CREJ - page 27

September 16-October 6, 2015 —
— Page 27
nce again, we have
arrived at the end
of another amazing
Colorado summer. The warm
days are giving way to cooler
nights and we now turn our
thoughts to the start of the
new school year. As students
return to their classrooms to
embark on a new journey of
learning and growth, there
are changes coming to the
licensing rules for architects
in the state of Colorado that
affect the growth and devel-
opment of those starting out
in the architectural profes-
In line with the National
Council of Architectural
Registration Boards’ rec-
ommendations last fall,
the Colorado Department
of Regulatory Agencies’
Architect, Engineer and
Land Surveyor Licensing
Board has adopted revised
requirements for architec-
tural internships that reduce
the required experience
hours across all educational
backgrounds, including the
NCARB-recommended reduc-
tion for those with a NAAB-
Accredited degree from 5,600
to 3,740 hours of experience.
This requirement is part of a
three-legged stool of educa-
tion, experi-
ence and
ones to shy
away from
strong opin-
ions, archi-
tects have
levels of
support for
and opposi-
tion to the
reduction. Those opposed to
the changes cite everything
from “the way it’s always
been done” to the need for
extensive hours of training
to gain a broad and meaning-
ful experience on the path
to licensure. Those in sup-
port voiced a desire to keep
the requirements consistent
across jurisdictions (Colorado
was one of only nine jurisdic-
tions that had not yet adopt-
ed the recommended changes)
and a sense that quality can
be more meaningful and use-
ful than quantity, and not all
experience hours are created
According to NCARB, the
current average amount
of time it takes interns to
become licensed (experience
plus examination) is over
seven years. NCARB expects
that by streamlining the IDP,
this time could be reduced to
closer to five or six years. The
hours removed from the expe-
rience requirement all fall in
the “elective” category, while
all the primary core experi-
ence hours remain intact. Of
the 17 core experience areas,
many interns fill some with
double and triple the amount
of time needed while strug-
gling to reach the minimum
requirements in others.
This statistic begs a larger
question that impacts all of
us across the design, develop-
ment and construction indus-
tries: If experience is only
gained through repetitive
tasks over an extended period
of time, what are we really
teaching our future leaders?
Does this model of training
provide valuable and robust
opportunities for young pro-
fessionals to explore their
profession and develop their
skills and interests as they
progress in their careers?
Whatever your personal
stance, there is certainly an
opportunity to reflect upon
the quality and type of expe-
rience we are providing in our
offices. How are we fulfilling
our duties in teaching future
leaders to be effective, cre-
ative, responsible and produc-
tive members of their profes-
sion and of the larger design
and construction community?
Are we simply miring them
with traditional menial tasks
as they “pay their dues,” or
are we taking the time to
explain why we’ve given them
the assignments and tasks
we’ve tasked them with in
the first place? Are we sup-
porting them in seeking out
experiences in different areas,
or are we pigeonholing them
with tasks they may not have
any interest in or that do not
enhance their knowledge?
The framework of the
NCARB Intern Development
Program strives to provide
well-rounded and broad
experiences on the path to
licensure. While there is
something to be said for
just “doing the work” that
needs to be done, there also
is a tremendous opportunity
for licensed professionals to
reconsider how they men-
tor those just starting out.
We shortchange ourselves
by viewing this revision as
a sacrifice of development
and learning opportunities.
Rather, we should take this
opportunity to work with
those who will one day take
our place and jump-start our
mentoring efforts in order to
advance and strengthen the
architectural profession as a
whole. This is an opportunity
that reaches far beyond archi-
tects alone.
Who knows, during this
process, maybe we’ll all learn
something new. And isn’t
that the real promise of those
warm and hazy late-summer
Angela M.T.
Van Do, AIA
2015 president, AIA
How are we
fulfilling our
duties in teaching
future leaders to be
effective, creative,
and productive
members of their
profession and of
the larger design
and construction
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