Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) has been accepted to join the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) initiative, which offers students the opportunity to become an architect upon graduation. Morgan State's SA+P is the first HBCU architecture program to join the IPAL initiative, a positive step toward increasing racial diversity in the architecture industry. Launched in 2015 by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), IPAL is an accelerated pathway that allows students to complete the experience and examination components of the architecture licensure process while earning a degree.
IPAL is incorporated as an optional path within an existing National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited architecture program. Programs participating in IPAL have flexibility when developing their IPAL option: they must provide students with a structured approach to complete the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) and pass the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) before graduation, but can otherwise integrate education, experience, and examination in the way that best suits existing curriculum.
The average 2021 candidate spent 13 years on the path to licensure while African American candidates were the latest to be ready for licensure at 13.8 years. In addition to taking longer to get licensed, Black or African American architects are also underrepresented in the profession, with Black or African American women also make up less than 1% of the total architect population in the U.S.
There are currently 31 programs at 27 colleges from around the country that either offer an IPAL option or are in the process of developing an IPAL option in their program, with over 600 students enrolled nationwide. The initiative requires collaboration between architecture programs, firms, and licensing boards, as they work together to provide opportunities for IPAL students.
Applications for schools interested in joining the IPAL initiative are reviewed by NCARB’s Education Committee, which is composed of licensing board members, practitioners, licensure candidates, and educators.
To learn more about IPAL, visit www.ncarb.org/IPAL.
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural licensing boards of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB, in collaboration with these boards, facilitates the licensure and credentialing of architects to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
To achieve these goals, NCARB works with its Member Boards and volunteers to develop and facilitate standards for licensure, including the national examination and experience program. NCARB also recommends regulatory guidelines for licensing boards and helps architects expand their professional reach through the NCARB Certificate.