Attaining licensure is one of the monumental steps in any professional’s career. I recall it was that way for me. As a firm principal and Board member, I have seen the tremendous value in the multiple pathways to become licensed as an architect in California.
Despite this diversity of opportunity, the complexity of the required components (education, experience, and examination) causes many to take as much as 12 years to become licensed. That is problematic for a system designed to take eight years. The Board is exploring a better way to integrate the licensure components. Other nations have found a way to do it, and we can too.
Schools are the logical institutions to foster licensure. Students spend five years in Bachelor of Architecture programs. If testing and internship can take place in a manner that is sequenced and integrated into educational requirements, it seems to reason that licensure might become more attainable. A more efficient and effective process would benefit students, schools, the Board, the profession, and consumers.
The Board previously convened a meeting of California’s 10 accredited schools of architecture. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of synthesizing the components of licensure into degree programs. There was a definite interest in the issue and a commitment to continue exploring this important reform. At the national level, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) assembled a Licensure Task Force (LTF). Last September, the LTF issued a "Request for Information & Interest" (RI&I) to schools of architecture. Schools that responded to the RI&I indicating their interest in exploring an integrated pathway to licensure have been invited to respond to a "Request for Proposal" (RFP). The Board anticipates that at least two California schools will respond to NCARB’s request.
The Board applauds those schools and encourages the others to answer the call as well (view our Position Statement). We will be meeting with the schools again at our March 2015 Board meeting in Long Beach. The Board encourages the schools, firms, and students to support these efforts and help the Board be a catalyst for change. The profession is just too important to keep the status quo. We must always continue to do better to serve the needs of the public health, safety, and welfare and consumer protection.