After 4 years of undergraduate education and internships/experience, and 2 MORE years of graduate school studies, it had already been clear that becoming a licensed architect is no easy feat ANY recently graduated architecture student. After graduation, one must complete the required internship hours and passing the seven (yes, SEVEN) exams — which is already quite the daunting task — which often takes years of work after college to surpass. It’s even more daunting when you graduate into a NON-HIRING architecture market and made the choice to stop chasing it and switch career paths (as myself and MANY of my colleagues have done). Now, it seems the process from collegiate education to licensure is getting streamlined, and it’s LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG overdue.
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) will be testing the waters for an alternative system that could grant licensure to architecture students immediately upon their graduation. NCARB recently sent out a Request for Interest & Information to accredited degree programs in order to start and attract interest in the possibility of combining their licensing requirements with bachelor’s degree education. Out of the 38 universities that replied back, 32 (which represent 26% of the accredited architecture programs in the US) have formally expressed interest in integrating architectural licensure into their curriculum, while more schools have also informally responded in favor of restructuring the current licensing system.
Ron Blitch, Chair of NCARB’s Licensure Task Force, said this:
“We are gratified that so many schools have shown interest in designing an additional path to licensure that would augment traditional architectural curricula. The integrated framework would incorporate all elements of the licensure path, including full IDP compliance and access to the ARE divisions, within a NAAB-accredited degree program.”
NCARB plans to release a Request for Proposals to the accredited programs this January, which aim to provide students with internship opportunities to assist them in meeting IDP requirements, and assist at prepping them for the seven Architect Registration Exams before graduating. The changes could result in the alterations of the IDP requirements so they’ll fit within the typical five-year (four for “Environmental Design: Architectural Studies” programs) degree time frame, or changes in every school’s curriculum to better suit the demands of the ARE, but no one is sure as to which will occur. The Licensure Task Force will be reviewing proposals for integration this June.