Architects not competent enough to be professional enough, so forced CE ?


The states have decided you/us architects are not able to keep up with the things the state thinks we need to know, so they have decided to regulate it for us ?

We are incapable of keeping up,  without it being regulated ?

Keeping up with codes, the latest construction requirements, and specialized design requirements, etc, is not enough ?

In fact, in CA they decided you need the same ADA course, every license renewal, because a lawyer was suing the state and this was one for the requirements getting him off their back ?

And it seems the AIA agrees with the states, and maybe all the other architect members, because its all about the money and selling courses ?

So much for individual initiative, freedom, and capitalism ?

Any ideas on how to fight it (unless you like being regulated like a nitwit) ?

Some additional discussion on the subject at

May 10, 13 9:06 pm

Some people don't / won't do it unless you regulate it.  I know of one guy, a rainmaker, who begrudgingly does any of this CE and AIA stuff (though he does it) because his personal assistant was on his ass.  I'm sure that at least 10% of the licensed architects I know would slack off if this stuff wasn't to be submitted with your renewal and subject to audit by the state boards.  Again, like in another thread, this is where a good firm steps in and pays for the continuing education to make sure their licensed staff members are in compliance.

May 10, 13 9:18 pm

Your very correct, we are regulated as if we equal the lowest common (10% ? ) denominator.

And a 'good firm' probably has an employee to take the courses for their 'licensed' bosses !

Guess I just dont want to waste my, sole proprietor, time and money doing what some (10% ? ) dont want do do, and what doenst necessarily make sense for me to do ?

But ovbviously I dont know how to make sense, and I guess when they come out with the regulator chip implant, I will retire to what ever level doesnt need one  :)

May 10, 13 9:43 pm

sure why not... I'd be totally fine if they set a 'minimum wage rate' for architects also.  Do they really expect some of us to do all this while getting paid McDonald's wages

May 10, 13 10:39 pm

And while the regulators (probably the same ones who write regs for architects) are at it, they can require all married couples to renew marriages annually, and each time to take required CE for raising children (because there are some who abuse their children), whether they intend to have any or not ?

And btw, Im sure those 10% licensed (slacker) architects are going to be much better at their business after taking those courses prescribed by government regulators and being in 'compliance' !

May 11, 13 12:15 am

Around here contractors need credits to keep their license. This consists of paying a fee to attend various marketing seminars where building component manufacturers pitch their products.

Captive audience sponsored direct marketing. Nothing at all to do with good building practice, safety, understanding the code, etc.

As for architects, the measure of a "good" one is often not by what he designs but by how adept he is at navigating the regulatory bureaucracy. NYS energy code can be satisfied in several ways, all of which require some calculations on the part of the architect. I have yet to see a building official who checked or even understood those calcs.

May 11, 13 12:30 am

For architects, not contractors yet, WA state has a great list at , part of which says...

"To maintain your practice, you must complete 24 professional development hours (PDH) within your 2-year license period.
What’s allowed as professional development hours.
As of July 1, 2013, you may be audited by the board to confirm the professional development hours you’ve completed.
Below are examples of allowed professional development activities and hours. At least 16 PDH must address public health, safety, and welfare."

...and the last part is basically what bldg codes are about.

So, guess we (architects) arent intelligent enough to ourselves understand the bldg codes, and therefore we need the state to tell us we need to take special ed (tic) courses... and be audited, just to make sure we are wasting our time ?

Well, at least there is government regulatory agency job growth and job security ?

Wait !  Whos regulating them ?

May 11, 13 12:52 am
All professionals have to do some sort of ce to keep their licenses
May 11, 13 10:40 am
Keep complaining if you like, but CE's not going to go away. There are architects in practice who wouldn't keep up with materials, codes, or the construction industry if their license weren't on the line.

An emphatic YES: we are regulated based on the lowest common denominator. Why would it be otherwise?

If there is a licensing body - and I can't imagine a scenario where there wouldn't be - they have a burden of verification that their charges have met some measure of competency.

It's really not a huge burden. If you do it conscientiously, it can make you better at what you do. That means taking responsibility for what you want your CE to include.
May 11, 13 11:13 am

I never understood why in some states you must do the ADA training, and not Fire/Life/Safety training. Seems a few grab bars, handrails, truncated domes will save more lives than safety in design. How many times have you seen unsafe "designed" conditions, rather than the extension of the ramp handrail an extra 1.5" as measured to the "inside" of the beginning of the radius bend? Makes no sense, so it must be lobbyists representing some large training centers...  It is odd however, that in California they state that they cannot approve any specific instructor, thus what "truly" qualifies?

May 11, 13 11:31 am

Legislating for the least common denominator is a race to the bottom. It doesn't assure competence or prevent incompetence. All it really does is generate another regulatory revenue stream and marketing opportunity.

When the local building department stamps "NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERSIGHTS OR OMISSIONS", compliance is wholly dependent upon the integrity and professionalism of the architect, which is of course never challenged (except by a client's lawyers).

CE as imposed by authority is no substitute for being professional, staying abreast of developments within your field and learning from everything you do.

May 11, 13 11:40 am

CE is purely a cash flow scam for the state and AIA. It serves no purpose other than that, but is lucrative enough for them that they will never agitate against it.

May 11, 13 1:49 pm
wurdan freo

CE is a joke. The liability that comes with a professional license should be enough to scare those who hold it to keep up with their education. If not they will lose through civil or criminal court. CE is over regulation at its best. A feel good measure for bureaucrats. My state does not even require a license to be a car mechanic. I could legally work on cars that upon completion are loosed upon the public at high speed and of extreme weight, yet, even though an architect has taken years of study, internship and examination to obtain his license, he is not competent enough to continue his education. Joke! Laughable! Someone has it in for architects or architects can't govern themselves or  ???? IDFK...

not to mention - CE courses are usually filled with enough CYA and not enough real world applications to be completely useless.  

May 11, 13 2:40 pm

Hahaha.  More useless regulation. 

May 11, 13 9:06 pm

The aia sucks. 

May 11, 13 9:16 pm

CE is purely a cash flow scam for the state and AIA. It serves no purpose other than that, but is lucrative enough for them that they will never agitate against it.

Well, yes, there is some truth to that.  It's only as good as the commitment to be CEd.  For that matter, the AIA is all about cash flow, too.  So is NCARB.  Other than the appended initials (AIA) which are snazzier than RA, which no one knows anyway, there is little advantage to belonging.  I believe there was once a time when they had enough of a pool to enable solo practitioners or small practices to buy health insurance as if a group.  I apologize if I'm wrong, but I believe that perk once existed.  Well, there's nothing like that, and hasn't been since at least 2005, when I inquired about it at a booth at the AIA convention.  Also, you know how those professional bureaucrats are hired to run certain agencies, irrespective of the fact that they are not members of that profession?  Well, there was a recent AIA director who joined up and then bailed fairly quickly.  One can only wonder what that was about.  They probably saw the condition of the profession at that time, about 4 years ago, and said "No, thank you," though in a much more diplomatic fashion than that. 

I believe CE is necessary, but we all know the areas in which we are deficient or which we want to know more about.  Unfortunately, because of marketing and commercialization, our choices might be influenced by those efforts.

May 11, 13 9:24 pm

I guess ALL citizens should be required to buy alcohol sensors for their cars*, be required to take 24hrs of CE before they can get a drivers license renewal, take dietary CE b4 they can use a restaurant, be required to carry guns (with CE, of course) for self-defense and the defense of others, ie Utopian regulations, etc... based on the logic below  (ie no more trust, common sense, logic, etc allowed) ?

"An emphatic YES: we are regulated based on the lowest common denominator. Why would it be otherwise?"

Unfortunately (I guess), I can remember when they trusted architects to keep up to date without CE, and actually we did it... or went out of business, or worse ?

Am guessing we still have more lawsuits now, even with the idiotic regulations (which are a big part of why we have them), than we did then ?

And not sure how many deaths, or injuries have occurred because we (or the bldg dept regulators) didnt do our job, but Im not sure we should all pay for them.

Maybe also require CE for all citizens planning to use architects... or maybe for just ALL citizens period ?

* Actually, sounds like its in the works...
...wonder how long b4 the implant chips ?

May 12, 13 6:37 pm

Actually, I'm fine with mandatory continuing education. I find it neither inconvenient nor expensive to accomplish. As an AIA member, I already am only 1-hour shy of my 2013 requirement, achieved at zero cost via free AIA webinars that I typically work in during my lunch hour. The system motivates me to explore topics I probably would not otherwise explore absent the annual CES requirement. AIA does all the record keeping for me and my state board accepts my AIA transcripts.

I really don't see what all the fuss is about.

May 12, 13 10:58 pm

So, it only cost you about $600 per year, plus lunch time ?

"Actually, I'm fine with mandatory continuing education. I find it neither inconvenient nor expensive to accomplish. As an AIA member, I already am only 1-hour shy of my 2013 requirement, achieved at zero cost via free AIA webinars that I typically work in during my lunch..."

May 13, 13 1:28 am


Autism Institute of America

May 13, 13 8:41 am
Exactly, stone. Being involved in AIA -- not just for CE, but because of the programs in which I'd participate anyway -- and then attending other things that enhance both my knowledge AND serve our marketing goals, gaining these credits is seldom additional cost or lost time. It's pretty easy.
May 13, 13 9:34 am

When a member of  the AIA, years ago (and it doesnt appear they have changed much since then) we couldnt get much help for very small firms.
Now with CE, maybe they can help... if you have time to waste and $600 per year dues to spend ?
But as an employee of a larger firm you should do what your boss tells you to do, just like you would/do for the government ?

May 13, 13 10:21 am

As previously indicated, the AIA is probably better for larger firms, just like the government is for larger incomes ?
So the below analogy is probably a bit harsh ?
..."Autism Institute of America"

May 13, 13 11:13 am


You seem to carry around a large chip on your shoulder. Doesn't it make it really hard to function in the real world?

May 13, 13 5:34 pm

what gruen said (even doctors, engineers etc)...

May 13, 13 11:28 pm
Goodness, such histrionics!

It's really not that bad. I agree with stone also. And as someone who dropped out of the AIA then rejoined this year I'm enjoying being involved and getting a lot out of it.
May 14, 13 9:57 am

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: