17 Tips for Earning IDP Experience

During a month-long Twitter series called “25 Days of IDP,” I shared several tips for completing the Intern Development Program (IDP). Here are a few of my favorites (expanded beyond 140 characters in some cases). 

  1. Post your progress so supervisors know what you need. Don't wait for a review, make it public.
  2. In between jobs? You can earn up to 40 hours in each experience area by completing Emerging Professional's Companion (EPC) activities.
  3. There's more to construction documents than drafting. "Coordination" and "quality control" are acceptable tasks as well.
  4. Don't squander time in a car with your supervisor—you can learn more about construction administration or business operations in a two-hour ride than in your cubical.
  5. Never give up. The IDP can be a tough road, but there is a career full of rewards ahead of you.
  6. Scrutinize your timesheet, and don’t mirror billable codes. For example, one hour of construction documents could break down to .25 codes, .25 engineering, .25 construction cost, and .25 construction documents.
  7. Be disciplined and document your hours every Friday. Remember what you did seven days ago? How about seven months ago?
  8. Find your own opportunities. Look around the firm. Take initiative. Create your experiences.
  9. Show leadership and earn IDP hours by becoming your firm's IDP auxiliary coordinator.
  10. You can earn 16 core hours in business operations by reading our Professional Conduct Monograph and passing a quiz. The free monograph is located in your Record!
  11. Almost everything related to design and construction qualifies for IDP—including planning, interior design, development, framing, and grading.
  12. Lost in a big firm? Stand out by forming a multi-disciplinary team and proposing a new initiative. You can earn hours in business operations, project management, and leadership and service.
  13. Make IDP a priority. Plan your day upfront by identifying the areas you WILL earn credit for today.
  14. Think IDP or ARE could be better? Make your voice count and apply for next year’s Intern Think Tank—look for the application in October.
  15. The IDP Guidelines is essential reading for interns, supervisors, and mentors participating in the IDP. Download your copy here.
  16. Working abroad? You can earn up to 1,860 hours under a foreign architect and infinite hours under a U.S. architect in an architecture firm. 
  17. Completing IDP doesn’t happen overnight. Start reporting hours the moment you’re eligible. 

Whether he’s on the road with our Outreach team or back at the office, you can turn to Nick for insider tips, behind-the-scenes photos, and career advice. Follow him at @NickSerfass.

Editor's Note: NCARB's Monograph Series was renamed the Continuum Education Program in early 2020.