NCARB proposes realigning the Intern Development Program to reflect contemporary practice

19 June 2014

Philadelphia—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced a significant proposal to streamline and overhaul the Intern Development Program (IDP) over the next few years. The streamlined proposal would reduce the number of hours required to complete the IDP, and the overhaul phase would align the program to the divisions that will be tested starting late 2016 in the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®).

“At NCARB, we embrace change that reflects ‘rigor for a reason,’ rather than rigor for the sake of rigor,” said NCARB President Blake Dunn. “This approach has led to two proposals that ensure continued protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare: a short-term streamlining of the IDP and a longer-term overhaul plan for the IDP.”

This proposal is the result of over a year of research conducted by a special team convened to review the program, guided by discussion among architect volunteers and NCARB’s Intern Think Tank members. The proposal, which will be submitted for a comment period to state boards, is designed to reflect how the marketplace, education, and technology have all impacted the ways in which experience is gained.

Streamlining the IDP: A Focus on Core Requirements
The IDP currently requires interns to document 5,600 hours of experience, with 3,740 of those hours as core requirements in specific experience areas. The remaining 1,860 hours are elective hours. The first reinvention phase proposes to streamline the IDP by removing the elective hour requirement, with interns documenting only the 3,740 hours in the 17 core experience areas. Only the current core requirements were determined by the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture, reflecting knowledge and skills the profession determined should be exposed to interns.

Overhaul: Alignment with Examination
The next reinvention phase would be to align the IDP experience areas with the results of the 2012 Practice Analysis of Architecture. The proposal recommends realigning the current four IDP experience categories and 17 experience areas into six experience categories. These six categories would directly align with the six practice-based areas of architecture, making the program easier to understand for both interns and supervisors. These six areas would also align with the six divisions of ARE 5.0, which will launch in late 2016. This would align the IDP with the current realities and challenges of contemporary practice while ensuring interns still acquire the comprehensive experience that is essential for competent practice.

A final design of both phases along with a potential timeline for implementation will be determined after the NCARB Board of Directors receives comments from the state boards this fall.


The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.


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