Integrated Path Initiative
In September 2013, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) began pursuing a path to licensure that integrates a professional education in architecture with practical experience and the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). NCARB commissioned the Licensure Task Force (LTF) and charged it with analyzing each component of the licensure process as a basis for exploring potential new pathways and determining whether there is any overlap and opportunities for efficiencies. Several months later, on May 30, 2014, NCARB formally announced its endorsement for the concept of integrated degree programs.
On September 9, 2014, NCARB released its Request for Interest and Information (RFI&I) to programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) to gauge the level of interest in the concept. The LTF received nearly 40 responses expressing interest. A formal Request for Proposal (RFP) was released by NCARB on January 23, 2015.
NCARB received more than a dozen responses to its RFP and on August 31, 2015, announced the names of the first 13 NAAB-accredited architectural programs accepted by NCARB for participation in the Integrated Path Initiative (IPI). Three of the programs are from California (NewSchool of Architecture and Design, University of Southern California, and Woodbury University).
NCARB also established a new Integrated Path Evaluation Committee (IPEC) to oversee the ongoing work of this initiative. It is anticipated that the IPEC will continue to coach accepted programs, promote engagement with state boards regarding the necessary statutory or regulatory changes to incorporate integrated path candidates, and oversee the acceptance of future program applicants. According to NCARB, each program will implement the integrated path in alignment with the schedule developed by the respective school administration and faculty; specific starting dates may vary from one school to another. IPI students in each program will be part of existing accredited programs.
The Board subsequently reviewed the Architects Practice Act (Act) to determine whether any statutory or regulatory changes are necessary for implementation of IPI. Statutory language was provided to the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee for inclusion into Assembly Bill (AB) 177 that ultimately created Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 5550.2 and authorizes the Board to grant students enrolled in an integrated program early eligibility for the ARE. BPC section 5550.2 became effective on January 1, 2016.
Most recently, the Board invited the three California schools accepted by NCARB in its inaugural selections to the March 3, 2016 Board meeting at Woodbury University in Burbank. The Board asked each school for a presentation that would include specific details about the program and its respective implementation status. The Board will continue closely monitoring the progression of the California IPI programs, and more information will be made available in a future issue of California Architects.