NCARB Accepts Over a Dozen Schools for “Integrated Path” to Licensure; Students Can Complete Internship and Take License Exams Before Graduation

August 10, 2015

As part of its ongoing efforts to facilitate architectural licensure, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has accepted proposals from over a dozen architecture schools to implement an integrated path to licensure within academic programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). This initiative will result in a more structured experience for students enrolled in an NCARB-accepted path that offers the ability to complete the requirements for architectural licensure at the time of graduation. The NCARB Integrated Path initiative invites programs accredited by the NAAB to propose approaches that would result in completing the requirements of the Intern Development Program (IDP) and the opportunity to take each division of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) before graduation. Passing all ARE divisions prior to graduation is not required.

In its inaugural effort, the NCARB Integrated Path initiative has solicited statements of interest from all schools with NAAB-accredited programs and then invited all with accredited programs to submit proposals, which were received this past June. The review of these proposals was conducted by the NCARB Licensure Task Force (LTF), composed of interns/recently licensed architects, state licensing board members and executives, academic deans and instructors, and non-architect public members, as well as leaders representing the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

NCARB will respond to each school with feedback as to how their proposal is or could become acceptable before releasing the names of the accepted programs. All programs that submitted proposals will be coached as to next steps including modifications necessary to move forward toward implementation. NCARB will also engage its state licensing board members regarding regulatory changes to allow access to the ARE prior to graduation.

The initiative began in 2013 as an experiment to pilot a new concept around providing an opportunity to pursue the education/experience/examination elements of licensure in a more integrated rather than sequential manner, without diluting any of the criteria for the three elements. "As the initiative progressed, the experimental pilot approach evolved into a full-fledged additional path with acceptance criteria. NCARB plans to solicit additional proposals on an annual basis, and maintain a review and coaching posture with all accepted programs," said NCARB Chief Executive Officer Michael Armstrong.

"The programs in this inaugural class exhibited a high degree of creativity, and are focused on strengthening the relationship between schools, the practice community, and licensing boards," said LTF Chair Ron Blitch, FAIA, NCARB, FACHA, a Louisiana architect who is a former NCARB President and current member of the NAAB Board of Directors and the Louisiana State Board of Architectural Examiners. "Each program took a slightly different approach, and many built upon already existing requirements for internship through exposure to practice prior to graduation. We are especially pleased that the integrated path participants are striving to negate any increased costs to students through paid internships and minimizing additional tuition. This effort will reach a subset of students who are hyper-focused on achieving licensure in a more concentrated and structured manner. This will occur without sacrificing any of the rigor obtained through accredited education, the IDP and the ARE," Blitch said.

LTF members were effusive in their praise of the initiative. "The work of the Task Force and the potential of the Integrated Path initiative presents some of the most significant work of my career," said George Miller, FAIA, a partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in New York City and former president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). "We are working to make the profession more inclusive and this is a step in the right direction," added Miguel Rodriguez, FAIA, chair of the Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design. "This provides a clearer path to licensure," said Anne Kolman Smith, FAIA, chair of the Georgia State Board of Architects and Interior Designers. Nick Mancusi, currently an intern and former president of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), and recently licensed architect Amy Perenchio, former NAAB Board member, commented that the incorporation of the newly streamlined IDP and the redesigned ARE version 5.0 offers a logical, structured approach that will be attractive to many students.

"This opportunity provides another way for all the players—schools, licensing boards, and practitioners—to demonstrate their commitment to delivering new architects that will continue to protect the public's health, safety and welfare," said Lynn Axelroth, an attorney based in Philadelphia and former NCARB Public Director. "With concerns about keeping the pipeline flush with new architects replacing the retiring generation, this initiative assures we are responding to interested students and maintaining our standards," said NCARB President Dennis Ward, AIA, NCARB. State licensing board executives Cathe Evans (North Carolina) and Amy Kobe, Hon. AIA (Ohio) indicated they are already working on changes to their regulations to allow access to the ARE for Integrated Path students in their states.

Other LTF participants included Mark Aspaas, South Dakota-based architect and former NCARB Board member; David Cronrath, Dean, University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation; John Enright, Undergraduate Program Chair at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC); Greg Erny, Nevada-based architect, Nevada licensing board member, and NCARB Second Vice President; Pasqual Gutierrez, Los Angeles-based architect and member of the California Architects Board; Norman Millar, Dean, Woodbury University School of Architecture; Gordy Mills, former member of the Iowa licensing board, former NAAB board member and former NCARB President; William Ponko, former faculty at the University of Notre Dame and former Indiana licensing board member; Jenny Pelc, Louisiana-based architect and instructor at Tulane University; Jeff Potter, Dallas-based architect and former AIA President; David Prengaman, Rhode-Island based architect, Rhode Island licensing board member, and NCARB Region 1 Director; John Sullivan, New York-based architect and member of the New York licensing board; Bayliss Ward, Montana-based architect and NCARB Region 5 Director; Harry Falconer, NCARB Experience + Education Director; and Stephen Nutt, NCARB Senior Architect/Advisor to the CEO.

After providing further feedback to the proposing schools, NCARB will release the names of the initial group of accepted programs. Programs needing more development will be encouraged to resubmit proposals utilizing the feedback from the Task Force. A new RFP for the second round of participation will launch in early 2016 and will be repeated on an annual basis, to be managed by a new Integrated Path Evaluation Committee appointed by the NCARB President Ward and include diverse geographic, age, demographic, and collateral perspectives.

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About NCARB
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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