Architects Have Differing Perceptions on Licensure, Study Finds

There are more than 110,000 licensed architects within the U.S., according to research from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. But attitudes about licensure may differ among architects from different generations. At least that’s what The American Institute of Architects discovered during a recent survey.

licensure and recertification in the design and construction industry

In October of last year, the group collaborated with the NCARB to survey architects on the licensing process and the importance of credentials within functioning firms. Approximately 98% of the 800 supervisors surveyed said it was important for emerging professionals to obtain licenses, with roughly 88% deeming it “very important.” Conversely, 66% of the 580 emerging professionals surveyed believed licensure was important to their managers and only 27% felt higher-ups considered it “very important.”

More differences materialized when it came to the subject of the supervisor’s role in the licensure process. Almost half of the management-level respondents believed they played a key role in preparing rising architects for the path to certification, while just 9 percent of emerging professionals held a comparable view. The AIA and NCARB drilled down deeper into this subject and found that similar gaps existed on subjects like mentoring and navigating the Architectural Experience Program.

This separation indicates contrasting expectations between firm leaders and ladder climbers. Both the AIA and NCARB are developing solutions designed to close these gaps. For example, just last month the latter introduced Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure, which allows architects to begin the certification process while completing their formal education, Archinect reported. Traditionally, emerging architects have been required to wait until after graduation to embark on this journey.

The IPAL and other initiatives may help streamline licensure and help young architects and their supervisors recalibrate their expectations on the subject.


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