A Sunshine State of Mind for Ever-Evolving NCARB

On 07.31.14, Intern Development Program (IDP) Coordinators nationwide assembled in Miami, FL, to take part in the annual IDP Coordinators Conference hosted by NCARB. AIANY was represented by newly-appointed Chapter Coordinator Michael Archer, Assoc. AIA. The conference provides a platform for NCARB to effectively communicate with its coordinators as they assist at the state, chapter, school, and firm level in guiding those in pursuit of licensure. It was an opportunity to hear directly from NCARB about the sweeping changes to the ARE, proposed streamlining and overhauling of the current IDP, and the ever-expanding library of tools and information available. Change is in the air, and in this time of rapid evolution to the requirements for licensure it is important to convey what the pursuit of licensure will look like as it unfolds.

Included in the important topics covered was an overview of a brand new version of the ARE, which will be known as ARE 5.0. The exam is scheduled to be made available by the end of 2016. Candidates will be permitted to transition to this new exam even if they have already begun the current ARE (ARE 4.0), but must make the switch by 01.30.18. In the spirit of becoming more receptive to concerns from the architectural community, NCARB has broadcast this news of the exam early in hopes that a clear and understandable transition plan can be implemented. Many former candidates for licensure may remember the rocky transition from ARE 3.1 to ARE 4.0 in 2008. As more information about the testing protocol and specific guidelines of each exam become available, they will be communicated to the public at www.ncarb.org.

Another great milestone in NCARB’s continual development of the IDP is a new five-year extension to the reporting rule. Prior to July 2014, IDP hours could only be reported within six months of the date on which they were being reported. Prior to this change, if IDP-eligible hours weren’t reported within six months of accruing them, they were lost forever. The “six-month rule” change was favorably met, for the most part. However, those logging hours under this previous provision cited more engagement from their IDP supervisors, given the time frame in which candidates needed to report their activity. Now, those engaged in the IDP can refer back to any time within a five-year window at half credit (two hours of work past six months from your report date equates to one hour of IDP credit). Given that IDP is 5,600 hours, there was a spike in completed IDP records when this option was made available, according to data shared by Jared Zurn, the assistant director of ARE development at NCARB.

A roundtable session of Northeast Region coordinators allowed the delegation from AIANY to share the model by which they have incorporated a chapter coordinator. The inclusion of the chapter coordinator contact and e-mail on the aiany.org website seems to be unique to AIANY, and was shared in detail with the attendees. An ongoing weekly study session, dubbed the ARE Workshop, active on Saturdays from 3-5pm at AIANY since January 2014, allows the chapter coordinator to meet in person with those seeking information and general support in their pursuit of licensure during these ad-hoc “office hours.” This model was cited as a critical bridge between NCARB and the AIA at the chapter level, and has been successful in relaying important information through to members and the public alike.

In addition to the technical changes discussed, the conference included an overarching philosophical debate regarding the status of the title “intern,” a presentation on the future face of the IDP, a lively and engaged panel discussion with NCARB’s 2013 Intern Think Tank, and presentations from the AIA regarding the Architectural Billings Index, and Emerging Professionals Summit; also announced was the news that former NCARB Assistant Director of Internship and Education Nick Serfass will be the new Executive Director of AIAS National.

As the conference drew to a close, NCARB made known yet another major change for the community of IDP Coordinators. Those assisting their colleagues in the pursuit of licensure will now be known as Architect Licensing Advisors. As the title might suggest, NCARB is quite aware of the need for a holistic approach to the licensure process, and that the tools it provides should serve to assist in more than the navigation of the IDP. This also suggests that there are still more exciting developments ahead for NCARB and those it serves.

For further information regarding NCARB, the developments underway, or your personal licensure pursuit, please contact Michael Archer, Assoc. AIA, AIANY’s Architect Licensing Advisor, at viabrooklyn@gmail.com.