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NCARB Changes IDP, ARE Sequencing Requirement

June 28, 2007

by Kelly Davidson

More than 350 board members and invited guests from industry organizations convened in Denver last week for the 88th annual meeting of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Representatives from nearly all 54 jurisdictions, except for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, attended the multi-day event.

During his keynote address, Chris Luebkeman, director of Global Foresight and Innovation for Arup in London, urged attendees to make decisions that will “survive and thrive” well into the future. Trained as a geologist, structural engineer, and architect, Luebkeman described himself as a generalist “in the spaces between professions.” Using a classic illustration from the children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh—a scene in which Christopher Robin drags Pooh down the stairs, bumping the bear’s head at each step along the way—Luebkeman said that his job is to help people “stop bumping and think very clearly about what we’re doing.” His message made its way into several of the meetings during which stakeholders discussed resolutions on this year’s agenda.

Two proposed resolutions sparked the most debate: both related to the sequencing of NCARB’s Intern Development Program (IDP) and Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Only one of them passed, with a couple of changes. The first amended point established NCARB’s position on sequencing. Until now, the board had no position on sequencing but recommended that candidates earn a National Architectural Accrediting Board-accredited degree, complete IDP, and then pass the ARE. The amendment removes the requirement that candidates must finish IDP before being eligible to complete the ARE, and it formally acknowledges a jurisdiction’s right to allow candidates to complete the ARE and IDP concurrently. Nine jurisdictions already allow such concurrent sequencing.

The second amended point within this adopted resolution could have legislative implications for more than 40 jurisdictions. In this amendment, NCARB officially discourages jurisdictions from impeding the reciprocity and the acceptance of the NCARB Certificate because of differences in a candidate’s sequencing of IDP and ARE. The amendment officially reinforces that NCARB certification is the preeminent qualification for practicing in different jurisdictions—and that once a candidate is certified, his or her sequencing should no longer be a consideration in the reciprocity process. Some jurisdictions with laws that do not currently allow certification with concurrent sequencing may want or need to revise their legislation to allow more flexibility in reciprocity process.

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Of the eight resolutions passed, two others increased the size of NCARB’s board of directors by two people, for a total of 14 members. Starting next year, a board executive and a public member will be appointed. Public members, often individuals who are not architects, already serve on several state boards. NCARB hopes that the national public member will enrich discussions and decision-making processes with unique, outside perspectives.

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