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Is NCARB pushing away young Architects from obtaining License?

muhammadtayyab,assoc.aia

I just need some advice from a senior or licensed Architects. I just gotten my four years of degree in Architecture and now i have to obtain Masters in architecture to be accredited from NCARB in order to sit and take an exam. It means I have to pay for my masters which the schools dont usually pay for and as a student I want to get into profession and start making money. Even If i do masters i will still be called "Architectural Intern" until I get my License!! mind you I will be a masters student? and the pay dont even go above 55-60k even after doing my masters?NCARB just started this practice but I know some Architects that became licensed when it wasnt a requirement to do masters in order to obtain license and they are doing perfectly just as well as any Architect! We have engineers that make more in 4 years degree, for example structural engineers will make 60-70k starting salary with four years degree? They dont even need to do masters like some of our school that requires you to do "masters" to be accredited from NCARB to get license? is this some sort of big monopoly from NCARB and schools to be able to make students do masters to able to sit in the exam? if that is the case I think that is turning students away from Architecture and that will hurt NCARB in long term. 

 
Feb 11, 20 3:04 pm

LOL, these NCARB rules have been in place for quite some time as far as accredited degree requirements. If anything post-recession NCARB has lax the rules by reducing the IDP hours and allowing testing before hour completion. If you don't feel like getting a masters you can always test through another state that doesn't require it, like New York; it just means more IDP hours. And you should have learned long ago architecture isn't a high paying career and engineers have higher salaries...water is wet.

Feb 11, 20 3:12 pm
Formerlyunknown

NCARB did not just start requiring an NAAB-accredited degree recently - it's been the requirement of most US states for several decades now - back to the 1980s in most of them.  Either a 5-year B.Arch or a first-professional M.Arch can satisfy this requirement. 

There are also still approximately 20 states that have alternate routes to licensure that do not require an NAAB-accredited degree - but in most cases they require several years more experience.  Getting licensed in one of those states without an NAAB degree may limit your ability to get reciprocity in other states later.  There are about a million past threads on this...

NCARB retired the use of the term "intern" in 2017, so you're unlikely to be called that these days - but yes, until very recently an "intern" in this profession has meant anybody working in a firm who is working toward their license - so all of us with M.Archs were indeed interns.  These days as an unlicensed graduate working in an architecture firm (with or without an NAAB-accredited degree) you may be called a "designer", "technologist", or any of a vast variety of other things - just not an architect until you pass the licensing exam and satisfy the other requirements of some state.

Feb 11, 20 3:15 pm
mightyaa

It goes back farther than that. My Dad got a 5 year accredidated degree, then a 3 year internship, then the ARE back in the 50's. The only thing that has changed is back then it was all run by the State licensing boards and reciprocity agreements between States... That led to standardizing test and eventually NCARB to track it all. There are still some holdouts like CA who insist on adding things to the ARE.

muhammadtayyab,assoc.aia

but i have some colleagues that graduated with 4 years In illinois and were able to sit in for exam and then they changed the law around 2007-2008ish in Illinois that you do need bachelors and as well as masters to be able to sit in for exam. Which is think is a over kill ....

Feb 11, 20 3:26 pm
Threesleeve

Illinois does NOT require a masters degree. You need either a B.Arch or an M.Arch. It just needs to be an NAAB-accredited professional degree. Your problem is that you have a 4-year "pre-professional" degree, which on its own does not satisfy that requirement. This education requirement has been in place in Illinois since 1990.

Non Sequitur

Then you should have taken an accredited B.arch degree instead. Also worth mentioning that you will also need to fulfill the minimum hours in addition to completing an accredited degree and passing the exams before you can escape the intern-arch position.

Wilson, Duke of RFIs

OR they could become licensed in neighboring Wisconsin, a state that does not require a B.Arch, and file for reciprocity in Illinois. ;) https://dsps.wi.gov/Pages/Professions/Architect/Default.aspx

muhammadtayyab,assoc.aia

But will you be able to obtain reciprocity if your school wasnt NAAB accredited? I think it has to be in order to obtain the license in illinois.

Wilson, Duke of RFIs

Oh, no then you're pretty screwed. :/ I thought you had an accredited pre-professional B.S. Arch.

Threesleeve

For registration by endorsement in Illinois you need an NAAB accredited degree or equivalent (CACB Accredited degree or NCARB evaluation equivalency via the EESA, EA or FAP.) Again, this has been the case since 1990.

muhammadtayyab,assoc.aia

Well, i shouldve done my HW 5 years ago in picking naab accredited school now I have to do two years of masters and waste my time lol #salty

Non Sequitur

An accredited masters is not a waste of time. Taking an unaccredited bachelors is.

joseffischer

I sympathize. When going to georgia tech and deciding on architecture as a 17 year old, over many engineering degrees. No one told me that the 4-year degree was worthless. I figured it out 2nd semester of year 2 and could graduate in 3 years anyway, so I stuck with it, but if you know a fresh highschool graduate interested in arch, steer them to the 5-year programs. Way cheaper.

muhammadtayyab,assoc.aia

i meant 5 years program* 

Feb 11, 20 3:28 pm
G4tor

Is NCARB pushing away young Architects from obtaining License?

Yes.

Feb 11, 20 4:34 pm
Bench

Are sports pushing away players by writing a rulebook and mandating that participants agree to follow it?

Feb 11, 20 4:35 pm
RickB-Astoria

Don't get caught up thinking you are a master of anything with a "Master's degree". You are far from being a master even with a doctoral degree. You can live 1000 life times and still not be a true master.

Feb 11, 20 4:45 pm
tduds

uh no one is claiming otherwise, Ricky

RickB-Astoria

I was responding to the OP not everyone else.

tintt

Masters degree just means your undergrad wasn't good enough (not accredited).

SneakyPete

I get a twinge of annoyance when I read that, then I realized it was true. My Bachelor's isn't even in Architecture.

RickB-Astoria

I want to be clear that in no way do I intend to mean that you can't get good but an absolute true master would be beyond that of all the top famous architects like FLW, Le Corbusier, etc. combined. They are good at what they did but they didn't know everything about architecture and no one can. A true master has to be all-knowing of architecture in every way and form. A skill beyond mortal reach.

SneakyPete

What?

RickB-Astoria

A true master has to have all the knowledge and skills of everything about architecture in past, present, and future from an infinite number of universes in the past through an infinite number of universes into the future. That is True mastery. Everything we do fall short of that. Even those idols that are worshiped like gods in architecture school and in the architecture profession.

Archlandia

Rick, what about Master Splinter?

RickB-Astoria

The proper title is Sensei which means teacher. Just as rabbi means the same thing in literal translation albeit there is a different context of teaching subject. The "Master" title is not a legitimate title in traditional martial arts as it was practiced in ancient times in Japan and China. In fact, "Master" is English word. So there is a misconception of the word "master" but then this whole thing by the time of TMNT cartoon and comics is Americanized asian martial art culture lingo for someone who is merely a more experienced person who attained a level of competence in their martial art form to be able to teach it. We came up with the colored belt thing which has no real meaning in martial arts in asia. Some may have used a white belt for students and the black belt for the sensei and those whom they have determined to have reached a certain level of competency. Term of 'mastery' (an english translation) or simply the "level of competency' (a more appropriate term) wasn't really so much like some sport tournament thing. It wasn't. You either reach the level that you can defeat your sensei (preferably without killing the sensei). Ultimately, the point is there is always more to learn. That is what traditional martial arts teaches. A sensei is always learning to improves himself/herself and learn from observing others in their art form. When you reach a level of a sensei, you have reached a level to teach others and continue to learn further on a more independent basis then within the traditional seisei / student (there is various traditional words in the various languages for them) and may refer to different levels of competency or level of completion of the training curriculum and skill proficiency.

In America, this use of the term "Master" became kind of cliche that it doesn't really have much meaning. Master Splinter is a character who would be more properly titled 'sensei' but you know how America makes a mess of things of non-American culture.


SneakyPete

What?

threeohdoor

It's fairly straight forward to become an architect, and frankly, the steps haven't much changed in many years.

NCARB and AIA do charge arms and legs for their annual membership fees. If you want to, say, get reciprocity in another state, you'll have to pay NCARB mucho dinero.

I'd love to see a breakdown of their income streams. My hypothesis is that the vast bulk are testing and initial dues.

Feb 11, 20 4:47 pm
SneakyPete

there's a max for letting your certificate lapse (past fees plus penalty) which is a better way to go about it after the time has passed. Paying NCARB yearly for a certificate when you don't need reciprocity is foolish and rewards their bullshit. It's like a warranty on a used car.

threeohdoor

Totally agree.

Bloopox

The break-even point (where you'll have spent less by letting your certification lapse and paying the max back fees and "reactivation fee" if you ever need the certificate in the future) is 7-8 years. But you may also want to consider the time involved with reactivation: that adds weeks or months to a process that already routinely takes months in a lot of states (there are states that will process your application in a few days administratively once they get your records, but others that have to put everyone on the agenda to be voted on at a quarterly board meeting.) Every time I've applied for reciprocity it's been for a prospective project or employment situation, so fairly time-sensitive. You have to balance whether "rewarding NCARB for their bullshit" on an annual basis might be worth it to not lose some future job or project because it's going to take you 6+ months just to get a license in another state.

SneakyPete

The number of folks needing reciprocity on that time scale compared to total license holders is, I assume, fairly small. And, I would hope, those folks have their career figured out well enough that they don't get caught in this situation. If they do, I would generally blame NCARB, not the individual, as the ENTIRE REASON NCARB EXISTS is to support Architects. Or so they say.

thisisnotmyname

NCARB exists to preserve and perpetuate itself. Any "service" to architects is merely a pretext for charging them the fees that constitute NCARB's main source of revenue.   By making reciprocity outside of NCARB difficult, NCARB protects its interests.

Threesleeve

Naturally that's the reason that NCARB makes it difficult. But what's the option? Work in one state forever?  The states aren't opening up any alternate routes around NCARB - Texas proposed doing that about 25 years ago but the rest of the states all said they'd refuse to accept anyone for reciprocity who was licensed by a Texas-specific system. You can stop paying your dues if you've got your life figured out, but there are decades of posts on this forum of people who didn't have it figured out as well as they thought, yelling "help, I didn't pay my NCARB dues and now I hate my job and want to move out of state and it's going to cost $1200 of back fees and does anybody know how to get around this state's requirement to transmit my NCARB record?" It's an iffy bet, though I suppose the $1200 is less expensive in the dollars of 7 years later, and you can invest it in the meantime.

thisisnotmyname

Go online and check out who sits on the NCARB board and gets to go to the fancy NCARB annual conference. It is state board members. As long as the NCARB board is filled with members of state boards, the state boards are never going to create alternate reciprocity routes that threaten NCARB's hegemony. The interlocking memberships of the NCARB and state boards constitute a hopeless conflict of interest. NCARB is effectively running the state boards, rather than the other way around.

SneakyPete

y'all are talking my language (of indignant resignation)

SpontaneousCombustion

When I was doing IDP and taking exams I thought once I got through and got a license that would be the end of having to deal with NCARB. Maybe it could have been, if I lived in a big state with enough projects to go around, and never moved. Being in a little state surrounded by other little states I've had more NCARB interactions since I got my initial license than before. Their fees are crazy and they're far too slow. Still I hate to think what would happen if it were left to each state to pick and choose which other states' licenses to accept for reciprocity and how to keep and evaluate records. More than 50% of all USA architecture licenses are granted based on reciprocity. In some states as high as 74%. But some states don't even have any staff and can't do anything except in the few hours every three months that their board meets, and they manage to just "run out of time for" or even "misplace" a good chunk of applications so they've always got a perpetual backlog just to approve straightforward applications.

As much as I'd like for NCARB to be obliterated I shudder to think of the alternative - we'd probably get some states just throwing up their hands and getting rid of all their licensing and HSW requirements and letting the contractors and DIYers run amok, and other states taking 19 years to process applications and making everybody take their state-specific exams that nobody else will accept.

thisisnotmyname

A streamlined NCARB would be the solution. They need to exit the CEU business and limit themselves to being a lean operation that operates a database of registration and AXP records. They have a plethora of management staff that I really don't understand the purpose of. They also have fancy office space in downtown Washington DC, the most expensive market in the USA.  Frankly, the NCARB HQ should move to flyover country where rent is cheap and parking is free. The elaborate NCARB annual meeting should reduced to be a conference call or at most a one day affair held in the meeting room of a Holiday Inn Express somewhere.  NCARB dues should be capped to be never be more than .5% of the average USA registered architect's income.

SneakyPete

If I recall correctly, they built a huge building on K Street then moved out shortly after.

SpontaneousCombustion

thisisnotyourname: I agree with most of that. Except that the highest NCARB dues are $225/year - that would be .5% of the income of a person making 45k, already well below the average income of a USA registered architect (unless we're counting retired people?) The obnoxious part of course is that the $225 is just for parking your record - if you actually want it sent anywhere it's another $400 every time.

RickB-Astoria

Honestly, to park it in some computer database that a SINGLE computer from 1997 could do.... and electronically transmit them to the various boards should be on $15 a year for parking the database and maybe $1 to maybe $2.50 to transmit it. Oh, how hard is it for someone to click "FETCH" and they receive their bone.

t a z

The engineering equivalent is much less of a racket.  It does really act as a neutral database.

https://ncees.org/records/

Transmitting your Record

Transmittals are requested through your MyNCEES account and take approximately two to three days to process. Your Record will be reviewed each time it is transmitted to ensure that everything is current.

Fees

There is no charge to complete the application process and no annual renewal fee.

Fees are charged each time you transmit your Record to a state licensing board.

First transmittal—$175
All subsequent transmittals—$75 each

thisisnotmyname

It would be amusing if NCEES (engineers) or CIDQ (interior designers) would offer to handle records services for architects at their current rates, a fraction of what NCARB charges. Both organizations appear to have the staff and technology in place to do so.

Formerlyunknown

Transmitting within a few days would be unfathonable to NCARB. They periodically brag about getting more efficient, but many of us went through IDP in the era when they were charging an extra $400 "rush fee" for processing your record within A YEAR! (Yes this is true and not an exaggeration!) so the "improvement" bar isn't set high. NCARB staff always seem surprised to hear that we have any need for them to act quickly, as if we should have known we'd get an opportunity for a project 5 states away from an old acquaintance, so should have lined up that Oklahoma license a long time ago rather than wait until the "last minute" and expect them to be able to hit the send button in under a month.

Chad Miller

Oh, and you won't be making $60k when you finish your masters.  It will be dependent on the area you live in but in Denver, CO for example a first year intern makes around $38k a year (with a BA or MA).  

Feb 11, 20 7:25 pm
code

getting supervisors to sign off can be a challenge. Then there is the tests. also, when going to the test center, be sure to show them REAL ID, or they won't let you sit for test 

Feb 11, 20 8:23 pm
midlander

If you feel bitter now, wait until you have to prove to clients that you're aspirations are worth their time and money. And then prove to cities it's proper and acceptable to build it!

This career might not suit you as much as you think. It's 85% about managing bureaucratic procedures to get things done and demonstrate your competence at doing it. Getting your license is a long, challenging slog, but it isn't the hardest part.

Feb 11, 20 8:43 pm
code

This career might not suit you as much as you think. It's 85% about managing bureaucratic procedures to get things done and demonstrate your competence at doing it. Getting your license is a long, challenging slog, but it isn't the hardest part.

IOW, if you don't want to do what it takes, then get out, this ain't no place for lightweights who don't pack the right gear

Feb 12, 20 12:03 pm
archi_dude

The salary isnt related to your title it's related to your value. A masters in architecture i.e. a masters in reinventing floor plan layouts with zero knowledge of codes, cost implications and constructability basically means your value = renderer. Rethink what college is getting you and choose your masters accordingly or skip altogether. There are multiple paths to life's objectives but choosing the easiest one is not the most rewarded.

Feb 12, 20 5:51 pm
OneLostArchitect

no it’s sheer laziness. 

Feb 13, 20 6:21 pm
Chad Miller

It could be the common low pay, long hours, and shitty firm management that are driving interns away from pursuing their architectural license.

archinine
It’s a barrier to entry on purpose to limit the number of people practicing in the field to those who meet minimum requirements. This is also a justifiable safety measure since buildings can be and in many cases are hazardous. Wages would be even lower if licensing wasn’t in place. That said like most barriers to entry in any field it’s skewed toward those who are born more well off / have some sort of way in via nepotism.
Feb 14, 20 12:07 pm
thisisnotmyname

It looks like the OP is living out one of the problems with 4-year and unaccredited architecture degrees:  it is not always made clear to persons entering the programs how limiting these kinds of degrees are if you are interested in practicing in the USA upon competing the program.  At my undergrad and grad schools, the 4 year degrees were only there for people who wanted to quit and not do the full 5 years for the BArch.

Feb 14, 20 12:36 pm

If anything, their looking at NCARB is 4 years too late. If they had found NCARB before applying for the degree program they would have had the information that NCARB has about looking for a NAAB-accredited program. 

The OP's beef should be with the school ... not NCARB. By comparison, I had no idea what NCARB did until probably the third or fourth year into my non-accredited B.S.Arch degree. But the school was straightforward in saying that if you want to get a degree that would allow you to get licensed as an architect, you needed to do their 4+2, NAAB-accredited M.Arch program.

RickB-Astoria

In the past before the push for NAAB accredited degrees (obviously after 1940)... while there were 5 year architecture degrees (before NAAB) but in those days (example 1919 to 1940), there was no requirement for NAAB accredited degrees because NAAB didn't exist. Most if not all states recognized 4 year architecture degrees and 5 year architecture degree. The difference was that with a 4 year architecture degree, you needed one more year of experience. For example, if your state licensing requirement was a minimum of 8 years of education and experience, you needed a minimum of 3 years of experience with a 5 year architecture degree. If you had a 4 year degree, you need 4 years experience. 

If you had a 3 YEAR architectural education (which existed in the U.S. in those ancient days), you needed 5 years of experience. These are examples within the context of 8 years but the point held true even for states with longer education/experience requirements like 10 years or 12 years. In the beginning, they didn't penalize people for not getting an 5 year architecture degree (now NAAB accredited). So if you had only a 2 year associates - (you only needed say 6 years out of 8 years education/experience requirements). 

In states with bigger requirements the method approach was the same. If your degree was architecture then the credit given was 1 year of the education/experience requirement for each year of the degree program. If your state required 10 years, then the experience required would be what remained of the degree based on 45-quarter credits per year or equivalent semester credit per year. So a typical 90 quarter credit associates degree would be TWO years. Subtract the total required by TWO and that which remains is the required experience working for an architect. It was literally that simple. None of this crap where if you get an NAAB accredited degree then you only need to complete the required experience of 2 or 3 years of the approved experience (now, AXP) and 5 year credit for the architectural education and that's just 7 or 8 YEARS (if you get AXP completed in optimal time) but if you are high school diploma only, you have to have like 9-15 years of experience assuming AXP included. So it is about doubled the duration in a case than someone with an NAAB accredited degree. Justification made are dubious. 

NCARB is a cabal of state licensing boards plus an staff to manage the day to day operations of NCARB's services that are operated in-house. NCARB goes back to 1919. It isn't necessarily "NCARB" but the architectural profession that has a track record of trying to influence the licensing requirements to stifle competition and limit number of people who are licensed so as to regulate through any means and method possible under law to do so. If they feel the supply of architects are increasing too much then they may try to influence the requirements by increasing the requirements especially when legislative and/or governor leans towards increasing regulations versus deregulation. Politics at play of course. That was how some of the requirements were pushed and made to happen.

RickB-Astoria

E_A, you are right. In fact, when they are in high school or whatever, they should be looking at architectural licensing requirements and the career coaches or academic advisors should have that information as this is nothing particularly new for the architectural field. In 100 YEARS plus of NCARB, it is amazing that career coaches don't have such information nor that it is outright in the pamphlets about NCARB, NAAB, and common requirements for licensure. While they may have caveat statements like "Some states may have alternative paths to licensure" and that students seeking eventual licensure in those states should consult the licensing board of that state or whatever. However, what is universally common requirement for all states is a NAAB accredited architecture degree and completing AXP (and some may require more than the minimum required number of hours / years to experience than AXP) and passing the ARE exam. 

In other words, make aware to students that for licensing in any specific state, they should consult and check the specific requirements from the state's architectural licensing board/authority. If this information is consistently made available to students coming into or applying to the program even in career counseling resources, it would be great. I am sure some do this better more or less than others. 

Architectural licensing rigor is there for a reason but among them is assurance that there is a basic level of competency through education/experience and through exam testing that a person has some base level of knowledge and some experience. If experience hours are honestly reported, there should be some degree of experience and skill competency. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean a person is ready for independent practice but they may be competent to stamp/seal documents within the environment of a firm with experience architects there also checking the work as well so it isn't just your pair of eyes. 

As you get more experience and demonstrated ability to handle such projects without them having to check your work because if you work independently like starting your own practice, you won't have those extra eyes. It's all on you. There is a need for rigor for safety of the public. Sometimes, architects are culturally driven to try to make designs that are stretching the limit of engineering and thus riskier designs. There are also more conservative practices as well which are less risky.

RickB-Astoria

Now this is a shitpost:


code

it's like a Navy SEAL obstacle course and hell week. You can't be SEAL unless you prevail. The same with Architecture and ARE

Feb 14, 20 4:51 pm
JawkneeMusic

it's an inverted morality

Feb 14, 20 6:29 pm
tduds

like, totally, man.

On the fence

Is NCARB pushing away young Architects from obtaining License?

No.  A young person who is already an architect can easily obtain a copy of his/her license.

Feb 18, 20 10:50 am
threeohdoor

Ok Dad.

RickB-Astoria

Probably something the OP messed up on in the title of the thread. First, in the U.S., if you are an architect, you already have the license. If you are not licensed then you are NOT an architect per the statutory law because the title "architect" as it is used in connection with the designing of buildings and the built environment is regulated by state licensing boards. Because of that, you are not an architect PER the laws. We are a country governed by laws and it is the legal definition that matters over any dictionary definition because it is the law that enforced not a dictionary book. The dictionary definition only has legal effect when there isn't a statutory definition or when there is some sort of legal case matter going back to before licensing law and the context at that time when there was no such legal definition like before licensing laws so the common dictionary definition becomes the basis. 

We know what the OP is aspiring to be. That is obvious. We understand the OP's intended meaning. It should be clear that in this country of the U.S., in the context of the profession of designing buildings and the built environment, you have to be licensed to have the architect title. 


Feb 18, 20 2:08 pm

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