NCARB Proposes Opportunity for Professionals Who Want to Get Back on the Licensure Path

June 18, 2015

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) will work with U.S. licensing boards to develop a path to licensure for professionals who have qualified experience from more than five years ago.

New Orleans—A new proposal to benefit professionals who had to put their licensure goals on hold due to career and personal decisions was unveiled by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), at its 2015 Annual Business Meeting. NCARB announced that it will begin working with U.S. licensing boards to develop an approach to document valid work experience fulfilling the spirit of the Intern Development Program (IDP) but falling outside the limits of current IDP reporting requirements.

“We all know of folks who had to step away from the path to licensure and want to come back,” said NCARB President Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB. “Most of these people have degrees from programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), loads of experience that is older than five years, and now want to move up from being a project manager to a licensed architect.”

The proposed path would only be available for professionals with work experience that falls outside of IDP reporting requirements as established by NCARB. Currently, licensure applicants can earn full credit for experience reported within eight months, and 50 percent credit for experience earned beyond eight months and up to five years. With the new proposal, each applicant would submit experience that identifies proficiency in the IDP experience categories.

“Our Board of Directors has indicated support for the concept, but wants to engage the NCARB Member jurisdictions in the particulars of how such a program would be designed,” McKinney said. “The facilitation of licensure is a primary goal for NCARB and this proposal is one of many that redefines the path to licensure without sacrificing the value that we place on experience, education, and examination.”

In addition to introducing this initiative, NCARB has set in motion the streamline and overhaul of the current IDP model, developed a more integrated path to licensure, provided more centralized data and record keeping, and expanded the benefits of having an NCARB Certificate both nationally and abroad.

NCARB estimates that about 12,000 professionals in its system with experience older than five years—let alone others who have never engaged with experience reporting—could benefit from this program. A recent poll of this group found that 80 percent would be interested in such a program if it becomes available. NCARB hopes to make the program available July 1, 2016.

“We will continue to work closely with our Member Boards to seek feedback and formal comment through the summer and into the fall,” McKinney said.


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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