IDP Streamline and Overhaul FAQs

Today, we announced a significant change to the IDP. After over a year of extensive research, discussion, and deliberation, the NCARB Board of Directors voted to move forward with proposals to streamline and overhaul the program.

In a nutshell, what are these changes?
Changes to the IDP will occur in two phases. The first phase will streamline the program by focusing on the core hours and eliminating elective hours. The second phase will overhaul the program by replacing the 17 experience areas with six broad practice-based experience categories. The new divisions of ARE 5.0 will also align to these six categories.

What will the role of state boards be?
NCARB is comprised of 54 jurisdictions that have the legal authority to establish licensure requirements and enforce licensure laws and regulations. After announcing these proposals in June at our Annual Business Meeting, the Board of Directors invited state boards and collateral organizations to provide feedback. Individual boards will need to formally adopt these changes.

How do I know if my state board supports these changes?
Ask! You can find contact information for your state board here.

What should I do if I’m currently earning elective hours?
Keep reporting hours! Getting your license is a major step in your career path. Don’t put your life on hold just because the IDP is changing.

What if my state board doesn’t adopt these changes?
We will continue to support the individual requirements for all 54 jurisdictions. Even if your board does not adopt these changes, you will continue to report your hours through My NCARB and the My IDP mobile app.

What will happen to the elective hours I’ve already earned?
Your reported and approved elective hours will continue to be reflected in your NCARB Record. Since all jurisdictions may not adopt the changes, you can continue to report core and elective hours.

What if I’ve already completed all of the core experience areas?
There are three things to keep in mind: First, not all jurisdictions will accept the streamlined IDP and will continue to require 5,600 hours for initial licensure. Second, this change will not take place before June 2015. Finally, even if your jurisdiction accepts the streamlined IDP, we encourage you to continue reporting hours to ensure you meet the experience requirement in any other jurisdiction.

Does this mean IDP will only take two years to complete?
No. The time to complete the IDP ultimately depends on personal circumstances. The average intern takes about five years to complete the current IDP, according to NCARB by the Numbers. With the elimination of elective hours, our data suggests that most interns will complete the program in three to four years.

What’s the rationale behind updating the IDP?
For years, interns and architects have expressed that the current model does not always reflect typical experience gained in current practice. To address these concerns, NCARB formed a special research team.

What did the special research team find?
After reviewing historical decisions, interviewing key stakeholders, and mining years of data, the team found:

  • There’s no statistical evidence that elective hours increase competency. The IDP’s core requirements are influenced by the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture, which does not address the need for elective hours.
  • Technology has drastically changed the way interns design and document projects, and what used to take days can now be completed in a matter of minutes. One hour of IDP experience today is not the same as it was five or 10 years ago.
  • The current practice of architecture involves a greater variety of activities, building types, and projects than ever before. Since no two interns will have the same experience, the IDP must be able to adapt to today’s marketplace. By integrating the current 17 experience areas into six broad-practice based categories, the program will more closely align with contemporary practice.

Will these changes dilute the rigor associated with licensure?
Absolutely not. This change reflects a commitment to the program’s core content, which is informed by the most recent Practice Analysis of Architecture. Plus, the education and examination requirements will continue to provide respected standards across the United States. The next version of IDP will not be easier, but rather more efficient.

When will the two phases be implemented?
We expect to implement the streamlined proposal in June 2015 and the overhauled proposal in mid-2016. We will continue to share updates as they happen.