NCARB Streamlines Its Architectural Internship Process

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The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) recently announced that it is making significant changes to its Intern Development Program (IDP). This is the first major overhaul of the internship rules in more than 50 years.

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The changes includes 2 phases: (1) the removal of “elective” hourly requirements, and (2) condensing IDP’s experience areas from the current 17 into 6 “practice-based categories,” linked to future sections planned for the revised Architect Registration Examination (ARE) 5.0. These changes will be implemented beginning mid-2015 and mid-2016, respectively.

Graphic courtesy of NCARB.

Graphic courtesy of NCARB.

By removing the “elective” IDP hours, NCARB is decreasing the total required from 5,600 to 3,740 (still based on the seventeen “core experience areas”, until ARE 5.0 is in place). NCARB made this decision to cut down on the average amount of years it takes “interns” to become licensed. The current average is more than 7 — 5 years for IDP and another 2.2 to complete the ARE. Under the revised IDP, NCARB estimates an average of 3 to 4 years to complete the program.

In mid-2016, the ARE’s “experience categories” will be downsized to the 6 outlined in 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture, and then officially implemented through ARE 5.0 in late 2016. The revisions are meant to reflect updates in the way architectural practice works today. Developments in technology and information communications have changed so much that the more than 50-year-old internship process needed an update.

NCARB also stresses that in order to actually realize whatever changes it makes to IDP, the adjustments must be enforced by its 54 jurisdictional boards across the US.

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