Streamlining the Path to Licensure

Over the past 40 years, the requirements for architectural licensure have increased tremendously terms of time and cost to the candidate. In 2012, Texas Architects teamed up with representatives of other AIA "large states" to examine the ARE and IDP process and propose changes for a simpler, more efficient system. The Licensing Task Force findings and recommendations are now available.

Each year, the leaders of the Texas Society of Architects (president, president-elect, EVP, and AIA board representatives) meet with colleagues from other AIA “large states.” This group includes California, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, and Michigan.

At the 2012 meeting, the licensure process for architectural registration was a primary topic. Out of that discussion, Texas leaders agreed to convene a committee to examine the licensure process and bring recommendations back to the Large States Roundtable in 2013. 

The Path to Architectural Licensure is the result of that effort. This document reviews changes in the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and Intern Development Program (IDP) over time and includes a summary of proposed changes to the process of licensure.

The back page of the document provides a list of AIA members and CACE members who participated in the committee meetings that were convened by Texas Architects President Larry Speck, FAIA. The committee is comprised of Texas members who represented differing decades of registration, and also by participants from Illinois, New York, California, and Florida. 

The participating states were to take the paper to their own leadership groups and see if those groups would like to endorse the recommendations. That process is currently underway. Ultimately, the paper with any endorsements will be forwarded to NCARB and a request for their response.  

The Path to Architectural Licensure

Presented at the AIA Large States Roundtable, New York, 2013. 


Article Resources

Talk About It

About 3 years ago: Donna Kacmar

I am excited about the new streamlined suggestions. The hardest part about being an architect should be the work, not tracking your internship!

About 3 years ago: Brian George

The Registration Exam that I took in 1977 was 9 divisions and took four days/36 hours to complete, more time than the current exam. The Path to Architectural Licensure presents a starting point for the process (16 hours of testing in one day in 1974) that is both incorrect and illogical on its face, undermining the premise that we have been on a continuous path to "more". Further, the current exam need not stretch over an "indeterminant period of time" and does not require a longer period to complete.

Points in this document are valid, however, the entire document is undermined by a very sloppy start which calls into question every "fact" presented. It appears very likely that that "facts" have been adjusted to support the argument, in an exceptionally disappointing way.

About 3 years ago: Houston Architect

I am hopeful that these excellent recommendations from the committee will be implemented. For too long our profession has had an attitude of "we're on board, so pull up the rope" when it comes to licensing. I myself have been licensed for 22 years, and I have watched as fewer and fewer of my younger colleagues attempt licensure because the obstacles of the considerable cost, proscriptive experience requirements,etc. Today I spoke with an intern in my office who joined us 4 months ago, and who expressed interest in getting licensed. He worked for 8 years at a large Houston firm, yet was never educated about IDP while he was there. He was shocked to learn that all his experience is lost because of NCARB's "six month rule" requiring that the experience be logged within 2 months of completion. I wish I had better news for him than "Sorry, you'll have to wait another 3 years (at a minimum) to qualify."

About 3 years ago: 70s old school

If we continue to make everything easier and shorter, they will become less knowledgeable and weaker.

Is it just about 'streamlining,' and are we no longer interested in the value of 'what' is learned/gleaned from the time required for worthwhile preparation?

About 3 years ago: In the IDP now in Michigan

The bigger issue with streamlining the process is actually getting the experience and the industry putting an emphasis on actually getting a license. Michigan recently passed a law that will allow a non licensed body to produce a 10,000 sq ft home. Unlicensed "designers" get credit for all the architect of records work. As someone who is in the middle of the IDP/ARE exam process, I really feel the industry wants getting licensed a nice personal goal for an individual rather than a requirement.

About 3 years ago: Houston Gen Y Architect

The spirit of the report is great but as Brian George points out, it makes it hard to take seriously with its lack of accurate and in depth research. The point it tries to make is licensure is too costly and time consuming but has NCARB not spent the last several years making things more streamlined and easier to manage?