

Jan 21, 18 7:45 pm
Positive Pete

Yeah i tell my wife that a lot. Never works out

Steeplechase

If only there was some sort of standard means of testing experience...

Jan 21, 18 8:18 pm
jla-x

I don't know what annoys me more, the sjw's who refuse to recognize that empowering bias through dependency programs like idp/axp is feeding the problem they pretend outrage about, or the good ole boys who pretend to advocate meritocracy, but are truly afraid of increasing competition and really support a Nanny state.  Again, I ask all licensed architects and designers...would you turn down the freedom to work across all design disciplines (landscape, arch, interior) and throughout the entire US and its territories?  

Jan 22, 18 11:06 am
jla-x

If someone presented a bill that would overturn this self harming web of red-tape how many would support it? Remember, while it would allow more people into the pool, existing architects would be given far greater Mobility and autonomy. There would be a benefit for all parties. The test can be made to be harder then the ARE, but the experience requirement would vanish and people would be forced to use self restraint and rely on the natural market regulations that are already in play...

jla-x

*Than

jla-x

Hey, let's play a little thought game...If Hollywood created a rule that said all actors and actresses needed to be licensed, and would be required to do a 3-5 year internship prior to being allowed on the big screen do you think sexual harassment would increase or decrease? Do you think diversity would increase or decrease? Do you think the quality of actors and films in general would increase or decrease? This would obviously be unconstitutional as film is an art, but let's just assume the pricks figure a way to make a hsw argument to justify it...

Steeplechase

You might get more positive engagement if you demonstrated that you know what you are actually talking about. Architects aren’t limited by your narrow view of the field and have means of seeking licensure in multiple states. Actors don’t potentially endanger the public, who go beyond clients and users.

5839

How will eliminating NCARB increase my ability to work across states and professions? I already have full mobility to practice architecture in every US state - as long as I pay their fees. There are approximately 26 states that regulate titles related to interior design (so, ok I can't call myself "registered interior designer" unless I register), but only 2 states that actually regulate the practice of interior design, and I already have an interior design license in one of those (automatic comity for anyone licensed as an architect in the state - just fill out the form). None of the states that I work in requires a license to practice landscape architecture, so nothing currently stopping me there - maybe that will pose some issue somewhere someday, but I don't see how eliminating NCARB will matter in that one way or the other.

jla-x

Yes, through reciprocity as I said...which is even more of a useless money grab and pointless obstacle. And, no, you cannot practice landscape architecture unless it is incidental to a building project in many states.

jla-x

And, my point is going beyond ncarb...I'm talking about a complete national overhaul of the licensing process.

5839

Interior Design has certainly gone in the direction for which you're advocating. Over the last +/- 20 years almost all of the states that used to require a license to practice have backed off, because without a clear HSW argument it's just restraint of trade (yes, I know there have been claims that interior designers save thousands of lives per year by selecting non-porous wallcoverings in hospitals and such, but overall lives are not so clearly at stake due to ugly throw pillows.) It's more difficult to undo licensing requirements for professions that more directly and obviously affect safety - I can't see legislators jumping at the chance, or that it would be a very popular idea with the general voting public. How do you propose convincing them?

BulgarBlogger

jla-x:

Your last hypothetical question is entirely outrageous. I can't even believe you would compare acting to architecture. Actually, perhaps I can, if I can understand your understanding of architecture as some glorified title given to designers since we already outsource structural and MEP (you would argue that we mostly just coordinate those disciplines and pick stone and tile - something an Interior Designer can do), but perhaps that is YOUR reality; it isn't mine. Acting carries ZERO liability, whereas Architecture is incredibly risky, where if you actually do what real architects do instead of pretend to be an architect and just coordinate drawings, take meeting minutes, and yell at contractors to save face in the wake of your incompetence, mistakes could be the end of you.

No - a national exam is NOT a good idea. The reason being is because clients want more than someone just knowing what a rim joist is or whether an architect understands thermal bridging. When a client hires an architect, the client hires that architect for his/her expertise in understanding the construction process for that particular region. 

Case in point: I am currently working on a townhouse where the client had no idea about anything related to construction. If I hadn't told that client that he needed to engage a construction attorney to draw up party wall agreements with his neighbors and I started instructing through drawings and directives for the contractor to start tearing down common elements, I could have potentially been exposed to liability for not applying the standard of care. I don't care how contracts are written. Even if I walked away legally unscathed, my experience would not only save my client money, but also protect my reputation. 

The moral of the story is that each region is different and having experience in that particular region is something that NCARB wants to ensure an architect has before allowing architects to practice elsewhere in the country. 

Jan 22, 18 12:25 pm
jla-x

The acting scenario was obviously a far fetched hypothetical. I stated that. As far as regional differences in practice go, the person working in that region would have to use good judgment and be on the up and up on the state specific codes, rules, etc. You basically proved my point as you stated that failing to get the wall agreement would damage your reputation/liability, and therefore compel clients to judge according who they do business with.

BulgarBlogger

All I proved was that NCARB wants to protect the reputation of the Profession and protect clients by promoting reputable architects through the enforcement of good and relevant regional experience.

jla-x

Acting and architecture are very different, so here is a better comparison. In my state, tattoo artists won a court ruling that determined tattoos are indeed art and protected under the 1st amendment making licensing unconstitutional (most likely). Because of this anyone can open a tattoo shop and tattoo. I think we can agree that there are hsw issues with tattoos including the spread of infectious disease, lawsuits, etc. anyway, the number of tattoo health issues in my state are lower than state that have tattoo licensing. Why?

jla-x

Actually, they are far lower from what I've heard.

BulgarBlogger

Because human bodies don't vary as much as regional site conditions and laws.

jla-x

And listen to this dumb logic...since permanent makeup is tattooed, one does not need a license to apply it, but one does require a cosmetology license to apply temporary makeup. Why? Because lobbyists made it that way and makeup artists never challenged the law that cosmetology is an art form. It's all bullshit. The market will get rid of the unqualified...

jla-x

BB, human bodies and conditions that can cause infection vary greatly. The shop has a financial interest in NOT being a health risk. The state licensing bs is nothing but an obstacle. At the end of the day, good businessman and women will do everything to avoid liability and provide an acceptable standard of care to stay in business. You did so to keep a good reputation and protect your client. That was your motive. Architects are not special in this regard. Anyone in business who wants to stay in business will do the same.

JLC-1

" human bodies don't vary as much as regional site conditions and laws"; where is this microcosm?

5839

Texas did a study in the late 1990s to consider pulling out of NCARB. They were proposing writing and administering their own Texas-specific exam. What stopped that was not the costs associated with test development, staffing, etc. - it was the fact that when they surveyed other states, every one that responded said they were either "unlikely" or "definitely not" willing to accept experience and/or testing records from Texas to satisfy requirements for reciprocity. So what then? Anybody who gets licensed in Texas and then wants to move ends up having to do their internship and testing over again in another state? Yes that might help with understanding of construction, climate, and codes of each state. But it also might make anyone who wants to move have to rewind to intern-status all over again each time. Do you think that would be better? (I'm asking this sincerely. I don't really have a strong feeling one way or the other and am trying to understand what you think would help.)

jla-x

No, Like I said, a national license w/o an experience requirement. My point is not about ncarb. They are just a symptom of the problem.

5839

Sorry, I was replying to BulgarBlogger here, not you jla-x. He's saying above that he's in favor of state-specific testing. 


jla-x

My only beef is with the mandatory internship requirement that is a feature of every state and ncarb. Rather there should be a harder test so that professional movement is 100% merit based rather than circumstantially biased.

archinine
It is not ncarb's job to protect the client. That is the client's 'job' as well as, to an extent, the architect. As far as HSW that falls under the user/public being protected, who may or may not also be the client.

Ncarb's only purpose, as has been stated repeatedly on this thread, is to ensure a minimum level of competency amongst those using the professional title. They also have slowly made headway on provided a national standard of what that is, one does not need ncarb anything in most states to become an architect in that state...Legal ramifications for individual scenarios lie at the state and local levels in which ncarb has no say nor jurisdiction. One could argue the entire point of ncarb is to provide a national unified standard of competency.
Jan 22, 18 1:17 pm
Tinbeary There there

Let's make the education better, the experience better, and the tests harder.

Jan 23, 18 9:01 am
Tinbeary There there

And let's have an initial license just like we already do, then add another board certification to say you have gone beyond minimal competency.



Jan 23, 18 9:04 am

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