Why Do Other Industries get to Use the Title of 'Architect'?....& we can't.


...yet we who are actually Architects get threatened w/ legal reprisals if we want to call oursleves Architects...which we actually are.

Hell, if Elon Musk (who I admire) can call himself a 'Product Architect', & thousands of IT hacks can call themselves 'IT Architects', 'System Architects', etc.  Then I am gonna say Faak it, I don't need no P.O.S. AIA, NCARB, nor State Licence.  I'm an Architect because everyone else can call themselves that.

Aug 31, 13 3:09 pm

My mom can call herself a fucking Domestic Architect for all I care, but the minute she tries to design a building, I'm suing her ass. 

Aug 31, 13 8:02 pm
Aug 31, 13 8:24 pm

^^that's legitimately the best thing i've heard all week.

Aug 31, 13 8:34 pm

^^^ ha

I got a shirt at an IT job fair I just happened to wander through that reads: "real architects code... I don't know what they call those people who design buildings?"

Aug 31, 13 9:08 pm

I've periodically seen salary surveys on homepages or links, and it said "architect," but upon looking closer it was "network architect."  There's this term used called "enterprise architecture."  Sounds trek-y to me.  I once talked to a lady who did this and, after having her explain to me what she did, I was still clueless.  It sounded so vague.  Is it the New Millennium term for a systems analyst?

I don't care who used the term in the IT industry.  The confusion is minimal.  You don't approach them to do your custom home.  You know they're IT guys and gals. 

I do agree that, within the building arts, the censoring of the word architectural in a title is correct, because it gives the incorrect impression one is licensed.  Sadly, the consuming public is not that informed, nor would they be even if they got the booklets from the state boards on procuring architectural services.  I've known of situations where one has procured architectural services from a legitimate architect (in another state) who, because of NCARB guidelines in the stricter state where the project was being built, couldn't seal those drawings.  If the states got their acts together and could make for uniform education, testing, and experience requirements, NCARB could be reduced to a shell and reciprocity could be obtained by approaching another state directly, as is done with numerous other professions.

The humorous one is the new college graduate's use of the word, or someone else's use of the word to describe them.  You're talking to a girl at a store counter and small talk ensues.  She finds out you're an architect.  She them beams and says "My brother-in-law is an architect.  He just graduated from Arizona State last year."  Your answer: "Oh, that's nice."  I see this as being the most common gaffe of all, followed by "I wanted to be an architect, but I'm not good at math."

Aug 31, 13 10:28 pm

^ What term would you promote for recent grads? I've always thought Junior Architect would be a good official term. It doesn't confuse people like 'intern,' it specifies what someone has been trained in and works in, and still reflects relative inexperience.

Sep 1, 13 12:12 am

^ I don't know, but I know recent grads do want to include the notion that they have the education behind them and are in the field.  When I started out, I would just say "I work for an architectural firm."  I think that the correct term, when going through IDP, is intern-architect and I didn't like using it, so I used that sentence in everyday conversation.  Junior architect might sound like one who just recently licensed.  Engineers have the same deal.  They seem to call themselves engineers upon going to work after college.  I think their correct title is EIT - engineer in training, until they pass the PE exam and everything is signed off. 

Sep 1, 13 12:35 am

^ I use the same phrase - 'I work for an architecture firm.'  Nobody else understands (nor cares about) the distinctions between being licensed or not. When asked in casual conversation, my fiancee says I'm an architect. That used to bother me but I've stopped correcting her and it doesn't bother me anymore. She's been through arch school, knows the rules and always uses the correct intern terminology outside of that context.  If we must have such a distinction, I suppose I like the engineering model... Architect in Training sounds just fine to me - at least it rolls off the tongue.

Sep 1, 13 1:18 am

I just got off the phone with my mom, she started talking about structures and doug fir vs. western pine. I told that bitch straight up, if she didn't quit, I was calling her state board, then my attorney brother. BAMM. <----phone hang.

Sep 1, 13 9:38 am
I swear if I meet one of those IT "architects" at a cocktail party I'm gonna deck him so hard he's gonna have to code hisself a new frikkin McMansion.
Sep 1, 13 8:46 pm

Anyone that has graduated Architecture school should be allowed to call themselves an Architect, and perhaps only those that are licensed should be allowed to call them Registered Architect or Licensed Architect. That would be a better differentiator. 

Sep 2, 13 9:32 am

^ no.

Sep 2, 13 10:16 am
You guys make way to big of a deal about this.
Sep 11, 13 2:21 am

The really funny thing about all this is that being licensed doesn't make you a good architect. 

Sep 11, 13 8:52 am

It's because our profession is led by and run by a giganitic collection of pussies.

Sep 11, 13 11:40 am

So med - aside from mouthing off on a regular basis about those in the profession senior to you, what practical measures have you ever taken personally to change the status quo?

Sep 11, 13 11:58 am

I actually filed a formal complaint about this with the state licensing board a bunch of years ago (when it was first becoming 2001 or something). Their reaction was "meh...whatever."

Glad to know they're looking out for us.

Sep 11, 13 1:06 pm

The reason these uses of the term "architect" aren't regulated is that these people are in other fields and don't compete with us for jobs and projects designing buildings for sites.  Instead, they use a qualifier in front, like "IT" or "systems" or "product" that instantly places them outside of our professional competition.

Inside our profession, those not yet licensed DO constitute direct competition for jobs and projects.  This is why --regardless of whether you agree with the practice or not-- licensing boards punish use of the term: it's about "protecting" those in the profession from unfair competition for work.  An "IT architect" is not going to steal away the contract to design a house, so licensing boards don't care about that kind of case.

Sep 11, 13 2:05 pm

citizen: "it's about "protecting" those in the profession from unfair competition for work"

Actually, I think it's much more about protecting the general public from those who might not be qualified to practice. If it were as you say, then I'm pretty sure the DOJ would sue all 50 state boards, citing 'restraint of trade'.

Sep 11, 13 2:55 pm

Good point, Quizzical.  It's easy to forget that regulation of some professions is allowed under the police power, to protect the public health, safety and welfare.  (That's the impetus, anyway, though I'd argue that unofficial ROT is part of the unstated, political mission.)

We as practitioners tend to focus on competition, and that was my main point.  When it comes to the word "architect" or "architecture" on the business card of an unlicensed individual, the state board isn't going to punish the software guy, but it will punish the interior designer.

Sep 11, 13 3:08 pm

It would be really helpful though if when you were looking for a job and you are searching for "Architect" you didn't have to wade through 10,000 "ORACLE CDIS Information Architect" postings. 

And as for the "Unfair competition for work" - what about this much ballyhooed notion of a "Free Market" and all of that stuff?  I would offer that these days, the onerous and expensive path to registration that many of us unexpectedly found when we exited our schooling is an unfair obstruction to allowing us to compete for work.  Shouldn't a  Master's Degree account for something?  Allow one to compete a little-bit maybe?  No.  Apparently not.

We can work "For" an "architect" and do all of the actual work, but are not allowed to operate officially in any capacity as architects because the guy showing up late and unprepared for pitch meetings is the only one with a stamp.  And good luck getting the guy with the 30 year old registration to do anything on a computer.  "I can get out my Mayline if it really comes down to it."  Um, no.  No you can't.

Also presently it's impossible to find employment with an "architect."  So there's no way to actually begin or complete IDP for many.  The whole "Architect" thing has become very poorly regulated and codified.  It's doing harm to the profession (and the society at large) that will come home to roost later on I fear.  Engineers can produce architectural drawings, but people trained as architects cannot.  Hmmm.

I find it tragic when I look at so many of the recognized names in the profession and their biographies have the line in there about how they graduated from school and started their office the next year or shortly thereafter.  If the current model requiring indenture to someone with a stamp were in place 40 years ago, would we have some of the more prestigious offices in the world today?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.

Sep 11, 13 5:20 pm

If you need a license to protect you from competition you don't deserve the license.

Sep 11, 13 6:55 pm

My mother decided that she doesn't want to be an architect after all. She figures that after raising four, successful children, she was qualified to be a Child Psychologist. So, she's going to hang her shingle today! Imagine that, a high school educated woman, to a psychologist, all overnight!


Love ya Mom! Give the state board hell!

Sep 11, 13 7:08 pm

Go, Mom!

Sep 11, 13 7:28 pm

Miles, no architect needs to license to protect themselves from competition.  The world needs licenses so that people who don't meet the professional standards to be an architect (don't know the codes, don't know about liability, don't know how to put a set of drawings together) aren't building skyscrapers and schools.  Anyone with an M.Arch that upon can do these things competently is welcome to call themselves an architect - I just have never met anyone who would qualify.

Sep 12, 13 7:09 pm

b3t....kind of like Dr. Phil.....years of experience, helped millions, but no professional license, so he cannot call himself a psychologist, even though he most likely offers higer quality care and service than those licensed.

Sep 12, 13 7:33 pm

I was looking at some striking buildings by Norwegian architects on the web today. As far as I know when they finish schooling they are called architects? Someone correct me if I am wrong. Sometimes I go for whole days without hearing of a building collapse there. Lovely country I was lucky enough to visit once.... Also, I think doctors are called doctors before they finish their residency?

Sep 12, 13 7:48 pm

Most the architects that are licensed could not put a cd set together for a skyscraper or high rise so tut point is not valid. We get an m.arch we should be able to do more all that education taught us how to learn if you can't figure something you should be able to find out how. 

Sep 12, 13 11:20 pm

I know an unlicensed 'architect' with 20-30 years of experience who never felt the need to get licensed, and has been content to run projects in a mid-to-large size firm for the partners.  Is he an architect?  Legally, no.  Does he know as much or more about designing and building mid-to-large-scale public architecture than many licensed architects?  Absolutely.  Therefore, is he more of an architect than many licensed people?  Legally, maybe not, in title, no, but practically, without a doubt.  Which would an owner, contractor, or engineer prefer?  The person with the right credential or the person with the experience?  Which would the owner, contractor, or engineer consider 'the architect,' regardless of license or title?

With respect to other industries, as the OP mentions, others call themselves 'architect.'  Why?  The concept of designing architecture generally describes any instance of designing and/or developing the logical framework, form, and function of a system.  It is an apt description of the work  a designer of software and/or complex systems does, therefore that they claim the title makes logical sense.  The legality is a separate matter. 

Sep 13, 13 12:10 am
led signal light

Enough said.

Who is going to join me protesting the issue on the capitol steps or on another effective government lawn by going into a serious hunger strike? I think we would need 1000 people to do this. Let's send a strong message, get heard and get titled! I am licensed but want to help. Anyone? Let's do something.

Sep 13, 13 2:19 am

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