Member Chairs and Executives Convene to Help Shape the Future of Architectural Licensure, Internship, and More

Indianapolis, IN—Member Board Chairs and Executives recently met with leaders of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) to discuss legislative issues and provided input on important topics shaping the future of the architecture profession.

The 2014 Member Board Chairs and Executive Conference, held October 31 through November 1, explored topics such as taking a fresh look at the title “intern,” the streamlining of the Intern Development Program (IDP), early access to the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), and requirement changes to the Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) Program.

“There are a number of new initiatives that NCARB is undertaking and it was a lively discussion regarding the future of licensure, and programs and services that the Council offers,” said NCARB President Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB. “It was our desire to obtain feedback so that we are fully informed when decisions are made about the future directions of NCARB programs and services.”

Representatives from 49 of NCARB’s 54 member state or registration boards attended the two-day, biennial conference. State or registration boards use NCARB’s Model Law and Model Regulations to guide laws and rulemaking regarding the registration and practice of architects within a state or jurisdiction.

The meeting yielded a number of key discussions for the architect profession:

Streamlining the IDP
The conference opened with a presentation and the solicitation of comments about recently approved changes to streamline the IDP. In September, the NCARB Board of Directors recently approved two phases of reinvention changes to the IDP, which would only become applicable if adopted by individual licensing boards.

The first phase would streamline the program by focusing on core requirements and removing elective requirements. Currently, emerging professionals are required to document 5,600 hours of experience, including 3,740 hours of core requirements in specific architectural experience areas. By eliminating the 1,860 elective hours, interns would be required to document only the 3,740 hours in the 17 core experience areas. Phase two of the changes would condense the 17 current experience areas into six practice-based categories that are based on contemporary practice.

Currently, 37 jurisdictions can accept the streamlined IDP without having to modify either rules or laws. Nine jurisdictions would have to modify rules to accept the streamlining and eight would need to modify laws to accept. Forty-seven jurisdictions are now ready to accept the phase two IDP changes without the need to modify rules or laws; seven jurisdictions need to modify rules.

“These changes are intended to bring the program into alignment with today’s practice model and maintain the rigor of validating what’s competency and practice through experience,” McKinney said.

Future Title Task Force
The use of the title “intern” has generated national buzz. In response, NCARB recently convened its new Future Title Task Force, comprising interns, architects, and representatives from our Member Boards from across the country, to discuss alternatives to the “intern” and “architect” titles. The Task Force is working to explore the issue in more detail, comparing the terms various jurisdictions allow unlicensed professionals to call themselves, and the terms other professions use to identify emerging professionals.

“I charged this group with clearing the slate, and starting fresh with no preconceived ideas to explore potential titles across the full continuum from students to registered architects,” McKinney said.

Alternatives to Certification
Breakout sessions were held to provide the NCARB Board with additional feedback on proposed changes the Broadly Experience Architect (BEA) Program. The current BEA proposal, announced by the NCARB Board in June 2014, would overhaul the program—maintaining the appropriate program rigor while reducing completion time.

Licensure at Graduation
Discussion was also held to explore concepts that would create a more integrated path to licensure upon graduation from a NAAB-accredited program. In May, the NCARB Board announced its endorsement of incorporating internship and examination requirements into university education.

The NCARB Board invited architecture schools to respond to a Request for Interest and Information (RF&I) regarding exploration of an integrated path to licensure at the time of graduation. Following review of the responses to the RFI&I, a formal RFP will be released in early January 2015. The RFP will remain open through June 1, 2015.