NYS Arch License - Category I Experience Requirements Question

I passed all of my ARE exams in the spring of 2018, had completed all of my NCARB experience hours, and spent two years interning for a design firm while getting my M.Arch degree. Shortly after graduating school, I went to work for a structural and building envelope engineering consulting firm, where I’ve been since Fall of 2016.

When I applied for initial licensure, NYS notified me that while I had passed my exams and NCARB hours, that all my experience in school didn’t count in their eyes, and that I am only eligible for up to 1 year of Category J experience from my current job because the company is not licensed through NYS to offer architectural services. I’ve since gone on to get my initial licensure in Washington DC, and also received my CPHD certification in 2019.

I plan to stay in NY for the long term, and while I do love my current job and wouldn’t really want to leave, I also want to get my RA license in NY so I could eventually practice here. Does anybody have similar experiences with this? Is there any way I could get those 2 years of additional Category I experience while keeping my current job? Or is my only option to go and work for a NYS licensed architecture firm for 2 years? Any thoughts would be highly appreciated!

May 25, 20 12:45 pm

ryan- i'm licensed in nys. unfortunately the answer to your question is that yes, your only option is to work under a licensed architect practicing architecture. i had a similar experience to yours that prolonged the acquisition of my license, which was part of the reason i was in a hurry to get to an architect's office. to be honest, if you're looking to use your license in new york anyway, it's probably a good idea to get some experience at a traditional practice. if you do love your job though perhaps you could make an arrangement to work part-time else where, but my guess is this would only complicate things.

May 25, 20 1:02 pm  · 

Thank you so much for the prompt response! I had figured this may be the case. I've actually had the conversation already about potentially working elsewhere part-time, but as you anticipated it seemed to complicate things, so the idea got put on hold. I hadn't thought to reach out on here to see what others' experiences with this may have been. What do you think of these other 2 ideas - 1) The owner of my company take on a partner who is a licensed architect in NYS and change the legal business structure of the firm to offer architectural services or 2) as I am licensed in DC, and can get licensed in other states like NJ through reciprocity, could I start my own Sole Proprietorship in one of those states and take on side work? I think number 1 makes sense, as we have other young architecture student graduates in the firm as well who ultimately want to pursue licensure, and would need to meet the experience requirements. Or would I just be doing myself a disservice by not eventually working directly as an employee for an architectural design firm?

May 27, 20 7:12 am  · 

Your first option isn't legal in NY. All partners have to be licensed architects. The only exceptions to this are for companies registered as certain types of foreign corporations. The second option also doesn't usually work, because if you get licensed somewhere else and then apply for reciprocity, NY still evaluates the experience that you earned in NY as if you were using it to apply for initial registration there.

May 27, 20 11:25 am  · 

Thank you for your feedback! I think the first option is legal; NYS's Authorized Practice guidelines note that Architectural Services may be provided by "A partnership, in which all partners are licensed, at least one as an architect. The other partners may be licensed as a professional engineer, landscape architect, or land surveyor" or "A professional service corporation (PSC) ...where each of the shareholders, officers and directors must be licensed in NYS. The four design professions cited above may form a PSC to render those professional services for which the individuals are authorized to provide." Our principal is a licensed Professional Engineer in NYS but not an architect - it seems if he took on a NYS licensed architect as an additional shareholder in the Professional Corporation, that the firm could offer both engineering and architecture services? I understand the best route is to go and work for a licensed architectural design firm, but I think this alternative seems like a viable option? Obviously only if the principal of my firm is actually willing to change the business structure and bring on an additional shareholder.

May 28, 20 7:13 am  · 

Yes, if he's a professional engineer licensed in NY, and he partnered with a NY-licensed architect, and the architect provides architectural services, and you work on those architectural services, then you could get the additional experience that way.

May 28, 20 9:13 am  · 

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