The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards passed a resolution June 25 at its annual meeting that could encourage more architecture graduates to hold to their licensure track. And, in the long term, if graduates can immediately take parts of the ARE, might that also shift our concept of “architect”?
The debate has been raging for years about the definition of who can rightfully call themselves architect. Although, in the U.S., this is ultimately the realm of each professional licensing jurisdiction, there are other arguments at play, and no doubt you’ve heard them before:
• “I did my internship and passed the ARE, that’s one reason being an architect means so much to me. It shouldn’t be any easier for the ones leaving school now.”
• “Being an architect is a state of mind; a way of looking at the world and at problem solving. I have my professional degree. I should be able to call myself an architect.”
• “Graduates today think that if they can work a CAD program, they can design a building. It takes much more understanding of how a building works and goes together to be able to serve the public health, safety, and welfare—to be an architect.”
• “You call a medical school graduate a doctor, and law school graduates who pass the bar right after school are lawyers. Why not have a similar system within architecture?”
One conundrum driving the debate now is a perception that too many architecture graduates are not going on to licensure, weakening the profession. The retort is that the current typical sequence—education, IDP, then ARE—offers too many disconnects that derail interns from the licensure track. Now, the registration boards have agreed that even the jurisdictions that adopt NCARB provisions whole shall choose their own timing for graduates to take certain parts of the ARE.
Will it give interns a higher sense of belonging to the profession if they have passed some of the ARE straight out of school? Will licensing boards revisit regulations on who may use the title “architect”? Ultimately, is this a meaningful direction for strengthening the profession?
What do you think?