In February, NCARB released a short survey following up on some initial findings from NCARB and NOMA’s joint Baseline on Belonging study. As further research for Baseline on Belonging action items related to firms’ support of licensure candidates, the survey explored the types of AXP support candidates received from their firms and supervisors and how this impacted their ability to meet the experience requirements.  

Download the Survey Report

Over 1,600 licensure candidates and architects responded to the survey. The findings highlighted two related issues that impacted many individuals on the path to licensure: 

Many candidates don’t get the AXP support or resources needed from their firm 

Many survey respondents indicated their firm was not fully supportive of their completion of the AXP and did not always offer important resources, such as documented expectations for AXP supervisors.  

When asked what types of support they received from their firms, most respondents cited the ability to gain experience across AXP areas, followed by financial aid for their NCARB Record. However, Black or African American respondents and people who identified as another racial/ethnic group were less likely to receive this support. Additionally, only 20% of respondents reported that their firm had structured check-ins or AXP reporting—with Black/African American respondents half as likely to select this option. People of color were also more likely than their white peers to select “none of the above.” 

Respondents who were already licensed architects at the time of the survey were also more likely to say they received financial support from their firm than those currently working to earn their license. This disparity suggests that those who receive financial support from their firm may be more likely to complete the licensure path compared to their peers.   

Many candidates—especially candidates of color––indicated their AXP supervisor was not accessible to them  

Supervisor arrangements varied, with candidates of color indicating they were less likely to receive mentorship opportunities or have more than one licensed architect at their firm. Over half of respondents indicated they did not have regular check-ins with their AXP supervisor. This was especially true for women and people of color, who were both more likely to disagree or strongly disagree that they had monthly check-ins than their white peers. 

Next Steps

The goal of this follow-up research was to understand gaps in firms' support of licensure candidates. These findings will inform NCARB’s and NOMA’s work to develop resources that help firms and employees navigate the experience program.  

Learn more about NCARB’s and NOMA’s research and read their profession-wide Action Plan