Part of the Board’s consumer protection mandate involves licensure itself. Regulatory boards set licensure standards necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Those standards must be reasonable and cannot create a barrier to enter the profession for qualified candidates. Such standards usually have a common denominator with the standards of other boards throughout the nation. There may be deviations in some states, but a baseline of licensure standards is typical for many professions and trades.
For architects in California and elsewhere, completion of NCARB’s Architect Registration Examination and Intern Development Program are core requirements for licensure. Education standards can vary from state to state, although many states require an accredited professional degree (from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board - NAAB). In California, the Sunset Review process has demonstrated the Legislature’s clear desire for flexible, open standards for licensure. The fact that the Board has multiple pathways to licensure is valued and has been encouraged by the Legislature. Nevertheless, NCARB Model Law sometimes contradicts California’s standards and the Board has a clear mandate and responsibility to ensure that the Board’s standards are not usurped by national association policy.
At the most recent NCARB Annual Meeting, a proposed resolution would have prohibited California architects from attaining the NCARB Certificate (an important tool for reciprocity) unless they possess a NAAB degree. Such a proposal contradicts the spirit of California law, and the Board strongly advocated for an amendment to the proposal to preserve the existing flexible pathways to licensure. The resolution ultimately failed, although the Board was successful in securing its amendment. The net result is that the current pathways to the Certificate are preserved.
This exercise is yet another example of the value of the Board participating in national affairs. The Board appreciates the Legislature and Department of Consumer Affairs’ support for its efforts on the national level.