ARE Concurrent with Internship
Most states still require completion of NCARB's IDP before young professionals can start taking the ARE. If licensure requires three equal phases--education, experience, and examination--why integrate education and practice, but not practice and the exam? The good news is that young people across the country can already start taking the ARE, as soon as they feel prepared to try, regardless of what your particular state licensing board says. NCARB's system of reciprocity enables exactly the kind of professional mobility and recognition that you need.
Existing Opportunities to Take the ARE Concurrent with Internship
Texas' forms are not available online, but you can click here for more information. The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners also assesses a one-time application fee of $100.
To get a sense of the NCARB record and certificate application processes as well as the associated fees, click here.
Will States Recognize Exams from Other States?
Those numbers mask a wide variety of understanding. Some answers--both yes and no--were confident and convincing, while others were not. When pressed, some hesitant but clear yes answers turned to some version of, "well, it's up to our Board, but it would probably be fine." One board executive in the northeast volunteered that they had, in fact, seen a number of candidates go through California to take the ARE. Another board staff member in the Midwest volunteered that they had rejected a candidate's tests from Texas.
However, every state board we spoke with (except for one in the Midwest) agreed that, regardless of the timing of the exams, if a candidate completed licensure through another state and got an NCARB Certificate, that state would grant a reciprocal license.
5 + 3 + 2 = 5 + 2 + 3
This is about knowing your options and being smart. If your local state board genuinely cares about the timing of the exam, they will "look behind" the NCARB Certificate to ensure that all candidates meet the same requirements (and NCARB takes a clear moral stance on that sort of second-guessing by local boards). If your state board will accept an out-of-state NCARB Certificate regardless of when that candidate took the exam, then keeping IDP and the ARE separate is not actually a requirement for licensure in your state. Your state is just slower at taking down regulatory obstacles for in-state candidates than for out-of-state candidates. And if that's the case, why not join the out-of-state candidates?
Taking the ARE "early" is like taking advanced placement classes in high school--you're not yet in college, but once you do get in, you've already got credit. It's also like getting IDP credit for working while in school. Many people uncomfortable with allowing access to ARE divisions while in internship will reflexively spout off about the critical importance of students getting practical experience (and enrolled in IDP) while in school. They should. We spout off about that too. But we value seamlessness throughout the entire licensure process, not just some parts.
What are young professionals saying about it?
What are our national organizations saying about it?
With the exception of the AIAS, which fully endorses this opportunity, the other four organizations don't seem to know what to say. The AIA recently drafted, but then tabled, a vague policy on the ARE and its timing. NCARB's website says they have "No position," though three years ago its Board voted 11-1 against allowing the ARE on graduation. To our knowledge, the ACSA and NAAB have no public positions either.
The collateral organizations apparently like to collate together, however, and in this form they've said plenty. The attendees at the 1999 Collateral Internship Summit, the subsequent 2001 CITF Final Report, and, most recently, the 2003 CIMG Final Report, all specifically recommend that the ARE be allowed immediately upon graduation. The relevant text of both reports follows, with links to the full report.
Collateral Internship Task Force Final Report
VI. Examination should be permitted upon graduation
"Recipients of professional degrees from accredited programs should have the responsibility and discretion to decide when to take any or all parts of the Architect Registration Examination.
1. Regulatory boards should be encouraged to permit recipients of professional degrees from accredited programs (or their equivalents) to take the examination upon graduation. (NCARB)
2. The emerging professional must understand that experience, in addition to education and examination, is required to obtain registration. (AIAS, ACSA, NAAB, NCARB)"
Collateral Internship Management Group Final Report
"In order to address concerns expressed by the collaterals, the CIMG carefully reconsidered the proposals inherent in the CITF recommendations, specifically:
Ability to take the examination upon graduation.
The CIMG reaffirmed the nine recommendations of the CITF Final Report and concluded that these should remain an eventual goal. However, the Group modified the CITF's concept of the education/experience/practice continuum for the near future. In this scenario, the CIMG recognizes the current multi-part ARE and encourages, but does not require, those parts of the exam that reflect knowledge gained through education to be taken upon graduation. Critical to the success of this model would be a new NCARB policy recommending that all of its member boards 'accept all examination divisions regardless of when they are taken.'"
In California in 1998, there were 3,342 divisions of the ARE taken by 2,600 eligible candidates. Two years later, in 2000, the number of divisions offered increased 10% to 3,676. By 2002, however, the number of divisions offered increased an astounding 70% to 6,197. Between 1998 and 2002, the number of ARE divisions offered annually in California increased over 85%.
Over that 1998-2002 period, however, the total number of exam candidates increased almost 200%--from 2,600 to over 6,700. In other words, an eligible candidate for the ARE in California took on average less than one of the nine divisions of the ARE during 2002.
But California is just weird, right? Surely the national average is more than one division per candidate per year, right?
California's numbers are actually slightly better than the national average.
NCARB's 2003 statistics show that 37,011 eligible candidates took an estimated 32,500 divisions of the ARE--also less than one division per candidate per year, and actually an even smaller number than California's average in 2002. As a reminder, these numbers are divisions taken, not divisions passed.
California licensed 874 architects in 1992, 408 in 2002, and 389 in 2004. It's just a fact. But in a time when we allegedly want more architects involved in more areas of society, it seems that we're necessarily going backwards at an alarming rate.