As you continue to progress and meet requirements for the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®), ensure you know all there is to help you successfully obtain your goals. We recently reached out to licensed architects for their advice and insight on keeping the momentum, best practices for the AXP, and navigating earning and reporting hours. Check out what they had to say:

1. Be clear and organized when reporting experience.

Establish a clear plan for reporting your experience hours. Whether you report your hours weekly or monthly, be sure you have a clear routine and schedule to ensure your hours are being reported accurately and on time to receive all credit hours.

The thing that has helped me the most is when filling out time sheets for billing, I would note in the comments for the hours logged with what category of AXP hours my work pertained to.

—Haley Duggins, Assoc. AIA

As you submit your experience hours, create notes that help you understand the experience tasks you’ve completed.

It’s been useful for my mentor to know what projects to assign me over time to address specific areas.

—Jessika Amato

This will give you and your supervisor a clear vision of all your work thus far and a clear visual to develop a plan that works best for you to meet all AXP requirements.


2. Develop a plan for success with your supervisor.

Your AXP supervisor plays an important role in your licensure journey, and an essential part of their role is to help you create a strategy for gaining the experience needed to develop the skills identified in the AXP tasks competently.

Make a plan with your supervisor. Don’t be afraid to discuss opportunities to get hours covered in all the categories.

—Dustin W.G.

Meet regularly with your supervisors to discuss your progress and how you can expand your skills across each practice area. The AXP offers many opportunities to obtain the experience needed to develop the required competencies and you can work with your supervisor to navigate the best opportunities to achieve your goals.

I also took advantage of the setting O and CE [unit opportunities] through AIA and NCARB to further my knowledge and interest in specific subjects. My favorite is the ‘Why Buildings Fail’ series, which helps cover hours in basically all AXP areas.

—Jessika Amato

A clear view of what you need to fulfill your desired career goals is key to ensuring your success. Explore the AXP Guidelines to understand all requirements and experience settings, so you know how to earn your hours and which opportunities best suit you.

When you and your supervisors are on the same page about the AXP, it will be much easier to identify how you can achieve the competencies for each category.

—Nikki Karpf de Castillo, AIA, NCARB

Your supervisor is your guide as you work to accomplish your goals. It is key that you and your supervisor are familiar with the program's details and on the same page when it comes to navigating your candidate/supervisor relationship to gain meaningful experience. We know that presenting these conversations can be challenging when you’re just starting out, so we developed the AXP Candidate and Supervisor Expectations Guide as a resource. 


3. Advocate for yourself.

Navigating the more complex tasks of the AXP requirements can be a challenge for candidates due to firm size, access to resources, project availability, and other factors. As you develop a plan for your success, ensure you know all there is about the AXP so you can ask for the experience, skills, and information you need to achieve your goals and develop the required competencies to practice architecture.

Speak up and be your own advocate. Make a plan, seek new opportunities, try new things, explore architecture in all the areas and if you’re not getting the experience you need—go and seek it!

—Heather Woodcock, AIA, CDT, EDAC, LEED AP BDC, NCARB

Speak up for the support you need! Your professional goals may require a unique approach to obtaining the desired experience while meeting AXP requirements. That’s why it’s important to give your supervisor a clear picture of your professional goals after licensure.


4. Enjoy the process, and don’t give up!

Obtaining your professional goals can be a journey filled with unexpected highs and lows, some of which you can prepare for and others of which you cannot.

Make a plan for study. Take a preparation course. Join a study group. Put in the time. Get advice from someone you respect. A study coach. Put aside all other activities and goals.

—Geoff Varga, AIA, CSI, NCARB

 As you progress on your path to licensure, adapt to the new normal of studying, earning experience, navigating competencies, and so much more—don’t forget to enjoy it! Find small ways to make your licensure process your own: study with your favorite playlist, try a new coffee shop with peers for study sessions, and network with related organizations and firms.

Most importantly, do not give up on your goal! Make your licensure journey your own, and keep going.

Check out these top resources created to help you navigate the path to licensure:

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