During a recent NCARB Live webinar for Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) supervisors, we received dozens of questions about helping candidates navigate the path to licensure. Here are answers to frequently asked questions, plus resources for both supervisors and candidates.

1. What are my main responsibilities as an AXP supervisor?

As a supervisor, you’re responsible for managing a candidate’s work on a daily basis and supporting their progress through the AXP. A successful supervisor:

  • Understands the AXP’s goals, expectations, and requirements
  • Supports their candidate’s professional development by assigning diverse tasks across the program’s six practice areas
  • Schedules regular meetings with their candidate to review ongoing work and opportunities for growth
  • Reviews and discusses experience reports in a reasonable timeframe
  • Fosters a safe and respectful work environment

To learn more about what’s expected of both supervisors and candidates, download our AXP Candidate and Supervisor Expectations document.

2. I’m a new supervisor—what resources can I review to get up to speed?

Every supervisor and licensure candidate should read the AXP Guidelines, which outline the program’s requirements, experience settings, and reporting policies. Many supervisors use NCARB’s interactive Licensing Requirements Tool to explore state-specific requirements.

To best support the entire supervisor community, including AXP Portfolio supervisors, our Continuum Education Program now offers two free supervisor training courses that are eligible for Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) Learning Units (LUs). You can also learn about your role as a supervisor on our website page dedicated to supervisors and mentors.

3. How do I review my candidate’s experience reports?

Your NCARB account allows you to review and approve your candidate’s experience reports. Don’t have an NCARB account? Register for your NCARB account today—it’s free! Your account allows you to view any reports your candidate submits. Learn more about reviewing experience reports.

4. How frequently should my candidate report their experience?

To earn full credit for their work, candidates must submit experience within an eight-month timeframe, known as the reporting requirement. The largest block of time a candidate can submit in one experience report is six months—so if they wanted to report experience earned over the past eight months, they would need to submit at least two experience reports. Experience reported beyond this eight-month period—and as far as five years back—is still eligible to receive 50 percent credit toward the AXP. Once a candidate has submitted a report, you will be automatically notified via email. You should work with your candidate to discuss mutual expectations for submitting reports in a time frame that works for you both.

5. Will my candidate lose hours if I take a long time to review reports?

Once a candidate submits a report for review, they will not lose hours for delays caused by a supervisor or if their supervisor returns a report for edits. However, we recommend scheduling regular meetings with your candidate to review their AXP progress and guide their professional development.

6. Employees at my firm often telework—does this impact how I supervise candidates?

Direct supervision can occur through face-to-face contact or remote communication, as long as you maintain knowledge of and responsibility for the candidate’s work. Share these tips with your candidate for completing the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) remotely.

7. I’m an architect working at an international architecture firm. Can I serve as an AXP supervisor?                     

Yes, if the organization meets the practice requirements set by that country. The experience opportunity will fall under one of two settings depending on where you’re licensed:

  • If you’re licensed in the United States or Canada but working overseas: Candidates can complete all AXP requirements with your supervision under experience setting A.
  • If you’re licensed in a country outside of the United States or Canada: Candidates can earn up to 1,860 hours working with your supervision under experience setting O. This falls under the opportunity “other work experience under licensed professionals.”

8. I’m not an architect—can I serve as a supervisor?

Under certain experience opportunities—such as landscape architecture, engineering, design, and construction related employment, or construction work—an AXP supervisor can be a professional from another discipline and may not need any license.

9. What’s the difference between a supervisor and a mentor?

Mentors can offer instruction, encouragement, and advice to candidates as they navigate the path to licensure. Candidates aren’t required to have a mentor, although having another experienced architect or designer to turn to can be beneficial. While you won’t typically monitor a candidate’s experience reports, there are certain opportunities where mentors can approve experience.

10. My candidate submitted an experience report, but I didn’t receive an email notification.

First, check your junk or spam filter. Then login to your NCARB account and go to the supervisor portal. If the email is still missing or you don't have access to the supervisor portal, please contact our Customer Relations team.

For more supervising tips and the latest resources delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to the AXP Supervisor Update newsletter.