Practicing ArchitecturePracticing Architecture
Changes to IDP Requirements
Dear Fellow AIA Member:
The challenges are arduous for emerging professionals who choose the process of the IDP and ARE to attain licensure. The AIA continues to focus efforts and resources to represent our members in aggressively addressing the issues that have an impact on the goal of becoming a licensed professional. Despite the best of intentions to help emerging professionals on this path, the IDP, in particular, became prescriptive, confusing, bureaucratic, and increasingly difficult to navigate in a reasonable time period.
I’m happy to report that is changing thanks to the bold leadership of the Intern Development Program Advisory Committee (IDPAC), the cross-collateral committee co-chaired by the AIA and NCARB. Effective December 16, the minimum duration requirement for work performed that qualifies for IDP experience credit will be eliminated. Interns will now be able to earn IDP experience credit for valid work regardless of the time spent on a project. This includes credit for valid experience acquired over winter and spring breaks while in school.
I first became aware of the growing disconnect between modern practice and the IDP as a firm principal. My firm was committed to mentoring, yet because it was a small firm it was difficult to keep an intern for the required 15 hours a week for a minimum of eight consecutive weeks. During the Recession, when many firms had to downsize, taking on interns for a long period became virtually impossible. I was disturbed by what I saw as a barrier for those young professionals pursuing licensure.
What I was experiencing in my firm was not unique. When I became co-chair of the IDPAC (renamed recently as the IAC—the Internship Advisory Committee), we brought this issue to the committee deliberations. Further, in our discussions, we gained a deeper appreciation of how today’s practice offered new and valuable options to prepare emerging professionals for licensure. We on the committee had an obligation to respond both to the concerns and to the new opportunities for learning.
Let me be clear: This change in no way dilutes the obligation the AIA and NCARB share to provide the best preparation for graduates of accredited architecture education programs interested in becoming licensed practitioners. There is no lessening of our commitment to the highest standards of professional practice in serving the public health, safety, and welfare. In fact, this change will benefit the profession by encouraging more young people with talent and vision to become architects by recognizing valid practical experience gained regardless of the timeframe or duration.
The leadership of the NCARB Board, in approving these modifications to the employment duration as well as the eligibility requirements of IDP, is one chapter of a larger discussion: What is the best and most efficient process to attain the core experience to become a successful 21st-century licensed professional? It’s an ongoing discussion, one that will benefit from the comments and suggestions of AIA members.
This decision to remove the duration requirement is only one of many considerations that all of us need to collaborate on to continue improving the process and outcome of the IDP. It was this quality of collaboration, together with the leadership of the IDPAC co-chairs Dennis Ward, AIA, Jon Baker, FAIA, and Kristine Harding, AIA, along with the leadership of current IAC committee co-chairs John A. Padilla, AIA, and Scott Veazey, AIA, that made this change possible. To them, to today’s IAC members, and to all those AIA members whose voices were heard, I want to say thank you. Your courage and vision to effect positive changes to IDP will benefit every emerging professional.
Mickey Jacob, FAIA
The American Institute of Architects