In 1976, NCARB introduced the Intern Development Program (IDP) after working with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) throughout the 1970s to develop a more structured program for licensure candidates to ensure they were gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to practice independently. Administered by NCARB, jurisdictions gradually began adopting the program to satisfy their experience requirement.

All 55 U.S. jurisdictions accept the IDP to satisfy their experience requirement, with Mississippi becoming the first state to require completion in 1978. In 1996, NCARB updated the program to require licensure candidates to record actual training units earned rather than the percent of time spent in each training area. The program has been monitored annually by NCARB’s Committee on the IDP, which has recommended other changes over the years based on interpretations of the current practice of architecture.

Gathering Empirical Data

A great deal has changed since the IDP was developed. In order to keep pace with the profession, NCARB decided to base future changes to the program on up-to-date empirically derived data. Since 2005, NCARB has conducted several studies to inform the IDP and align it with current practice. These include the IDP Final Evaluation Report in 2005, the IDP Core Competency Study in 2006, the Direct Supervision Study in 2007, and the most significant, the Practice Analysis of Architecture in 2007 and 2012.

2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture

The 2007 Practice Analysis survey and analysis represent the greatest outreach and response from architects ever received. The results of previously conducted practice analyses have been used to shape the foundation of an architect’s entry into the profession and the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). The 2007 study was the first time the analysis was also used to inform the IDP. The purpose of the study was to identify the tasks and knowledge/skills that are important for recently licensed architects, practicing independently, to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The nearly 10,000 architects that participated identified nearly 90 tasks and 100 areas of knowledge or skills as important. The survey was also used to understand the “point-of acquisition” for each knowledge/skill. Respondents indicated if the knowledge/skill was acquired by completion of a professional degree, during internship, or after licensure. The survey identified which knowledge/skills need more exposure during education and internship. IDP 2.0 addresses all knowledge and skills that were identified as important during internship.

2012 Practice Analysis of Architecture

The 2012 Practice Analysis of Architecture Survey occurred in spring 2012. The findings related to internship were released in the Internship Report in spring 2013.

2016 Launch of AXP

In order to address the findings of the 2012 Practice Analysis, NCARB began an in-depth review and overhaul of the experience program to ensure that the requirements continued to add here to current architectural practice. In addition, NCARB decided to rename the IDP to the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) as part of an effort to sunset the term “intern.” The introduction of the new name and the overhaul were both launched on June 29, 2016. In the AXP, the previous 17 experience categories were realigned into six broad areas that reflect the current practice of architecture.