Posts tagged with "licensure":

NCARB responds to concerns about licensing

Over the past several years, there has been an uptick in political activity addressing the value of regulation. It is important to distinguish protective regulations for professions such as architecture from efforts focused on “occupational” regulation, aimed at improving job opportunities for returning veterans, blue-collar workers, and underemployed individuals. Without this distinction, legislative overreach could unintentionally remove important protections to the public’s health, safety, and welfare.

This is why the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) supports the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) “Where We Stand” statement on professional licensure and the important role architecture licensing boards play in ensuring a safe built environment. In fact, NCARB model laws and programs, along with its NCARB Certificate, address many of the core issues such as mobility and inter-state consistency that are inviting criticism of the entire licensure and regulatory spectrum.

It’s important that architects understand how their own regulatory framework functions. NCARB serves as a federation of the country’s 54 jurisdictional boards that license and regulate architecture. These boards contribute several hundred volunteers who regularly develop examination questions, monitor the relevance of national models for education and experience requirements, and develop alternatives to licensure for those taking untraditional paths. The ability to modernize architectural licensure while retaining essential rigor has assured that reasonable regulation equates to public protection.

With mobility and portability a key focal point of current regulatory scrutiny, it is noteworthy that NCARB was created by state licensing board architects who sought a more standardized process along with reciprocity across state boundaries. Today, there are more reciprocal architect licenses issued in the U.S. than resident licenses. Yet despite this proven process, lawmakers continue to consider overreaching bills with negative impact on architecture boards’ ability to protect the public. Most recently, NCARB funded AIA South Dakota to assure that any revamp to regulation would provide an opt out for professions with established paths to reciprocity (including architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, and land surveying) from a “temporary licensing compact” proposal.

Modernizing the Path to Licensure

Similar to medicine and law, architecture is one of roughly 60 professions that is regulated in all states and territories. Each of the 54 boards is legally responsible for issuing licenses and regulating practice within its borders, utilizing NCARB models at their discretion. Each of these jurisdictions, in varying formats, has determined that three essential steps to architectural licensure are required: meet specific requirements for architectural education, earn real-world experience through the Architectural Experience Program™ (AXP™), and pass the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®).

In a continued effort to eliminate unnecessary hurdles for candidates, NCARB membership, through the state boards, has updated and streamlined these programs—without sacrificing the rigor needed to protect the public. Recent changes include: removing the experience program’s elective hours from reporting requirements and allowing an alternative work portfolio option for experienced designers; aligning the licensing exam to the “phases of practice,” eliminating vignette software and introducing case studies; and streamlining alternative paths for those with diverse educational backgrounds. These changes have also reduced the average fees for licensure candidates and NCARB Certificate applicants.

Together, the 54 NCARB Member Boards and over 300 architect volunteers function to ensure architects have the skills and knowledge needed to create safe spaces, striking the right balance between reasonable regulation and protecting the public.

Michael J. Armstrong is the CEO of NCARB, a nonprofit that develops and administers national programs for utilization by the 54 jurisdictions regulating licensure candidates and architects.

U.S., Australia, and New Zealand reach reciprocal architecture license agreement

U.S. architects will be able to more easily pursue work internationally thanks to a new Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) among the architectural licensing authorities of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, according to an NCARB News post. NCARB led the movement towards this arrangement, which was signed by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB). “In an increasingly global marketplace, this arrangement will benefit architects seeking to expand their careers internationally,” said NCARB President Dennis S. Ward, FAIA. The agreement requires a minimum of 28 U.S. licensing boards to sign the arrangement by December 31, 2016. Over two years of research and negotiation led to the agreement; analysis had indicated that the licensing procedure in the United States parallels those of Australia and New Zealand. A similar agreement currently exists between the United States and Canada. The requirements to earn a license in Australia or New Zealand requires:
  • 6,000 hours (approximately three years) of post-licensure experience in the home country.
  • Validation of licensure in good standing from the home authority.
  • Citizenship or lawful permanent residence in the home country.
  • Licensure in the home country not gained through foreign reciprocity.

NCARB rebranding says “interning” is now an “experience”

By June this year, the Intern Development Program (IDP), run by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), will become known as Architectural Experience Program (AXP). The program intended to aid architects-in-training with their first steps into the profession was keen to ditch the term "intern." Hailed as a milestone, the decision was taken by the NCARB Board of Directors after more than a year's worth of investigations carried out by NCARB committees. Eager to conduct a thorough methodology to proceedings, NCARB also relied on responses from state licensing boards, industry leaders, and emerging professionals. In the past year the council has been making a number of changes with a view toward making the process of becoming an architect easier. In June last year the licensing process for foreign professionals was simplified as well as making full IDP credit available to be given to those who cast their licensure aside. In August, an Integrated Path Initiative, encouraged students to complete their IDP requirements and begin taking the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) all before graduation day. By September, 13 major schools had adopted this strategy which gave students much more flexibility.

“Renaming the IDP is another step in realigning our programs to better reflect current practice and terminology,” NCARB President Dennis Ward said in a statement. "For example, one firm may refer to a non-licensed employee as a ‘senior designer’ while another uses the title ‘project manager.’ Yet, neither is likely to introduce that individual to clients as an ‘intern.”

The change also comes off the back of advice from the council's Future Title Task Force with NCARB announcing that the new title will come into force on June 29, 2016. Due to each state having its own licensing requirements, the program's new title will also include the caveat “formerly known as the Intern Development Program, or IDP” to cater for any laws that refer to the programs former name. And while NCARB may be eager to encourage the redaction of the term "intern," state licensing boards will still have the authority to prescribe its own terminology for unlicensed professionals. In a press release, NCARB reported that in the following months they will be working with "state licensing boards and the architectural community to implement these changes."