Report from NCARB’s Licensing Advisor Summit 2016 – Chicago, IL
Michael Daly, AIA, NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C
Hello, my name is Michael Daly. I serve as the Architect Licensing Advisor for the state of Maryland. It is the state Advisors job to work with other Advisors from universities, component chapters and firms to have up-to-date knowledge regarding the process of becoming a licensed architect in the United States. We work with the AIA and NCARB to develop and share ideas and best practices. One significant method of achieving this is at the Licensing Advisors Summit, which took place this past August in Chicago, Illinois.
It is at this summit that we learn about the latest NCARB programs and procedures. I have been fortunate to attend a few of these events and am always learning new ways of supporting those on a path toward licensure. I also always make new friends and reconnect with old friends in the process.
The Thursday evening prior to the weekend event, there is typically a program for those attending their first summit, outlining the process and benefits of attendance. Afterwards, there is a social gathering to reconnect and welcome the new attendees. This year was a little different. We were separated into two groups. There was one for Advisors in the profession and one for Students and Advisors in the academy. This allowed smaller group discussions with those closer to your role in the profession. The summit formally opened the following morning with a keynote speech by Jeff D. Roberts, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. His speech, Bio-Inspiration: Designing for a Resilient Tomorrow, addressed attendees on creating architecture that meets both present and future needs. He urged that we need to start moving to regenerative, restorative design, which questions the way human being restore ecological systems through development. He believes that this is how we help heal the planet. This aligned well with a theme of necessary change that has been evident in NCARB’s new and developing programs.
This was followed by two intense days filled with various seminars focusing on the many changes that have recently been implemented and many that are on the horizon. A primary change is the upcoming November 1st launch of ARE 5.0. This has been in development for many years and there were multiple workshops focused on preparing Advisors on how to coach candidates through the updates. The current exam, ARE 4.0, will still be available for those who obtain their Authorization to Test, prior to November 1st. June 30th, 2018 will be the last day of ARE 4.0. After this date, all candidates will need to transition to the new exam. There are strategies regarding this transition and it is possible to complete the exam with only five tests. Feel free to contact me as I can help you navigate these changes. A transition calculator is available, as well, through candidates NCARB record.
While the previous exams were divided into content specific areas, this new exam is broken up into six practice divisions better reflecting the natural practice of architecture. These exams are as follows: Practice Management, Project Management, Programming & Analysis, Project Planning & Design, Project Development & Documentation, and Construction & Evaluation. At the summit, Advisors were afforded the opportunity to “test drive” the new exam format and new test question types. There will still be the same multiple choice, check-all-that-apply, and quantitative-fill-in-the-blank questions. Since they have moved away from the graphic vignettes, they have been replaced with Hot Spot and Drag and Place questions. These are used to demonstrate the same base knowledge as the vignettes of previous exams. There will also be an introduction of Case Studies to the exams. There will be 1-2 per exam division and each will have anywhere from 10 to 20 or so questions. They will present a project scenario and provide necessary resources to answer the related questions. These questions will include all five item-types. NCARB has just released their guidelines regarding the new exam. They are also, for the first time, working with third party exam content providers in development of new study resources. These will be introduced early this coming fall.
Previously, we saw the implementation of a major change to the IDP program, now called the AXP, Architect Experience Program. Many jurisdictions now only require a minimum of 3,740 hours. Candidates need to be mindful of different states requirements. Some still require the 5,600 hours and some require a minimum of 3 years practice and some require both. This is where your advisor can be helpful. The experience areas have also been updated to reflect the same six divisions of the ARE.
There have been many changed implemented and upcoming regarding licensure paths for those who have worked for many years but have put off licensure due to career, personal, or economic reasons. This involves a comprehensive AXP Portfolio review. Changes have gone into effect regarding how foreign architects can obtain the ability to practice architect in jurisdictions governed by NCARB. There will also be changes early next year for those who have obtained their license without a NAAB accredited degree. The Broadly Experienced Architect program is going away and a new process will be put into place for those qualified and are looking to obtain their NCARB certificate. There has also been much development and many schools added to the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure. Multiple NAAB accredited university architecture programs are developing what they believe to be an effective, and efficient path to licensure. This will allow candidates the ability to obtain licensure at, or soon after, graduation with a degree from an accredited architecture program.
Additionally, we were offered educational sessions detailing how to guide Emerging Professionals in their job and career search. We learned methods on using the licensure process and NCARB programs to create resilient careers. NCARB also looks to be developing more incentives for Certification beyond the ease of reciprocity. Based upon opinions of many attendees, a more defined structure for Supervisors and Mentors will be explored in the future.
Once again, this summit has shown it to be a worthwhile endeavor and helps prepare Advisors to share the information with aspiring and long time practitioners of the profession.
About Michael Daly, AIA, NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C
Michael Daly is a licensed architect in the State of Maryland, an NCIDQ certified interior designer and is LEED AP BD+C accredited. Michael and his family are located in Olney, MD. His experience covers a wide range of base building architectural and interior design projects. He has been involved in projects ranging from 300 square foot residential additions to 2.2 million square foot master plans.
Michael is currently a principal at Architectural Support Group, an architectural consultancy that specializes in helping clients with issues regarding the building envelope. They provide forensic architectural investigations along with quality control programs to eliminate issues during or post construction.
Michael was part of NCARB’s first Intern Think Tank in 2012. This fostered and led to his involvement as a licensing advisor and mentor to individuals navigating the licensing process. In early 2015, Michael was appointed as the Maryland State Licensing Advisor. He has also lectured on ARE test taking strategies and career development.