Intern Development Program
The Intern Development Program (IDP) was initially developed by the AIA and NCARB in the mid-1970s as a voluntary program to document a diversity of training experiences toward becoming a registered architect. Now governed and administered exclusively by the NCARB, IDP is a minimum three-year program. The truth is interns take an average of five years to complete the required 5,600 hours, executed through sixteen different training areas. NCARB's IDP is also an intern-driven program, meaning that success in the program relies on individual initiative and persuasiveness with your employer, regarding the relevance of work-related assignments to NCARB's IDP criteria.
While NCARB's IDP itself may seem onerous and time-consuming, any frustration is only compounded by having to verify previous work history, particularly if you have changed jobs. Additionally, many states have limits on the amount of previous work that will qualify. In other words, you should start participation at the beginning of your first acceptable employment.
When considering employment options and documenting IDP activity, you should understand your registration board's conditions governing training. Training conditions govern not only whether IDP training units can be recorded, but also the training categories in which training units can be recorded. For example, training acquired under the daily supervision of a registered architect can be recorded in all IDP training categories; however, training acquired under the daily supervision of an interior designer or contractor can only be recorded in IDP Training Categories C (Management) and D (Related Activities).
Be sure to check out NCARB's conditions governing IDP training. (see Appendix L of IDP Guidelines). You should compare your board's training conditions with the NCARB conditions. Where differences exist, you must first comply with your board's conditions; however, compliance with the NCARB conditions is recommended to facilitate future registration in other states.