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Emerging Professionals Frequently Asked Questions

This webpage contains a myriad of questions pertaining to Emerging Professionals. Can’t find the answer to your questions here? Email the AIA Center for Emerging Professionals at

Intern Development Program (IDP) FAQs



When does my work experience begin to count towards IDP?

NOTE: Be certain that the state in which you want to obtain your license will accept your combination of education and experience. State requirements may differ from NCARB's education and training standards. Learn more about NCARB's State Board Requirements.

You must meet certain requirements for your work experience to count. Review the most current NCARB IDP Guidelines on the NCARB's IDP webpage to learn more.

You can earn IDP experience once you have successfully graduated from high school or an established equivalent. For example, you may choose to enroll in IDP the summer before you begin college, if your hours fall into an approved work setting. As of December 16, 2013, there is no minimum duration requirement for reporting of IDP hours.

How do I sign up for free NCARB e-newsletters?

You can stay up-to-date on any IDP or ARE changes by receiving several newsletters that NCARB publishes including IDP E-News. To receive these communications via email, fill out the e-newsletter web form.

How do I find answers to NCARB FAQ’s?

NCARB also hosts a Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

In what state should I get my initial architect registration?

NOTE: Be certain that the state in which you want to obtain your license will accept your combination of education and experience. State requirements may differ from NCARB education and training standards. Learn more about NCARB's State Board Requirements.

Choosing where to get registered depends on a number of factors.

Generally, you will want to get your license in the state in which you live while you practice. Some exceptions may apply; for instance, if you live in Connecticut but work in New York, then you may want to consider obtaining a license in New York.

If you are seeking registration in another state because you don't meet your state's licensing requirements, be certain to get all the facts first. Contact all the licensing boards involved to find out what is necessary for both initial registration and reciprocity.

The Architect Registration Examination (ARE) may be taken anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, as well as Hong Kong, London, etc. Your scores can be submitted to the jurisdiction you choose. For example, even if you want to obtain your initial license in Indiana, you can take divisions of the ARE while you are on an extended work assignment in Texas. Please be sure to download and review the most current ARE Guidelines from NCARB.

How can I earn IDP Supplemental Experience?

Supplemental experience consists of activities that can often be completed outside of the work place. You can earn supplemental experience to apply towards your core minimum hours in the IDP through the following opportunities:

    Emerging Professional’s Companion (EPC)

    • NCARB’s Professional Conduct Monograph

    • CSI Certification Programs

    • Community Based Design Center/Collaborative

    • Design Competitions

    • Site Visits with a Mentor

Supplemental experience for elective hours can be earned via the following experience opportunities:

NOTE: All supplemental experience must be reported through the NCARB Online Reporting System under the "My Supplementary Experience" tab. Learn more about Supplemental Experience by downloading the IDP Guidelines from NCARB’s website.

How do AIA Continuing Education Learning Units (LUs) translate into IDP Experience Hours?

One AIA approved continuing education learning unit (LU) is equivalent to one IDP Experience Hour and can counts towards an intern’s elective hours of supplemental experience. Learn more here.

How do I submit AIA Continuing Education learning units (LUs) for IDP Supplemental Experience hours?

    Get an AIA number. If you are an AIA or AIAS member, use your AIA or AIAS member number. If you are not an AIA member, please see the next question; “I am not an AIA member. How do I submit AIA LUs for IDP Supplemental Experience hours?”

    Attend an AIA approved course, event, or complete a self-designed activity. AIA Components and AIA CES registered providers sponsor continuing education events. When you attend an event, follow the AIA registered architects lead by signing in with your name and AIA number. The event provider is responsible for submitting your information to AIA, which maintains CES records.

    If the activity was performed on your own, such as completing the questions for a continuing education article from Architect Magazine, then you are responsible for submitting a self-report form online to the AIA with your AIA number.

    Download your AIA transcript. You can download a copy of your AIA transcript by logging into the AIA CES Discovery website at any time (or request a transcript in writing, one free each year).

    Report your hours via My NCARB. Report your work through My NCARB by adding new supplemental experience under the "Experience Reports" tab. A PDF of your AIA transcript documenting completion of AIA-approved courses must be uploaded to My NCARB at that time.

I am not an AIA member. How do I submit AIA LUs as IDP Supplemental Experience hours?

Even though you are not an AIA member, the AIA will maintain a record of your continuing education so that you may apply it toward IDP supplemental experience. The AIA supports this program for NCARB record holders currently in the IDP. Additional information and the request form are available here.

You will be assigned an Intern Transcript customer number for use in tracking your credits with this resource. The AIA-issued number is not an AIA member number and does not provide you with any additional member benefits. However, this number should be used when signing in to all AIA-approved continuing education courses.

Refer to the steps in the previous question to receive IDP credit following attendance at any AIA continuing education course.

How do I get credit for previous seminars and lectures when I did not provide my AIA number?

If you attended lectures or seminars and did not provide your AIA number, AIA will not have a record of the credit you earned. The AIA will not record credit that is reported more than one year after it was earned.

To get credit on your AIA transcript for a seminar you attended where you didn’t provide your AIA number, you will need to contact the provider of that seminar and ask them to resubmit the attendance form with your name and AIA number included. The provider may or may not do this depending on their policy. Or if you received a certificate with an AIA CES logo on it, please email the AIA CES team at for further instructions.

Why are my AIA Continuing Education hours displaying as LU hours on my AIA transcript?

All of the credit you earn will show up on your AIA transcript under “LU Hours.” Registered architects’ continuing education is measured in LUs or Learning Units. As previously stated, one AIA CES Learning Unit equals one IDP Experience Hour. This calculation is automated in NCARB’s Online Reporting System when uploading a AIA Continuing Education as new experience for the IDP.

Mentoring FAQs



To be an IDP mentor, do I have to have completed IDP?

No, IDP mentors need not have completed IDP. The only requirement for being an IDP mentor is that the individual is a licensed architect. For some IDP experience areas, a mentor can act as supervisor.

Isn't it better for a mentee's supervisor and mentor to be the same person?

Mentors are licensed architects who commit their time, talents, and guidance as mentors. Supervisors supervise, assess their intern's quality of work, and certify their intern's documentation of training activity. Though the supervisor may cross into the realm of mentoring in his or her daily interaction with the intern, becoming the intern's formal IDP mentor is not ideal. An outside mentor provides an objective perspective on the intern's experience.

How can I end my mentoring relationship as a mentor?

When a mentor wishes to bring closure to a mentoring relationship, following these simple steps makes the transition a smooth process:

    1. Discuss the decision with the firm’s IDP contact person before talking to the mentee.

    2. Arrange an in-person appointment with your intern to discuss your decision (face to face is always preferred if possible).

    3. Allow the intern to share his or her feelings about the decision.

    4. Never make a promise you cannot keep.

    5. Communicate with the intern’s supervisor if it is warranted.

    6. Identify individuals and/or resources to assist the intern in finding another mentor.

Emerging Professional’s Companion (EPC) FAQs



What is the Emerging Professional’s Companion?

The Emerging Professional’s Companion (EPC) is a resource developed jointly by the AIA and NCARB primarily for use by interns to gain IDP credit. Interns can complete exercises and activities to apply as IDP core and elective experience hours. Learn more at

How do I get IDP credit for Emerging Professional’s Companion work?

Completed EPC activities can be approved through the NCARB Online Reporting System; however an AIA member number or temporary AIA Number is required. Interns may request an AIA number here. Learn more about calculating credit on the Submit for Credit webpage on the EPC website.

Foreign Architect and International Employment FAQs



I have a degree from a foreign university. What do I need to do?

NOTE: Be certain that the state in which you want to obtain your license will accept your combination of education and experience. State requirements may differ from IDP requirements.Learn more about NCARB's State Board Requirements.

Getting your degree evaluated is the first step.

Generally an evaluation by the EESA-NCARB Educational Evaluation Services for Architects is required. The cost will vary, and amounts not insignificant.

EESA assists those individuals who wish to apply for NCARB certification or for registration by an NCARB member board and who do not have a NAAB-accredited professional degree in architecture from U.S. school of architecture. EESA often works with internationally educated applicants and broadly experienced architects.

NCARB relies on the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) to evaluate international education. Generally, the process takes six to eight weeks to complete once all of the necessary paperwork has been received.

NAAB evaluates your degree, not architecture schools or programs. This means that each individual is evaluated separately. No schools or programs outside of the U.S. or Canada are automatically accepted.

I would like to practice as an architect in the U.S. Do I qualify for the "broadly experienced architect" program?

NOTE: Be certain that the state in which you want to obtain your license will accept the broadly experienced architect designation. State requirements may differ from the following information. Learn more about NCARB's State Board Requirements.

The process to qualify as a "broadly experienced architect" (BEA) is a rigorous one.

A Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) is one who does not hold an NAAB-accredited degree and can verify that he or she has experience as an architect in comprehensive architecture practice over a prescribed number of years, as noted by NCARB.

If you hold a pre-professional degree in architecture that is a component of an NAAB-accredited, CACB-accredited, or CACB-certified professional degree program, you must demonstrate six years of practice.

If you hold a bachelor's degree or higher degree in another field, you must demonstrate eight years of practice. If you hold no degree, you must demonstrate ten years of practice.

Once your eligibility for BEA has been determined, you must obtain an evaluation of your post-secondary education from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NAAB administers the Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) program, which compares your education with the NCARB education requirements. NAAB charges a fee for this service. If you have very little or no post-secondary education, such an evaluation is not required.

Your completed application will be reviewed by NCARB's BEA Committee. An interview is required of all candidates to verify the material presented in their applications.

This process usually takes a minimum of 9 to 12 months to complete. Learn more about NCARB's Broadly Experienced Architect Certification Program.

What about employment outside the United States?

NOTE: Be certain that the state in which you want to obtain your license will accept overseas work experience. State requirements may differ from NCARB's education and training standards. Be sure to check with NCARB on all experience setting eligibilities.

Overseas employment is both personally and professionally beneficial, and may be applied toward the IDP. See the current IDP Guidelines for supervision requirements.

If you are working under the direct supervision of a U.S. or Canadian licensed architect, you may accrue unlimited IDP credit for your work experience in any of the IDP experience categories (design and construction, construction administration, management, and related activities).

If you are working under the direct supervision of an architect not registered in the U.S./Canada engaged in the practice of architecture outside of the U.S. or Canada, you may accrue up to 1,860 hours in any of the IDP experience categories or areas.

If you are working under the direct supervision of a person practicing an allied profession (engineering, construction, or landscape architecture, for example), you may NOT accrue any core experience hours for foreign employment.

Generally, work done under the direct supervision of a licensed architect in a foreign country may be applied to towards the IDP experience requirements, although there may be some restrictions. Learn more about the IDP Experience Setting requirements by downloading the most current IDP Guidelines from NCARB’s website.

Student Loan FAQs



How can I defer my student loans?

Deferring a loan is at the discretion of the lender.

Don't assume that your loan may be deferred if it was granted after July 1, 1993. Your loan may be deferred, but you need to contact the lender.

If you can defer the loan, you'll need two certifications. The certifications CANNOT come from either the AIA or NCARB. One must come from your supervisor and certify that you are employed in an acceptable training setting. The other must come from the registration board and certify (1) that the internship is required, (2) the length of the internship, and (3) that a baccalaureate degree was required before entering the internship.

Download and read the most current version of the NCARB IDP Guidelines. Be certain to check with your lending institution first. Remember, under current federal tax law, a portion of the interest on your student loan may be a deductible expense. Consult a tax specialist or for more information.


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