Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You've got 6 months...

So, in two days, NCARB begins its vaunted 6 month rule. The short of it, every six months you should file IDP hours. Anything falling outside that 6 month block? It gets left behind.

In principle, I get it. NCARB is trying to prevent what many interns have done...wait. Wait until the last possible moment to file their experience, which, done in a rush, is probably inaccurate. After all, can you really tell me everything you've done over the course of one year? And what category it falls under, and how many hours really apply?

But, to he honest, I'm frustrated, annoyed, verging on angry that NCARB has decided to pursue IDP in this manner. Why? Well, though it is great that you want us to get in our hours in a timely and more accurate manner, the 6 month rule does not, in any substantial way, ensure that I complete IDP in a timely manner.

If NCARB can require us, as interns, to show competency in specific knowledge areas, they it should also provide a more substantial method for ensuring that we can, in fact, get that experience. For instance, I have approximately 5 times the amount of hours needed for Schematic Design. But, because of where I worked, and how they executed projects, I am far from completing Construction Document hours, though much of what I was counting for Schematic design would, if our firm was structured differently, fall under Construction Document hours. So what choice did I have? I had to leave a job that I quite good at, since I wanted to get licensed sometime within the next decade.

Effectively, the onus is on us interns to get through it. If our offices do not have the projects that can provide us the range of experience we need, then we must wait or move on. If we have been sidelined, we are supposed to demand change. Otherwise, languish, despite the 3-year limit on your NCARB number.

Look, I am not saying interns should be able to lie back and have the experience handed to them. But, if NCARB sees this as a crucial step towards educating responsible practitioners, then there should be a more rigorous framework that provide those experiences in a timely manner. To have a governing body say "you must" while simultaneously saying "figure it out" is, in my opinion, ridiculous and irresponsible.

Look, I agree with NCARB. The current education that architects receive does not prepare them for professional practice. But, if that is the assessment, then overhaul the system. Move towards the model of other professions, such as medicine. Extend the educational requirements and time frame, provide co-ops or standardized work experiences similar to medical residencies. Schedule the exams in stages after certain experiences have been complete, symbolizing competency and skill in that area. And then, after our education, if we specialize, we head to firms which do that work. But, if we wish to practice generally, we will have had the experience and exposure to graduate as Architects, not as interns.

Instead, we have those who have practiced for years, even decades, who are not licensed, but certainly skilled. And we have those who have completed their licensing exams, but are not truly prepared to operate on their own. We have a mess. Let's recognize that fact. And let's fix it.

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Blogger mgerwing said...

I amazed that NCARB is putting more roadblocks in the way of registration. I licensed in the pre-IDP days when the average time between graduation and registration was 5 years. It has now ballooned to 9 years and growing. You can argue that there are too many architects, but surely this is no way to winnow the field.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to what the younger generation of interns wish to gain out of licensure. That may seem like a silly question but I've seen a number of interns and recent graduate be completely satisfied with creating a bunch of what could be considered paper architecture. They design, they draw, they make pretty pictures. While many are very very talented and they're designs are wonderful (I'll stay away from any arguments of whether or not they're buildable or not), but the work has slim to no chance of ever being built. So the question is, are there individuals out there that want that for their careers, and if so, then they're technically not an architect (unless they actually take the test and pass and gain through fees their state's license). Are they happy with that? If so then why do they need to deal with NCARB anyway? I just don't understand why someone just wants to draw and never have something built, or only be concerned with theory and rhetoric, design speak and buzzwords. It sounds great, but true clients see right through that. The commission that comes along for that type are few and far between. The vast majority of architecture (ok, whether it's really architecture or not is debatable) are projects that are very every day, run of the mill, that have much more adjacency and planning issues than the high end design concepts that on occasion actually get built. So as the talented designer creates, draws, and theorized and one day actually may get the commission of a project to express their design in which then requires teaming with an actual licensed architect and a builder to build the project, what do they do?

10:16 AM  

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