On April 22, 2010, the Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Land Surveyors approved new administrative rules outlining continuing education requirements for renewing a license as an architect. Now, architects registered in Wisconsin must earn 24 hours of continuing education every two years, including 16 hours related to health, safety and welfare. The rule became effective July 1, 2010, and will first apply when architects renew their next two-year license by August 2012.
The requirement will strengthen the profession as registered architects will be required to learn on a lifelong basis. The new administrative rules will help to reassure the public who expect quality design and quality projects from architects.
Recently AIA spoke with Bill Babcock, Hon. AIA, Executive Director of AIA Wisconsin (mp3) about the state’s new mandatory continuing education requirements. Specifically, a question was asked as to what prompted the Wisconsin Joint Examining Board to pursue mandatory continuing education as a requirement of license renewal. According to Bill, when the idea was first addressed in the 1990s, a growing number of states were in the process of adopting continuing education requirements. As a result, the Joint Examining Board was interested in pursuing mandatory continuing education in Wisconsin, but the Board did not have legislative authority to do so. Within the podcast, you can hear Bill describe the process to promote the requirement, which eventually became an administrative rule.
Bill discussed the involvement of AIA Wisconsin within this legislative process and why the legislation was a priority for the state society. Once the continuing education requirement was on AIA Wisconsin’s legislative agenda, it collaborated with other allied design professions to support the enabling legislation. As soon as the enabling legislation was approved by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed into law by the Governor, the Joint Examining Board reviewed the continuing education requirements in the neighboring states of Minnesota and Illinois as well the most recently adopted requirements in states across the country, including Hawaii.
AIA Wisconsin consistently advocates on behalf of the profession by meeting regularly with the Architect Section of the Joint Examining Board. The state society also works with the Governor’s office by submitting recommendations for appointments to the Architect Section, which includes three architect members and two public members.
In response to the new rules, AIA Wisconsin is work closely with volunteer leaders of the four local AIA chapters to create and promote programs to meet the demand and interest for quality continuing education opportunities for AIA members and other interested registered architects. Bill notes how AIA Wisconsin members should not be surprised by these new state continuing education requirements because many members already have been complying with similar continuing education requirements in neighboring states as well as to maintain their AIA membership. Many architects registered in Wisconsin reside outside of the state and may be required to earn continuing education to renew their license elsewhere. Wisconsin’s administrative rules recognize the American Institute of Architects as a provider of continuing education programs and allow architects to use their AIA/CES transcript to document compliance with the continuing education requirements for license renewal.
Since 1996, AIA members have completed continuing education as a requirement of AIA membership. Currently, all active AIA members must successfully complete 18 learning unit (LU) hours each year, with at least 8 of the 18 LU hours relating to health, safety, and/or welfare (HSW). Of the 8 HSW, at least 4 credits must be in sustainable design (SD) topics. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia require continuing education for registered architects.