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IDP Firm Awards Program

Since 1991, the IDP Outstanding Firm Awards program, administered by the AIA/NCARB Intern Development Program Advisory Committee (IDPAC), has recognized firms who actively embrace the Intern Development Program (IDP) and demonstrate a commitment to interns by making the path to licensure an integral part of the firm’s culture. In 2008, the program expanded to recognize “IDP Firms” that meet twelve essential criteria in the categories of Mentoring, Supervising, Training Opportunities, Commitment to IDP, and ARE Support. The IDP Outstanding Firm Award is reserved for firms who meet these essential criteria with excellence in these categories as well as demonstrate an “innovative” effort or outstanding practice in their efforts with the Intern Development Program.




Download the full guidelines (PDF), or review “Guidelines – 12 Criteria in Five (5) Categories+” below, and determine whether your firm prefers to apply for the IDP Firm Award or the IDP Outstanding Firm Award for 2014-2017.

Download the application for the award which your firm has chosen to apply:
2014-2017 IDP Firm Award
(PDF Form)
2014-2017 IDP Outstanding Firm Award
(PDF Form)

Each application form can be locally saved to your computer, printed for review, and edited multiple times before final submission.

When signing the document, a digital signature must be used. The document can be signed by simply clicking on the signature box and using an existing digital signature or by following the prompts to create a new (free) digital signature. When saving the document (as the digital signature feature prompts you to do), please title the document as follows: 2014-2017_FirmName.pdf.


Submission can occur one of two ways:

    • Click on “Submit Form” in upper right hand corner. The document will prompt you with a window requesting your email address and name. You will then be asked to select which email client you would prefer to use to send the document. Please check your “Sent Mail” folder to confirm that the document has been sent.

    • Email your completed form to directly using your preferred email client.

Please note that the application should be sent as one (1) file (with any supporting materials added to the document following the completed form), titled as 2014-2017_FirmName.pdf, and may not exceed 5MB. If you need assistance with any step of the application process, please email

Guidelines – 12 Criteria in Five (5) Categories+

Download the Guidelines (PDF)

Category 1: Mentoring
1.1 Mentoring Culture:
Establish a culture in which licensed architects mentor interns (within or outside of the firm) in all areas of practice.
1.2 Broad Mentoring Opportunities:
Firm encourages interns to establish an IDP mentor outside the office as suggested by NCARB in the IDP Guidelines.

Category 2: Supervising
2.1 Progress Reviews:
Firm provides, at minimum, progress reviews which are in compliance with the parameters of the IDP reporting rule. During progress reviews, each intern’s progress toward the completion of the IDP experience areas and NCARB experience reports are reviewed and assessed by his or her supervisor.
2.2 Supervisor Resources:
All supervisors have knowledge of current IDP Guidelines and the requirements for registration in the jurisdiction.

Category 3: Training Opportunities
3.1 Supplemental Experience:
Firm provides opportunities for supplemental experience via activities in addition to interns’ routine work assignments.
3.2 Broad Training Opportunities:
Firm facilitates opportunities to earn IDP experience hours in all 17 experience areas through exposure to projects at various stages.

Category 4: Commitment to the IDP
4.1 IDP Auxiliary Coordinator:
Firm has an IDP Auxiliary Coordinator registered with NCARB. The coordinator acts as a resource for interns within the firm for IDP-related questions and is the firm’s liaison to the IDP State Coordinator.
4.2 NCARB Record:
All employees defined by the firm as “interns” have established an NCARB Record.
4.3 NCARB Record Fees:
Firm pays 100 percent of NCARB Record application fee and/or NCARB Record maintenance fees through the completion of the ARE®, while intern is employed at the firm.

Category 5: ARE® Support
5.1 ARE® Administrative and Technical Support:
Firm provides administrative and technical support, including furnishing of resources, study materials, and practice exams.
5.2 ARE® Reimbursement:
Firm reimburses interns for 100 percent of the cost of all ARE® divisions passed.
5.3 ARE® Paid Time Off:
Firm offers paid time off to interns to take ARE® divisions.

Category 6: Innovation (IDP Outstanding Firm Award applicants only)
To qualify for the IDP Outstanding Firm Award, each firm must first meet the twelve criteria stated above and demonstrate their outstanding practices by completing additional statements for six (6) program categories, outlined here. The “innovation” statement should describe efforts of the firm that are particularly unique, and may be a second outstanding practice in one of the five categories or one that lies outside of the outlined categories.

The “Outstanding” Difference

Recipients of the IDP Outstanding Firm Award go above and beyond the twelve criteria in their support of interns and IDP and complete the new category; Category 6: Innovation. Firms that receive the IDP Outstanding Firm Award increase their prestige, value, and distinction amongst peers during the designation period. The IDP Outstanding Firm Award also demonstrates a positive firm culture and enhances employee attraction and retention.

Program ideas from 2010-2013 IDP Outstanding Firm Award recipients include consideration of a salary reward program to invigorate interns’ commitment to licensure by providing a $500 annual salary boost for each ARE division passed. You can view more award submissions and AIA Best Practices developed for the award categories: IDP Outstanding Firm Awards Best Practices.

Press Release:

2012-2015 IDP Firm Awards Program Press Release

2011-2014 IDP Firm Awards Program Press Release

2010-2013 IDP Firm Awards Program Press Release

IDP Outstanding Firm Award Recipients

(Award recipients listed alphabetically)




The Cuningham Group, Minneapolis, MN

EYP, Albany, NY; Boston, MA; New York, NY; Washington, D.C

The Freelon Group Architects, Durham, NC

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, New York, NY; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Washington, D.C.; London; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Mumbai; Abu Dhabi

Wiley|Wilson, Richmond, VA


BLDD Architects, Inc., Decatur, IL

BRR Architecture, Inc., Merriam, KS

Clark Nexsen, Norfolk, VA

Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans, LA

Scott&Goble Architects, Tulsa, OK

Seay, Seay, & Litchfield, Montgomery, AL


Gensler, Washington, DC

M+W U.S., Inc, Chicago, IL

Richard Wittschiebe Hand , Atlanta, GA

Press Release:

2012-2015 IDP Firm Awards Program Press Release

2011-2014 IDP Firm Awards Program Press Release

2010-2013 IDP Firm Awards Program Press Release

IDP Firm Award Recipients

(Award recipients listed alphabetically)




Architecture Incorporated, Sioux Falls, SD

BBH Design, Raleigh, NC

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Wilkes-Barre, PA

IKM Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

Mancini Duffy, New York, NY

McKinney York Architects, Austin, TX

STOA Architects, Pensacola, FL

ZGF Architects, LLP, Portland, OR


Blitch Knevel Architects, New Orleans, LA

BRR Architecture, Inc., Atlanta, GA; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Bentonville, AR;

Darden Architects, Inc., Fresno, CA

O’Connell Robertson, Austin, TX; San Antonio, TX

Trivers Associates, St. Louis, MO


BBH Design, Raleigh, NC

BLTa Architects, Philadelphia, PA

Dalpos Architects & Integrators, Syracuse, NY

The Design Partnership LLP, San Francisco, CA

DLR Group, Phoenix, AZ

English + Associates Architects, Inc., Houston, TX

FKP Architects, Houston, TX

GUND Partnership, Cambridge, MA

Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc., Lubbock, TX

Yost Grube Hall Architecture, Portland, OR

Frequently Asked Questions



Our firm does not have information to submit for Category 6: Innovation.
Which award should we apply for?

You may apply for the IDP Firm Award by verifying compliance with Categories 1-5 only.

Can we submit one application for all the locations of our firm?

No. Separate applications must be submitted for each office location.

Our firm received a 2012-2015 IDP Firm Award. Do we need to apply for the 2014-2017 IDP Firm Award?

No. Award duration is listed in the award title your firm has received. Firms need only to reapply in the final year of the award duration.

Can my firm apply for the IDP Outstanding Firm Award on our first submission?

Absolutely. The jury may decide to confer the IDP Outstanding Firm Award to your firm. They may see room for growth and choose to confer the IDP Firm Award. It is possible they will not see evidence of the required criteria, so please be as specific and inclusive as possible in regards to your firms programming

If my firm has been awarded the IDP Firm Award, when can we apply for the IDP Outstanding Firm Award?

Firms are always eligible to apply for the IDP Outstanding Firm Award. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed after the next deadline. See the awards program homepage for the next deadline. If your firm is preparing a submission, make sure the criteria have not changed. The IDPAC may update the criteria after each jury.

Is there a required waiting period between submissions?

No. Your firm may reapply and be reviewed at the next jury. It will be important to review successful entries on the awards website and to demonstrate changes in your program through your new submission.

Our firm has multiple offices. How does this reflect within the program?

The short answer is: firms who do not meet this requirement will not be considered by the jury for selection.

The long answer is: it is important that architecture firms aid interns in completing their IDP and becoming licensed regardless of the circumstances surrounding the day-to-day operations of the firm.

Your state may not require IDP and so your firm’s interns can become licensed in your state without it, however, many states do require IDP and do not permit reciprocity for individuals who have obtained licenses without completing IDP. The IDP Advisory Committee (IDPAC) supports preparing individuals to be able to easily obtain licenses in all 54 jurisdictions. Following the NCARB certification model, which requires individuals to complete the IDP and pass the ARE, is the best way to pursue licensure because it is the easiest way to obtain reciprocity in other states.

It is for this reason that the award guidelines require all interns in the firm to be enrolled in the IDP. Firms who do not meet this requirement will not be considered for the awards. We suggest that the firms

Some of our interns don’t want to become licensed architects. Do we still have to enroll them in the IDP?

To qualify for the award, 100 percent of your interns must be enrolled in IDP.

Interns who, at the time you compile your awards entry, say that they do not want to pursue licensure may change their mind later in their career. If you have not enrolled them in the IDP they will be forced to start from scratch, even if they have worked in the industry for many years.

It is for this reason that the award guidelines require all interns in the firm to be enrolled in the IDP. Firms who do not meet this requirement will not be considered for the awards. We suggest that the firms in this situation institute a plan to enroll all of their interns in the IDP and apply after such time.

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