NCARB Announces Major Improvements to the Intern Development Program

28 April 2009

Washington, DC—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is updating the Intern Development Program (IDP) requirements to more closely align with the current practice of architecture. The new program requirements, which will be rolled out as “IDP 2.0,” will help ensure that interns acquire the comprehensive training that is essential for competent practice and will make reporting experience fundamentally easier.

The changes to the IDP have been developed in response to the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture. In April 2007, NCARB invited more than 50,000 architects from across the United States and Canada to participate in this study. A record 9,835 practicing architects responded by completing an extensive electronic survey to identify the tasks, knowledge, and skills that recently licensed architects, practicing independently, need to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The results of this study were used as a basis for IDP 2.0, the most significant update to the IDP since its inception over 30 years ago.

The proposed changes to the IDP offer many benefits to interns by allowing them to complete some of the training requirements during periods of unemployment, expanding the definition of “direct supervision,” and simplifying the reporting process. These changes will be rolled out in three phases over the next two years.

IDP 2.0 Phase One
The first phase of IDP 2.0, to be implemented on 1 July 2009, will allow interns—whether employed or not—to earn training units by completing LEED accreditation and by completing specified architecture-related certificate programs offered by the Construction Specifications Institute. They will also be able to earn training units by reading the NCARB Professional Conduct monograph and passing the related quiz.

IDP 2.0 Phase Two
Phase two of IDP 2.0, scheduled for implementation on 1 January 2010, is contingent on the passage of Resolution 2009-04 at the Annual Meeting in June 2009. If a majority of NCARB’s Member Boards does not pass the resolution, the implementation of phase two will be delayed.

In the second phase of IDP 2.0, the definitions of “direct supervision” and “registered architect” will be updated to reflect current architectural practice. The new definition of “direct supervision” will allow IDP supervisors to supervise their interns through a mix of personal contact and remote communication (e.g. e-mail, online markups, webinars, and internet). The new definition of a “registered architect” will allow a person registered to practice architecture in a U.S. or Canadian jurisdiction to serve as an IDP supervisor. That means that registered architects will be able to supervise interns within their office even if they are not registered in the jurisdiction where the office is located. In addition, both interns and supervisors who are “independent contractors” will be able to participate in the IDP in accordance with the revised definition of direct supervision.

Phase two will also change the IDP Training Requirement from “700 Training Units” to “5,600 Training Hours.” The actual number of hours required to satisfy the IDP Training Requirement remains the same, however, interns will no longer have to convert the hours they spend in each training area into training units. This should make reporting work experience easier and more accurate.

IDP 2.0 Phase Three
The third phase of IDP 2.0, scheduled for implementation on 1 January 2011, will align the current IDP training areas with the new experience areas required for the competent practice of architecture as identified in the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture. [April 2011 Update: The implementation of the third phase of IDP 2.0 has been adjusted to 2012. Interns will be notified six months in advance of the new implementation date.]

The IDP was created in 1976 by NCARB and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to provide emerging architects with a structured transition between education and registration. The program established specific training requirements and provided a uniform system for documentation and assessment of internship activity. Over the past four years, NCARB has committed more than 17,000 volunteer hours, 1,200 Board of Director hours, and 12,000 staff hours, and AIA has committed more than 1,100 director hours and 4,000 staff hours toward strengthening the IDP and making it more user-friendly.

Attached is a list of Factually Answered Questions about IDP 2.0. If you have any questions about the proposed changes to the IDP, please contact Harry Falconer at 202/454-2235.