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10+ years experience, no architect's license (US)?

157
jodida

Asking mostly those who have been in arch. business for 10+ years and are not licensed (and not actively testing). 

I have been involved in hiring decisions at my firm for years, and with every ad we place for licensed architect (in US), we get at least 50% of resumes of non-licensed people. This year is no exception, but with pandemic economy we are flooded with random resumes. Which is understandable, knowing that people are just trying the chances and applying anywhere they they meet at least some criteria.

The issue that most of non-licensed applicants have a lot of qualifying experience, graduated from accredited schools, but don't have license, even after being in business for long as 15-20 years. Some are indicating that are in process of getting licensed. I know there are lots of great designers who are not licensed, but I don't have place in my team for someone who is not on track to have "RA" or "AIA" after their name for variety of reasons. From my experience, if someone did not get licensed fairly soon after graduation (within 10 years), it will never happen. So, I am tossing otherwise great resumes since I don't want to hire someone who will be a designer/coordinator for life.

Am I missing something? Hit me up with some success stories how someone after 10-20 years of practicing architecture started testing, and was actually successful in passing. Or - why wait for so long? Why limit your own marketability and not take the ARE's?

 
Dec 21, 20 4:10 pm
randomised

Are you licensed yourself?

Dec 21, 20 4:41 pm  · 
2  · 
code

After 12 years, I am taking AREs. I got off to a very very slow and cruel start after the last recession, too many years doing archi-gig work, where the PAs and PMs won't sign your AXP. So now I'm forcing the issue the issue.

 Am I missing something? Hit me up with some success stories how someone after 10-20 years of practicing architecture started testing, and was actually successful in passing

Sounds kind of arrogant, like the PAs and PMs who wouldn't sign my AXP - 

1  · 
jodida

Licensed.

 · 
jodida

Licensed. Would not be asking otherwise.

 · 
jodida

I mentor aspiring architects all the time, and only once had to reject the hours (when someone submitted hours way back when I was not eligible to approve it). Otherwise - if someone worked on tasks and spent the time doing it as claimed, why not approve it? I know it’s hard to get licensed, no need to make it harder to anyone. Zero arrogance here.

 · 
SneakyPete

What you're missing is your reasons for not "hav[ing] place in my team for someone who is not on track to have "RA" or "AIA" after their name"

Answer that and you'll start a discussion. As it is you're complaining.

Dec 21, 20 4:44 pm  · 
5  · 
jodida

Company policies and marketing. There are limited spots we have to non- licensure path folks - mostly CA, behind the scenes design and some other less client facing roles. Many clients want to see licensed staff leading their projects. Developing more client-facing architects gives me more flexibility and market share.

 · 
SneakyPete

Ever consider educating your clients so they don't have unnecessary expectations? Our profession is so stupidly self defeating.

1  · 
jodida

How would you suggest doing that? Many (most I would say) client PMs and execs are themselves either licensed PEs or RAs. This is their standard on judging who is a qualified person to lead their projects. Easier with select established clients - new ones, not a chance. Also, some public entities require even PMs to be licensed in state the project is located, regardless that PM is not signing/sealing.

 · 
SneakyPete

With communication. Licensure is required for the signatory of the documents, and the contract requires all work to be done under their direct supervision. Anything else drives up cost. Tie it to money, efficiency, decency, whatever you like. Just don't do what you're currently doing, which is sit back and accept the status quo without engaging your critical thinking.

 · 
SneakyPete

"some public entities require even PMs to be licensed in state the project is located" Pleas cite your sources. It's a shame the profession is so afraid of competition that they defend their livelihood with regulations and legalese instead of high quality work and additional benefit to the project over their competitors. As the "gentlemen architects" faff about limiting their hiring and arguing about how the young people need to PAY THEIR DUES the developers and GCs are stealing out lunch. And our heads are so firmly up our asses that we don't care.

 · 
jodida

Can’t mention the name of the client who requires PMs to be licensed - think large state
transit authority.

 · 
jodida

Have you ever dealt with large institutional clients, especially if public money is involved? People AE firms face (procurement, PMs, facilities management) at projects or proposals are not the ones to influence that licensure is not necessary. They follow their own org standards.
You can’t even submit a proposal without having core team licensed.

 · 
SneakyPete

The anti-competitive infection is spreading. It's working as intended. Don't question it, simply comply. Don't worry, the license will protect the HSW. Or the codes will. Or something. Don't think too hard, you'll see the cracks. 

 · 
shellarchitect

Funny we architects spend so much time talking about the value an architect brings to clients, but here we are complaining about clients that want to hire an architect? Can’t have it both ways!

 · 
SneakyPete

The value is not from the license. The value comes from from the skills and talents. So yes, one can have it both ways.

 · 
shellarchitect

Right, so how is one to know? tons of people will say they have the proper skills, including various engineers and interior
designers

 · 
JLC-1

jodida? that's a weird nick you chose.

I have 30 years of experience under the belt, got my degree and license in 1994 in another country, before moving here I built 300 tract homes, several university buildings, etc. and I've been working in the US for the last 18 years, first at a Landscape/Urban Design company where the license wasn't an issue, then 12 years ago I started working in this residential only firm, great work, interesting clients, high end finishes, big budgets, etc.. After a couple of years, a friend of mine recommended me to a neighbor, this neighbor told a teacher, another neighbor called, etc. Did 4 or 5 projects for smaller budgets, all got built - but then, 4 years ago, a council candidate got busted for saying he was an architect, when he only had an architecture degree, I got worried - even if I was doing only sfr remodels- and asked NCARB what I needed to do to sit the ARE, their answer was I couldn't at all because my degree was from a non english speaking country and I couldn't get the university to send them a transcript in english. I have now the years to go and do it, but I gave up, the bureaucracy is too much and it's too costly for the ~ 15 years I have left working. 

And you're correct, kids here should get licensed right away even if they don't know anything about architecture or building. It's a pretty sinister system going on.

Dec 21, 20 4:45 pm  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

I take no issue with anything you say except this, and not because I disagree with WHAT you're saying: "kids here should get licensed right away even if they don't know anything about architecture or building"

You're right, but it betrays a fundamental flaw in our licensure and education system. If you can pass the exams knowing fuck-all, then what, pray tell, are the exams testing?

3  · 
JLC-1

well no, they can't sit the are without the experience hours, right? Should say As soon as they can take it. If that changes anything.

 · 
SneakyPete

Yes, they can now take the ARE right out of college with the right degree.

1  · 
rcz1001

SneakyPete, good point. While anyone with the will can learn even outside of formal education everything he or she needs to pass the ARE exams but the exam would need to test that you have that knowledge (and where appropriate....skill). No one should be able to pass the exam if they know fuck nothing about things. It isn't how you learned your knowledge and skills that matters as much that you actually have that knowledge and skill. The point of the exam isn't to test the method of learning knowledge and skills. That's the important thing. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend students taking the exam until they have some competent knowledge and skills covered in the exam. That has more to do with pragmatic and common sense financial reasons.

1  · 
sameolddoctor

There are many who get the hours passed without knowing fuck-all. Al l it takes is a sympathetic mentor

1  · 
rcz1001

Getting the AXP hours is not the same as having the knowledge and skills to pass the ARE exam and even more so..... being competent to practice architecture. In an ideal world, it would correlate but that's not consistently true for all.

 · 
jodida

I totally get that the struggle with foreign degrees. The bureaucracy, the cost to evaluate degree, etc. is not always worth it or possible.

 · 
jodida

Regarding the “kids” sitting for exams - I don’t encourage anyone to jump into it right after school (unless someone really wants it - more power to them), but 3-5 years of experience for most is good point to get started. Few interns that I know tried testing right after school, failed several exams one after another got into mental block of “I can’t do it”, and stopped studying completely. There is a danger there too of losing any confidence in yourself.

 · 
JLC-1

well jodida, you would think a country with free trade agreements with almost everyone in the world would be more free and competitive, but it's no, licensure here is hard protectionism, nothing to do with the wellbeing and safety of the public.

1  · 
JLC-1

architecture education here is bad, because teachers don't practice and vice versa, that's why kids don't know how to pass the exams, they were not taught architecture. Other problem I have a big issue with is the absolute worthlessness of bachelor degrees, you can waste 4 years in veterinary school and then 3 years after you can be an architect, weird.

 · 
RJ87

Academia & the profession are incredibly removed from one another, which is bothersome. The limited CD knowledge of new grads makes the hiring process incredibly frustrating. The firm I'm at has all but stopped hiring new grads outside of photoshop & design work for better or worse. The thought is they'd rather someone else pay for you to learn about construction & they'll hire you 5 years later.

 · 
JLC-1

my experience is completely the opposite, I was taught construction since day 1 and practiced for 2 semesters as credit classes while in school, finished school and worked 3 years before getting my degree and license, a much more comprehensive approach than here in the US.

1  · 
RJ87

I tend to believe that professional practice & construction methods should be taught at a much higher volume in school. Even in Grad school I remember sitting there during crits imagining what would happen to students projects if the foreign concept known as "gravity" was introduced. I've come to peace with it recently by comparing it to doctors who had a few years of residency after school.

1  · 
Wood Guy

I'm not licensed, and have had my own residential design and consulting business for six years, with another ±8 years at a design/build firm before that. Two of the most talented designers I know and have worked with are not licensed and they design very nice, multi-million dollar homes. One is a principal at an award-winning architecture firm. I don't know if you'd call me a success story but there are many talented people doing good, thorough design work without licenses. I have also worked with a lot of not talented, not easy to work with people who led with their license and/or MArch degree but didn't have much to back it up. 

All that said, if I could do it over again I would be licensed by now. I did not have good mentors when I was younger (and probably wouldn't have listened if I had) and got a BS in engineering, then worked as a carpenter for ten years before finding my way to a design office. At around age 35 I tried to go back to school but family health and financial issues got in the way. I was already managing several architects and drafters at that point so there wasn't a financial incentive. I have recently looked into remote masters' degrees but it's hard to justify spending $50K-$100K when it won't increase my earning potential. In my state I could work under a licensed architect for 13 years and then sit for the tests, at age 60. That's not going to happen. So I am a moderately successful, unlicensed designer, charging the same or more than my licensed competitors, in very high demand. 

Dec 21, 20 5:15 pm  · 
7  · 
jodida

Wood Guy, great story - and if you are in mostly residential business, I see where it is not a big need. Appreciate acknowledging that if you could go back, you would get licensed. I guess a quite a
people who chose not to get licensed when it was relatively easy (young, no family obligations to attend) and could turn the clock back, would do it - but don’t want to admit it to themselves.

1  · 

I worked 8 years before starting to take my exams.  Why?  I didn't need to.  I was the firms lead conceptual designer and wasn't signing any drawings. I got to do all the fun conceptual designing for all the fun projects. I was involved  every phase of the projects from Programming through CA and met with clients often.  My firm didn't need me to be licensed and didn't offer any incentive to do so, why would I bother? 

Once I decided to test and  passed my first exam I finished them up quickly (ARE 4.0 , 7 exams, 18 months) as I didn't want to drag out the process.  I passed all but one exam the first go.  

My career hasn't changed much, I'm still involved in every phase of our projects. meet with clients daily,  and do the vast majority of the conceptual design.  I think the only thing that being licensed has afforded me is that I'm more marketable as my resume and work is part of the project team in proposals.  This primarily benefits the firm I work for although I'd estimate that I'm paid about 15% higher than if I wasn't licensed.  

Dec 21, 20 6:48 pm  · 
1  · 
jodida

Chad, exactly! You are more marketable and you are paid more than someone with comparable experience but without credentials. And, I can guarantee that if you were to look for another job, you could land one way quicker than someone without license.

 · 

The thing is your type of thinking ignores the talent of those who aren't licensed. Having credentials doesn't mean you're a good designer.

Any success I've had in this profession is because I'm a good conceptual designer.  Being licensed has had NOTHING to do with that.  A good firm will realize this and look for talent, not just production with credentials. 

My being licensed really benefits the firm I work at because they can use my resume and work in proposals.  

I recommend you look at the careers of a couple of architects who took 12-15 years to become licensed and have very successful careers. 

Bob Borson, FAIA, Life of an Architect, partner at BOKA

David Salmela, FAIA, Owner Salmela Architect

2  · 
jodida

I am not denying that I am losing great talent this way. Very likely I am. I can confidently bring on someone who is good designer and not licensed BUT will be within 1-3 years. The problem that I haven’t seen any success stories of people actually getting thru AREs after 10+ years in industry. 10 years is still fairly young to get licensed (assuming early to mid 30s). Even for someone with 15-20 years exp. not uncommon to have on resume “on track to be licensed in 202x”. This is where I hesitate - has this been on resume forever, without any real effort? Appreciate sharing names of architects who got licensed late - will look it up.

 · 

jodida - One other thing. Being licensed doesn't mean you're paid more. I know of many firms that don't increase you pay with licensure, instead increased pay comes from increased responsibility and contributions to the firm. Becoming licensed for MOST architects doesn't automatically mean that they are taking on more responsibility or contributing more.

I agree that licensure in architecture is very important and something that everyone should strive for if it makes sense for them to do so.  However it seems that many of things you're touting as benefits or licensure are things that non licensed professionals can easily obtain.  

4  · 
SneakyPete

Licensure is frequently (in my personal case, solely) rewarded with a single time bonus. Yay. I'm sure the management of the firm doesn't take that into account at the end of the year and adjust my performance bonus accordingly. (sarcasm)

1  · 

I received a 10 - 15% raise (I can't recall) and a $3,000 bonus from my firm when I passed my last exam. My firm views the bonus as a way to offset the costs to take the exams and buy study material. The raise is because I can now be used on proposals. Ironically my hourly billing rate did not go up.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

17% raise at the time of licensure for me. Hourly rate went up to the next bracket and our insurance costs get adjusted due to having one more licensed wanker on board. This presumably is because I now immediately know better... which I don't, but that's another story. It does help chasing projects tho since they often care about the no. of archies on the team.

 · 
shellarchitect

I disagree with the idea that licensure doesn’t affect income. There are a lot of very good and talented people w/o a (great examples above) but in general I see advancement within a firm as being very difficult without passing the exams. The Aia’s surveys seem to confirm this. Took me about 5 years to pass (working thru grad school) salary hardly changed in that time. From 60k to 100k
in a little over 5 years

 · 
mightyaa

A guy here has 20+ years of experience and a accredited degree. But he feels sorry for licensed folks... He's in the field doing CA and doing the fun stuff like dangling off high rises, working with tradesmen to create the effect, and gets to wave around in the field to make changes on the fly. He gets to (paraphrasing) "touch and feel architecture" versus draw lines.  And see's us chained to a desk, writing reports, reviewing spreadsheets, scheduling, and meetings. So... he gets to do what he likes and knows if he's licensed, our employers would buy him a comfortable chair and a chain him to a desk.

Dec 21, 20 7:35 pm  · 
3  · 
SneakyPete

Sounds like he knows that his bosses don't really understand that licensure isn't causal to the skills they feel benefit a role that is "chained to a desk, writing reports, reviewing spreadsheets, scheduling, and meetings." It's often not even correlative. But hey, kudos to the CA guy for figuring out the secret sauce.

1  · 
jodida

Mightya, but you could do the same being licensed as well - nobody would chain you to the desk to draw lines and write reports just because you are licensed.

 · 
SneakyPete

You're consistently making arguments for licensure that can equally made for the opposite.

4  · 
atelier nobody

I was taking a leisurely approach to my exams until 2 things coincided: 1) They introduced the 5 year rolling clock and I didn't want to lose the 1 exam I had already passed and 2) I got a new job at a firm that offered a $5,000 bonus for getting licensed. I ended up getting my license about 8-9 years later than I could have if I'd been on the ball.

Dec 21, 20 8:15 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

I got my license just about 3.5 years after defending my M.arch thesis... I still have colleagues of my undergrad days who still, some 12something years later, don't have that title.  I don't understand, why go through the trouble of a professional degree only not to complete licensure?


Dec 21, 20 8:33 pm  · 
 · 
jodida

Non Sequitor, that’s exactly what I am questioning. The only reasons I discovered so far are 1) lack of motivation - why bother, I am good as I am; 2) tired and failed - can’t pass the exams; 3) issues with foreign/non-accredited degree.

 ·  1
Non Sequitur

laziness is also to be considered. Fear of failure is another...

 · 
x-jla

How about greener pastures?

 · 
jodida

Then why are they applying for architect positions, especially when licensure is mentioned as a requirement? There are greener pastures, not everyone follows the same path - but then follow that path. I don’t see how this a reason.

 · 
SneakyPete

Your biases are based on shaky ground. You have failed to adequately say what licensure provides, other than loose and uncommon (not to mention extra-legal) requirements from clients.

3  · 
RJ87

Non Sequitur brought up a good point, I think fear of failure keeps a lot of people from giving the exams a go. When I hear about how long people spend studying for the exams on average it boggles my mind. Schedule an exam, study for a bit, & go give it a shot. Message boards have their drawbacks in that regard, they spread fear.

 · 
sameolddoctor

Perhaps you should choose people based on their portfolios and experience, not just a certificate.

Dec 22, 20 12:00 am  · 
6  · 
SneakyPete

+++++++++

 · 
jodida

Sameolddoctor, we like it or not, you can’t even call yourself an architect in this country in formal situations without being licensed. One thing if hiring a designer - then hell yes, resume/portfolio is the way to go to evaluate the applicants, screw those letters behind the name. Very different when looking for architect who can grow into leading projects for large (non-residential) cl
ients - then licensure is expected as a validity of competence, even if the person is not the one signing/sealing the documents.

 · 
SneakyPete

Always tow the line. Never question. Do what you're told. Never hire unlicensed people. Assume the licensure requirements are in the publics best interest and not the few male professionals who lobbied for it to keep out competitors who they didn't like. Always. DO NOT QUESTION.

2  · 
jodida

SneakyPete, I hire non-licensed people too when this is what is needed for the team:

 · 
jodida

*if this is what is needed for the team/projects. I think I already explained that there are roles when it is needed.

 · 
SneakyPete

Are there, though? Your reasons were circular.

1  · 
jodida

When I need to fill client- facing role, and the client organization requires licensure. (or?with future potential being client facing).This is when I look for licensed architects. At least 60% - 70% of resumes I receive for licensed architect’s role are from non-licensed folks, at least 1/2 of them mentioning as being “on track to licensure”.

 · 
SneakyPete

They mention it because there's a fetish for it.

 · 
sameolddoctor

It seems like the clients they have are purely looking for "leaders" that can stamp drawings. If this is the case, go ahead and toss our unlicensed, but great designers in the trash bin. That may indicate the kind of firm you do the hiring for. And if that is the case, unlicensed designers shouldnt even bother wasting the 5 minutes it takes to apply for your firm.

1  · 
jodida

There is no problem whatsoever finding designers and hiring them. Plenty to chose, and they have their own place. This is not a thread about why great designers are less valued when licensed architects. These are different shoes to fill in most firms - at least bigger ones.

 · 
SneakyPete

All architects are designers. Not all designers are architects. If your firm uses the silo method to force individuals into roles based on labels, certifications, software preferences, licenses, or anything else other than skills for the task then you are, in my opinion, doing it wrong.

 · 
sameolddoctor

When you say that the "Architect" role implies bigger shoes than the Designer role at your firm, it kinda implies that you are more interested in paper-pushing from your senior staff than actual design.

1  · 

Hey Fucked Up - why do you think that a designer doesn't / couldn't have 'big shoes to fill'? I know of at least half a dozen managing partners who are not an architect and I've only worked for five firms over a 15 year career.

2  · 
jodida

It’s not the firm, it’s the market that puts people in different roles. Architect with similar qualities will be paid more than a designer - in most firms at least, and it should be, for putting up with years of lost weekends spent studying instead of doing something else.

1  ·  1
sameolddoctor

Yes, and its firms like yours and people like you that propagate the myth that designers who have spent their weekends "doing something else" other than studying should be paid less. Hate to break your bubble, but I have met more licensed architects who didnt know the first thing about design, as all they did was paper push, and stamp other's drawings. Getting licensed, unfortunately does not equate to any real life experience in getting good architecture built.

2  · 
SneakyPete

Sounds to me like you've internalized the "how it is" without considering "why?" or "how it could be."

1  · 

Fucked up - it is the firm you work for.

2  · 
shellarchitect

Unfortunately I agree with the OP, my firm has had several large clients ask specifically that their point of contact be a licensed architect either during interviews or shortly after. We have a couple PMs who are very good, but are limited by not being licensed

 · 
t a z

Serious question:  Isn't there like an NCARB report on this issue or something?  Aggregating data is what they get paid to do (or, it's what they seem to spend money doing...).

The previous sequence of 9 exam divisions was onerous and (if not reimbursed by your employer) expensive. The transition period from 9 to 6 exams was officially 2016 to 2020 and presumably the new 6 exam era should lower the barrier to licensure.

Also, firm culture can be a part of encouraging licensure within an organization: Explicit license requirement for promotion, paid time for testing, reimbursement of exam and licensing fees.  Usually, depending on size of firm the type of work, more licensed professionals can reduce E&O premiums so there is a financial ROI.

Dec 22, 20 10:59 am  · 
 · 
Bench

Our firm does this. Frankly we appear to be one of the best for encouraging people to get their license (as opposed to some friends from school who don't appear to get much of any support). Extensive study resources, paid time off for testing, and all exam costs covered. Bonus at the end too!


 · 
torr

Go to the ARE facebook page and join.  You will see many people tell stories about how they passed the exam after 10 to 20 years of working.  It happens and their's a lot of them.  

Our industry has a low license rate because it is not required to practice as an employee.  Lawyers and Doctors have to pass boards just to start working.  Lawyers get a short amount of time to pass after they graduate and if you don't pass you can't work.  Accountants and financial professionals have a similar licensing rate as Architects.

If you look at Gensler, their are many principals who are not registered and are now grandfathered in.  Most corporate companies now require registration to move up.  10 to 15 years ago, it was less important. I had a Gensler principal tell me they didn't care about licensure.

I may not ever do it because I don't want to lose 5 years to studying everyday.  I rather enjoy life and my family.  If I get paid less, so be it.

Dec 22, 20 11:49 am  · 
4  · 
thisisnotmyname

For every one firm where licensure doesn't matter, there are many, many more where it does. If you ever have to go looking for a new job, it can be a real problem.

2  · 
shellarchitect

Very much agree!

 · 

This thread seems pretty jodida, as does this employer. The lack of licensure of those 10+ years in the profession is probably because those people barely survived the last recession with the shirt on their backs and found that licensure did nothing to ensure those with it kept their jobs compared to those without it. That's a bigger issue than this thread will address though.

Best approach for you, jodida, is to advocate that your employer incentivizes new hires on a more management track to become licensed. If you're not already doing it, guarantee a bonus upon licensure, pay for exams, offer time off to study for exams, provide support and other resources for those studying for exams, link promotions to licensure, link titles to licensure, etc. Those things shouldn't be necessary for someone, but they sure emphasize that you as an employer are serious about making sure your staff is licensed. 

Dec 22, 20 1:33 pm  · 
4  · 
JLC-1

Hahaha, she never answered me, I knew the meaning right away as a spanish native.

2  · 
jodida

Plenty of incentives in my firm for young architects to get licensed - paid exams, paid study materials, bonus and raise at the end. No problem there getting with motivating interns to study and take exams.
It’s the older/more experienced folks who seemed to have this gap. Your point about recessions is actually spot on - I didn’t about that.

 · 
code

As I've said, it took 6 years to get back to where I was before the recession. 6 years of low pay, long hours, discouragement as a gig. I was signed up to take tests, then Covid came and closed the testing center in San Francisco. The problem I have now, is convincing a PM, or PA that I have the potential. I have 10 years of Design experience. - the one thing I'm not doing is giving up on taking ARE exams. Many people here on this forum have advised me to give up. Not going to happen. 

1  · 
SneakyPete

Just wait til you only have the CSE left and you'd be licensed in every other state save one.

 · 

What's stopping you from interviewing one of the impressive resumes and saying we need you to be licensed within "x" years and see what they say? Then when you hire them, follow up in (x/2) years and see where there at and adjust accordingly. I bet plenty of those 10+ years experience people would pass just fine if they were told it was a condition of employment.

1  · 
mightyaa

The hard part if you are non-licensed with a lot of experience is getting past the initial short list of candidates. Often, this is done by an office manager type screening the general email and mail who decides what gets passed along, and what gets trashed. Many resumes don't make it past this point if they don't think you are a valid candidate. So they only forward those that meet the minimum requirements and/or impressive resumes they believe their bosses should see.

 · 
SneakyPete

Yeah, dumb policies with no nuance.

 · 

mightyaa, I agree with you but in this case it seems like jodida is seeing plenty of resumes that got past the screening process (or maybe jodida is part of the screening process) with well-qualified people ... except that they aren't licensed. 

My comment is more specific to their situation as wanting people with the experience but not finding them in the resumes. So in my opinion, one of the easy solutions is to bring in an unlicensed, but otherwise qualified candidate, and let them know that a condition of their continued employment past "x" months or years is that they become licensed. 

Firms do it all the time with LEED credentials ... why not do it for licensure too? Jodida's excuses as to why they are looking for licensed individuals are pretty much the same when it comes to those firms indicating why they want all their staff to be LEED credentialed.

1  · 
Superfluous Squirrel

Looks like the system is working as intended. More job opportunites and higher salaries for people willing to put up with the bullshit of getting licensed.

Dec 22, 20 3:35 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

Right up until the profession starves for lack of enough bodies to push papers and the developers and design builders take over completely.

3  · 

SS - Yeah because the profession is swimming in numerous, high paying job offers.

2  · 
flatroof

If you are licensed and your name isn't on the door you'd probably get a bigger pay increase by leaving the profession all together.

Dec 22, 20 6:13 pm  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

We hear this all the time but at least based on my own salary and benefits, I'm not sure that's true (or at least not as easy as people would like to believe). For example, two industries that should pay better are development and construction - but why wouldn't firms just hire people with more education and relevant experience in those industries?

1  · 
SneakyPete

"For example, two industries that should pay better are development and construction - but why wouldn't firms just hire people with more education and relevant experience in those industries?"

And probably get a better attitude in the deal, too. Without all the entitlement and expectations that come along with A LICENSE.

 · 

Anyone else find it odd that the OP is involved in hiring decisions at a firm yet is so incredibly unprofessional to have their screen name 'Fucked Up' and foolish to think people wouldn't notice because it's in another language.  


Dec 22, 20 6:37 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

Not really. It takes all kinds.

 · 
jodida

I am not a Spanish speaker nor checked what a completely random letter combination means in other languages. Will change it! Big deal. Like there
are no weird screen names here already.

 · 
SneakyPete

I understand. I originally chose the random letters f-u-c-k, but someone told me it meant something.

1  · 
Wood Guy

*SnarkyPete

2  · 
SneakyPete

Gotta stay on-brand.

1  · 
randomised

TIL what jodida means...

1  · 

jodida - I find it hard to believe that you just happened to combine random letters to exactly create the Spanish insult 'fucked up' as your username.

No you just appear dishonest in addition to unprofessional.  Not a good combination. 


 · 
Wood Guy

I have a friend named Jo (JoEllen) and I can see the outside chance that a screen name could start as, "Jo did a thing..." but it's definitely a stretch. Dishonesty doesn't look good on anyone.

 · 
JLC-1

I have no license, Big Deal!

1  · 
Non Sequitur

Chad, my screen name is also in another language but then again, I don't remember the last time I microwaved a burrito. That might also be why I can't stand watching baseball on tv.

 · 
square.

i'm never surprised at what rises to the top in architecture firms

2  · 

In my limited experience people like the OP are successful for a few years then they can't escape their reputation. I've never seen a dishonest person successfully run a firm.

 · 
shellarchitect

I can help with that... was told once never to trust anything the ceo said in a room without other people

 · 
randomised

For some it might be tough to combine a fulltime job with perhaps buying/fixing a place, starting a family or looking after parents that require specific care, etc. AND prepping for licensure on top of that...I am licensed in the Netherlands but can imagine it next to impossible getting a license, like how the process works in the US, in my current situation.

Dec 22, 20 7:47 pm  · 
2  · 
rcz1001

sequentialize and prioritize.

 · 
randomised

Care to elaborate on that?

 · 
rcz1001

No. People here should be intelligent and mature enough to figure out what I meant and how they can apply it to their situation. You are a big boy, you should be able to figure it out.

 ·  1
randomised

You’re talking about sequentialising and prioritising but are not licensed yourself after I don’t even want to know how many years, “do as I say, don’t do as I do”?

1  · 
rcz1001

I know people who did. They did put into sequence some of the steps (life and career goals) and they prioritize what they wanted to achieve.

 · 
randomised

I know people too! Not that I care, anyone has their reasons to (not) be licensed, who am I to judge (“Life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans”) but after your snark, what did you put into sequence and prioritise to not get licensed?

 · 
rcz1001

Don't conflate my life and reasons of not getting licensed yet with those who did get licensed and I was talking about those who DID get licensed and they did sequentialized and prioritize as appropriate to the circumstances of their own life.

 · 
randomised

All I asked was, and I quote: "Care to elaborate on that?" Could've prevented yourself a lot of unnecessary typing...FWIW also many people that DID NOT get licensed (yet) sequentialise and prioritise as appropriate to the circumstances of their own life.

 · 
rcz1001

I wasn't speaking about non-licensed persons. While that may be true but the point is WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU THE MOST.

 · 
rcz1001

If you want to achieve a goal, you may need to sequentialise some things in life and put them in an orderly fashion so you can focus and put the necessary energy and committment. If you got too many things on your plate.... you are likely to be trying to chase too many different goals at the same time and not have time and energy to do all of them and fall short of achieving the goal and other life goals. Get it? Some unlicensed persons have chosen that re-evaluate the importance of certain goals and prioritize. Is raising a family more important to them than licensure? Is licensure more important and having children is not and can that wait? These are the kinds of questions they may have to wrestle with. That's the point of the ambiguity because I'm not trying to fit everything into tight defined boxes.

 · 
randomised

So your goal is not to get licensed? That’s perfectly okay, you don’t need to justify your actions or lack thereof to me. You just be you, life is what happens while you’re busy sequentialising and prioritising.

 · 
rcz1001

As for myself, I am at a point that I am not that concerned about the licensure status. If some day it happens, fine. However, I'm authorized to take the ARE exam divisions in a state and after NCARB goes through the cut score process and irons out some of the issues with the exam being deployed via remote proctoring, I'll probably be tackling it division by division. Right now, it's Christmas and New Years, I can take my mind off the exam long enough to still give a shit about these things that are part of life outside that isn't particularly about the ARE or the exams. 

If you are a principal of a firm then you (collectively) have the ultimate authority over hiring practices and what you will accept as qualifications. If a person that is not licensed is qualified for the work you will want and need them to do then hire them. If licensure is important, treat it like those certifications/credentials and certainly certain job positions may have responsibilities where a license is required but not all job positions require it so be more flexible.

I see more problems of unlicensed persons without an NAAB accredited degree getting a job at an architecture firm for positions in the architectural staff but these barriers are more prevalent with firms with HR staff that approaches pre-screening with a checklist approach where NAAB accredited degree being in the mandatory. What about someone who worked 20-30 years designing buildings but doesn't have an NAAB accredited degree? Is the pre-screening process flexible enough to take in consideration different possible pathways and the person as a whole? If they pass the ARE without an NAAB accredited degree, should firms be too rigid to even consider the person for any position? I hope not. It can be competitive but it should not be too rigid and some firms' practices are. Maybe you don't apply.

In my opinion, if a degree is not absolutely mandatory for the job position, then it should be listed as "a plus" or something that is desired but not required. If a license is not absolutely required for the position, then don't list the job position as such. List the license as an architect as a desirable thing to have and can result in a higher pay level than someone who doesn't. Sure, things can be worded better and protect the firm but it goes with the territory of negotiation. 


Dec 24, 20 9:39 pm  · 
 · 
BulgarBlogger

you know what we call 10+ years with no license in my profession? A loser. Get out. You have no business being in my profession you lazy bum! 

Dec 26, 20 10:58 pm  · 
 · 
threadkilla

.

1  · 
rcz1001

WTF is wrong with you BB?

 · 
code

BulgarBlogger - and we call people like you, arrogant

Dec 26, 20 11:36 pm  · 
 · 
shellarchitect

Think that was sarcasm

 · 
BulgarBlogger

Seriously- anyone who is not licensed by their 10th year is either incompetent, lazy, or simply has no desire. In either case, they have no BUSINESS staying in the field. And gee- they even made the exams less in quantity and easier. So there is no excuse.

 · 
SneakyPete

What a sadly reductive point of view.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

The only thing less pathetic is an Architect going through the trouble and then becoming an interior designer with no understanding of how shit gets built.

 · 
SneakyPete

The only thing more pathetic is a person who fancies themselves deep of thought yet can't invent more than two hackneyed examples to justify his preconceived assumptions.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

Actually it’s calle experience in the most diverse place on earth- NYC.

 · 

You're not that good at trolling BB - try harder.

 · 
x-jla

NYC is not the most diverse place on earth. It’s 99.9% apartment remodels and TIs, and 0.01% new construction by foreign starchitects.

2  · 
x-jla

Basically^ interior designers

 · 
x-jla

Which probably explains why BB likes to pick in IDs...they are his competition

 · 
Non Sequitur

My office has a senior equity partner who never bothered with licensing. He
many licensed arch with same years of experience to

 · 

Experience isn't everything.

**Remembers the time I embarrassed a NYC architect who our client hired to do a 3rd-party review of the curtainwall for their building ... reading in that case was more important than experience (i.e. "we had an issue once and came up with some unnecessary stuff to 'fix' it.")** 

 · 
Non Sequitur

To shame. Damn phone.

 · 
rcz1001

"Seriously- anyone who is not licensed by their 10th year is either incompetent, lazy, or simply has no desire. In either case, they have no BUSINESS staying in the field. And gee- they even made the exams less in quantity and easier. So there is no excuse." 

Answer to my question to BB: A LOT!

 · 
code

BulgarBlogger - 1/2 of the PMs I've worked for, have your point of view - just like the Air Force, up or out

Dec 27, 20 10:13 pm  · 
 · 
midlander

which half of the PMs had better performance, financially and in built quality?

 · 
code

not the individual PMs, but rather the firm. high profile offices that I've worked at push for licensure or layoff.

 · 
joseffischer

Graduated undergrad in 06, licensure in 17, so I guess I count.  

went to Gatech, couldn't wait to leave, almost quit, doubled up on studios so I could finish early.
worked for 3 years, work was drying up and they kept using my lack of ability to get licensed as a ceiling in that last year, so I went back to grad school (along with half the nation it seemed) thought it was just going to be a hoop to jump through, but again, it sucked
graduated to no work, or little work, and a shitty portfolio to show for it.  Didn't even feel confident to try to find a regular job.  Started flipping houses and doing residential stuff for design/build people.  
Went to work for a consultant company doing bean counter type tasks, document reviews, property condition assessments, and field reports (really focusing on the payapp mostly) for bank clients involving construction loans.  
Finally went back to a traditional arch firm because I missed it.  Definitely not known for their design (neither was I), technically had a portfolio but mostly focused on my construction knowledge. 

I finally went back to get licensed because I wasn't commanding the PM role or salary even though I was doing the job.  My first annual review it came up, and I told them that on my second annual review I'd be licensed.  tests took a bit over 2 months (one a week after some studying)  After passing the first one I basically said "I'll just keep taking them until I fail, then I'll go back and study harder" and well, didn't need to go back.  

TL:DR I should have done things sooner, I've forced myself to get in gear only when my employer said I couldn't move further without it.  If you want to take a nonlicensed person and make them licensed, demand they do so as part of company time.

Dec 28, 20 1:02 pm  · 
3  · 

Great story! I do think we tend to overthink things when it comes to studying for, and taking the tests. I think it really comes down to two things: 1) the cost of the exam means some can't afford to schedule them in quick succession or eat the cost of a failed test, and 2) we don't feel prepared for them from school and/or early work experiences.

1  · 

That was one of the things that surprised me. I believe that it takes most people around 4 years to gain all of the IDP hours to test. Those IDP hours where not enough to provide the knowledge to help me pass the ARE. Without those extra years of experience I doubt I would of passed the exams so quickly once I decided to take them.

 · 
joseffischer

Everyday Architect... 1) the cost definitely kept me away... I should also say that as long as I passed, the arch firm I was working for paid for the tests. I did allocate "this is my failing money" before starting, and luckily didn't have to use it

 · 
RJ87

I went with the same strategy. Study for a week / week & a half then go take the exams. My thought was if I failed one I would just look at it as a $235 practice exam & study more the next go around. I took my first exam about 6 months after graduating & then one every few months after that when my calendar allowed for it. I tended to agonize over what day to actually take my exams. Then i'd tell everyone I talked to what day they were on so that I wouldn't reschedule them over & over. I knew I wouldn't start studying until I had an "oh shit my exam is in a week or two" moment. In my opinion if I studied for months like you read about on some forums I would have burnt myself out & been worse off. I just shut everything down outside of work for my time studying. I think an advantage of taking them early was that I didn't have any real obligations outside of work apart from planning a wedding.

 · 
code

Joke or not, and behind the joke, the joke is on those who have 10+ years exp. no license - we're in a recession, worse than 09', and those with 10 years exp and no license are getting laid off. Why pay someone the big bux, when you can get a fresh grad to the same work, or outsource to Corbis or other South American or Russian firms to do the same or better work for less?

Dec 28, 20 2:29 pm  · 
 · 
JLC-1

not true at all in colorado, maybe in the coasts

 · 

You really can't think that someone with ten years experience (regardless of licensure) is doing the same type and quality of work as a fresh graduate.

3  · 
randomised

unless of course you've been stuck doing the same kind of job for all those years seeing everyone that comes in move upwards and onwards, must be tough...

2  · 
BulgarBlogger

Lol. I literally tripled my salary this year. I’m in my mid thirties. Making 150k

4  · 
shellarchitect

You
were at only 50k before??? Principling has has been good for you!

 · 
SneakyPete

Probably not so good for the staff, though, based on comments in this discussion.

 · 
code

Not my position. But rather the position of many, just like in 09'

Dec 28, 20 5:40 pm  · 
 · 
shellarchitect

good reason to pass the tests, makes getting a new job much easier

Dec 28, 20 7:50 pm  · 
4  · 
home_alone

A guy in my office just got licensed. He is by far the least skilled person in the firm. He has no common sense and I will take a junior over him any day of the week. Now he wants a big raise and likely to get fired..


I’m licensed and believe in it but don’t give it much weight other than it says a tiny tiny bit about work ethic if I’m interviewing someone. 

Jan 2, 21 9:54 pm  · 
 · 
atelier nobody

I worked for a couple years as a plan checker, so I had the opportunity to look at the quality of a LOT of CDs. I saw excellent and terrible CDs from licensed architects and from unlicensed designers. If there was any correlation between being licensed and higher quality work, it wasn't a very strong correlation. (This of course applied almost entirely to residential work, since unlicensed designers are pretty limited in what they can do on commercial projects.)

 · 

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