The Value of Continuing Education for Interns and Emerging Professionals: Interview with Kevin A. Fitzgerald, AIA, PMP, Director, Resource Architect
Maria Sigillito, Manager, Marketing spoke with Kevin Fitzgerald, AIA, PMP, Director, Resource Architect about the value of continuing education providers presenting courses to Interns and Emerging Professionals.
What is the Internship Development Program (IDP)?
The Intern Development Program is a requirement in most jurisdictions for licensure. The program outlines work settings and the experience that an intern must gain in order to sit for the Architect Registration Exam (ARE.) IDP is a program of National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (see www.NCARB.org for more information.)
Could you define supplemental education?
Supplemental Experience is a category in IDP where an intern can gain credit by doing certain exercises or activities, which include attending AIA/CES approved provider continuing education courses. Eligible supplemental experience topics are as broad as the topics most providers offer (a great opportunity for providers!) Ultimately, once the credit is posted to the AIA/CES transcript by the provider, it’s up to the intern to submit the credit to NCARB for credit.
As noted in the NCARB’s Intern Development Program (IDP) Guidelines, interns are required to earn 5,600 hours of training in order to satisfy the IDP experience requirements, most of which must be hours working in an architectural setting. But, new IDP rules allow interns to earn a significant portion through supplemental experience which include courses hosted by an AIA Provider! It’s also important to note that the recently licensed individuals are still learning, and can benefit from continuing education.
What is an Emerging Professional as defined by the AIA?
Emerging Professionals are architecture students, intern architects, and the recently licensed less than 10 years. The AIAS, National Associates Committee, Young Architect’s Forum are AIA groups for Emerging Professionals. The recently licensed are considered in the emerging stage of their careers as they grow from project manager to firm principal.
All Emerging Professionals need some form of continuing education. Generally, what is taught through provider courses is something every young architect should know. If a seasoned architect needs to know it, a new architect needs to learn about it. The instruction level may be different due to an individual’s experience and knowledge base, which may vary widely. However, *advanced* groups of courses might also suit the needs of Emerging Professionals.
What role does an Emerging Professional play in the spec writing process?
Emerging Professionals that work as draftspersons or designers conduct research on materials and products, and have the ability to act as an influencer on what products get specified. Often they do the research for the project architect or project manager, who ultimately makes decision to specify. Emerging Professionals are the ones calling representatives for samples, cut sheets, or CAD or BIM files for their products, and might be making the case for your product over another’s product.
What is the long-term goal of exposing Emerging Professionals to continuing education?
Emerging Professionals can maximize their continuing education activities as an opportunity to become better designers, better practitioners, and better technicians. Augmenting what they learned in school or on the job is crucial. To be good architects, EP’s should study and keep abreast of developing trends. Every project an architect works on has a learning curve - continuing education has to be offered on a regular basis to support the learning necessary to achieve professional success.
How will Emerging Professionals define the future of the profession, and what should providers of continuing education do in response to their actions?
Emerging Professionals have to keep up with new information, new products, and new trends. However, continuing education providers must be as informed or more informed of the design practice and emerging trends to offer information of value to the course participants. It is a two-way dialogue; both EP’s and providers have to be informed of upcoming trends, especially technology, and to quickly adapt to new programs, software, and ideas. It’s important to remember that Emerging Professionals are comfortable with and amenable to change in the profession.
How could components/firms as continuing education providers support the careers of Emerging Professionals?
Components and firms should take the time to listen to their local Emerging Professionals through focus groups, course evaluations, or informal online surveys. They should find out what the Emerging Professionals are addressing at work, help identify deficiencies, and discover in which areas are they trying to improve. Providers should continually ask Emerging Professionals - What do you need?
AIA components and firm CES providers can also introduce Emerging Professionals to a deeper exploration of knowledge which includes project management methods. Quarterly lunch seminars that introduce new subject matter can make a big impact. Many Emerging Professionals focus on problem solving through design work, and they may not be as knowledgeable in project management or firm management. Components and firms are in a position to introduce Emerging Professionals to more comprehensive, global view of practice and design, beyond their day-to-day tasks. Introducing EP’s to issues such as ownership transition/firm management will get them thinking in ways that might inform and ultimately improve their daily performance.
Everyday AIA Providers of all types help to fill in the gaps of individual knowledge and experience, and by doing so provide valuable support to Emerging Professionals. I encourage you to continue this good work!
Note: Original interview published June 2011, revised may 2012 to comply with IDP 2.0.