The AIA NJ IDP Committee’s Annual Report and NCARB’s Changes to the Licensure Process

Joyce Marie Scatuccio, Associate AIA
IDP Coordinator AIA NJ 2006 -2010

As the year comes to a close I am very proud to have accomplished all the goals that I have set out to do with the Intern Development Program (IDP) Committee. In the 2006 I was elected to Acting Intern Development Program (IDP) Coordinator. After I finished up my two year term as Regional Associate Director (RAD) in 2006, I started my three year term of IDP Coordinator for AIA NJ from 2007 – 2010. The years 2006 through 2010 became the period of change to the IDP and the ARE by NCARB. NCARB found it necessary to update many regulations to the IDP and the ARE based on the Practice Analysis of Architecture survey and other feedback. These changes began my intense journey to educate students and interns architects within our state.

In 2006 I developed the motto that the Emerging Professionals (EP) Committee, which included Associates, IDP and Young Architects Forum (YAF), is a tripod, each leg supported the main goal. The EP Committee’s goal was to create a smooth transition from student to intern by the IDP Committee, intern to young architect by the Associate Committee, and young architect to architect by the YAF. This became our mission statement for our EPs. John Cwilka and Frank Cuhna assisted me in creating this EP mission statement, allowing a pathway for our future leaders. With the mission statement out of the way, the IDP Committee could now focus on the major changes set forth by NCARB.

In 2006 NCARB decided to implement the “Rolling Clock”. This rule put a limitation on how long you could take to complete the ARE. The Rolling Clock started on January 1, 2006. It stated that once an ARE candidate passed their first exam he would have five years to complete the remaining exams. If the ARE candidate could not complete all of the exams once the Rolling Clock started, he would have to start the exam process all over again. This resolution was passed because there was ten thousand ARE candidates who never tested or have not tested for more than five years. It became too costly for NCARB and the state board to manage these inactive ARE candidates’ authorization to test (ATT) indefinitely. Some of the other regulations NCARB put forth were the ARE concurrency, which allowed the intern to take their IDP and ARE at the same time. NCARB also allowed interns to complete their IDP before three years as long as he completes their 5,600 hours. Unfortunately, even though the NJ state board had no problem with the Rolling Clock, they did not allow NJ candidates to perform the ARE concurrency or complete the IDP under three years. The NJ state board still requires an intern to complete three physical years regardless if he already finished their 5,600 hours before the three years are up. These policies remain as of 2010.

With these changes in 2006 and more to come, I worked on educating as many people as possible. I implemented a service to any architecture firms who have two or more interns for free seminars by the IDP Committee. Seminars for lunch hours or after work hours were offered for the interns as well as the firm’s architects. It is important to have architects understand any changes to the IDP and the ARE. Once the IDP Committee offered this service, I got many calls from firms. From 2006 though 2007 I gave seminars to CUH2A, RMJM Hiller Group, Clarke Caton Hintz, Fletcher Thompson, and many others. Still to this day the IDP Committee offers to speak to any firm that wants to learn. In 2011 the IDP Committee is working with the West Jersey Section and several firms for Spring 2011. As a result of these successful firm seminars I was nominated as IDP Coordinator of the month in October 2007 by AIA National.

As the years continued the EP Committee worked on various events and established the connection between the three committees. Each committee also tried to elect a representative for each of the six sections within NJ. I also continued communication with the Career Development Services (CDS) office at NJIT. Sharon Gilbert and Jane Gartner from CDS and I decided that we would have a formal IDP/ARE seminar every other year starting in 2007. These seminars would include a power point presentation, Q & A session, a panel of AIA members, and information packets. When we started these seminars, I researched what printed material I could find to give to the students and interns. I shortly realized that there was no one place to go for interns and students to look up for all the important information needed. Most information was scattered on the web. Due to this need, I created a one page informational sheet called “What to Know, Where to Go, Who to Know”. This one page has all the basic information to go through the licensure process. The “What to Know” section provides basic websites to start the process. The “Where to Go” section gives websites for jobs, testing info, and scholarships. The last section, “Who to Know” has the contact information for people who will help one during the IDP/ARE. This one info sheet became so popular that CDS uses it as handout to their architecture students. Thankfully, since then NCARB and AIA National has come out with more printed material, yet the website sheet is still the most helpful of all.

The next major change form NCARB was passed on July 1, 2008, the transition from ARE 3.1 to ARE 4.0. Basically, NCARB changed the ARE 3.1 which was nine exams to the ARE 4.0 which is now seven exams. No information was lost from the transition. The convergence goes as follows; Pre-Design and some Site Planning merged to Programming Planning and Practice. The rest of Site Planning went to the exam Site Planning and Design. Building Technology and Building Design/Materials and Methods became Building Design and Construction Systems. Building Planning directly changed to Schematic Design. Some Building Technology, Lateral Forces and General Structures became Structural Systems. Mechanical and Electrical Systems and Building Technology merged into Building Systems. Lastly, Construction Documents and Services remained the same with a little Building Technology thrown in.

This transition was the next important policy that the IDP Committee had to deal with. Several articles were written and placed in the NJ Architect newsletter to educate our membership. The ARE 4.0 transition chart was also given to any interested intern or student. Many students/interns were surprised to see all of the NCARB information they needed to keep up with. I always tell my audience that HYPERLINK “http://www.ncarb.org” http://www.ncarb.org is to be your best friend for you entire licensure process. It is important to check the NCARB website every three to six months to see how the guidelines affect the intern’s licensure. In the end only the intern is responsible for their own successes and failures. As the interns and students continue to catch their breath with the Rolling Clock and ARE 4.0, more changes were on their way.

Even though 2008 was a relatively quite year on December 15, 2008 NCARB had their new electronic verification system (e-EVR) went live. So now the interns, students, supervisors and mentors had to learn how to change from the archaic IDP paper submittal method to the electronic version over the web. The e-EVR helped NCARB streamline the process and make it more efficient for their interns. The new IDP Supervisor Guidelines were also presented and explained how to make the most of this responsibility. The supervisor guidelines and the e-EVR standardized the intern’s experience across the country. As I was just starting too finally catch up with teaching the interns and students how to use the e-EVR, we were hit with the most intense change to this date.

The e-EVR was created to make it easier to put in place what was coming down the pipe from NCARB. The Six-month Rule, went into affect on July 1, 2010. From July 1, 2009 through July 1, 2010 was the most intense transitional period for a regulation that the IDP Committee ever experienced. I received a tremendous amount of calls from interns and students upset about the new policy. The Six-month Rule, stated that an IDP candidate must report no more than six months of training units at a time. He has two consecutive months after the 6 months of work to report the time. If the intern does not report the time, he will lose it. Also after the July 1, 2010 no intern would be allowed to retroactively report any pervious training units. The Six-month Rule was enacted to improve reporting accuracy and the overall experience. It also helped interns to address what training units they were missing quicker. The Six-month Rule provided more opportunities for supervisor, mentor and intern discussions. Ultimately, the e-EVR and the Six-month Rule were to reduce overall time the intern dealt with the IDP.

Even though NCARB had a very good intention with the Six-month Rule, during the transition period, interns were infuriated. The amount of phone calls and emails I received were tremendous. Each time I spoke to a student or intern I took the time to review their case individually. Unfortunately, many people who did not bother to create their NCARB council record before July 1, 2009, lost all of their experience before that date. I had interns lose anything from a few months to fifteen years. In the end the intern is always responsible for their licensure process. Since then the Six-month Rule forced most students and interns to decide what they wanted to do with their future. During this time, the CDS seminar was approaching and I knew the seminar had to be a big one.

Do to the major changes at NCARB, I wanted to reach out to as many architecture students and interns as possible in the state of NJ. I contacted NJIT, Princeton, Brookdale Community College, Essex County College, Mercer Community College and even Drexel University. You may say why Drexel? Well during the frantic calls about the Six-month Rule the IDP Committee realized that there are many students who go to Drexel yet live and work in NJ. They also look to get licensed in NJ. These Drexel students were falling in a crack between the PA and NJ IDP committees, so we started communication with the PA IDP Coordinator, Arthur Sheffied. We hope that in 2011, talks with AIA PA will help those students. After contacting as many architecture programs as I could, it was decided to have the IDP/ARE seminar on November 3, 2009 at New Jersey Institute of Technology, School of Architecture Weston Lecture Hall 1. NJIT’s CDS and AIAS and the IDP Committee helped me put on this presentation. To get people in the seats I decided to see if I could get sponsorships. When I called various companies for monetary donations they were unable to donate. But I shortly realized that they were willing to donated prizes for a raffle. At the end we had obtain over $6,000 in door and raffle prizes. We received donations from Kaplan, PPI, NALSA, Rima Taher, Design Source, Pearl Paint, NJIT’s Alumni Association, AIAS, AIA NJ, Metro Salon, Tuscany Deli, Dwell magazine and many more. At the event we gave the first 100 attendees a copy of Dwell magazine and an AIA NJ and AIAS sponsored USB port key chain. The attendees were very excited. The seminar ended up the largest attended presentation in AIA NJ IDP Committee history. There were 125 interns, students and architects from all over the state. The presentation went extremely well and we had our panel of Jerry Eben, AIA, David Del Vecchio, AIA, and Stacey Kliesch, AIA to help answer any questions. The IDP Committee also introduces the new Assistant IDP Coordinator, Nicole DeCandia, who would train for the next year. At the end of the event all of the prizes were raffled off and the biggest prize, a $1,400 ARE complete study guide was a huge hit. Since the presentation at NJIT was so successful we started getting calls from other colleges to come and speak on their campuses.

The first to call was Essex County College (ECC). Later that December Nicole and I spoke at the Center for Technology at ECC. We had about 25 students attend and geared the presentation to the licensure process as well as the change from community college to a 4 year college. The IDP Committee is currently working with ECC to start their own AIAS chapter. We are following up with Ed O’Neill of Brookdale Community College to have an event there next spring as well. Our goal is to educate as many people who want to be in the architecture field and help mentor them during the progression.

Now we finally come to 2010. The Six-month Rule has been passed, the e-EVR is running and NCARB has decided to overall the whole IDP system. IDP 2.0 is currently being implemented in phases over the course of two years. The IDP 2.0 is the result of the information accumulated by a series of studies, mainly the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture. From the information collected the IDP is being changed to IDP 2.0 to align better with the currant practice of architecture. The first phase implemented, July 1, 2009 allowed interns employed or not to obtain limited IDP hours. Phase two which went into affect January 1, 2010 changed the definition of “direct supervisor” to reflect today’s practices. It also changed the IDP “units” to hours. The amount of overall hours still remained the same at 5,600. This changed just made it easier to understand and calculate. The final phase, phase three will mostly be implemented in Fall of 2011. However, a part of the final phase took effect on October 1, 2010. This changed the eligibility to start the IDP. Before October 1, 2010 a student can only start their IDP after their third year in a B.Arch program or after the first year of the M.Arch program. Now with eligibility change students can start right away as long as they fall into one of these three categories. One – enrollment in a NAAB/CACB-accredited degree program. Two – enrollment in a pre-professional degree architecture degree program at a school with a NAAB/CACB-accredited degree program. Three – employment in work setting A after obtaining a U.S. high school diploma or General Education Degree (GED) equivalent, or a comparable foreign degree. Once an IDP candidate wants to start his IDP hours he needs to download an “eligibility date form” and have the now required position, IDP Educator Coordinator of their univeristy sign it. This then allows the candidate to get a NCARB council record. The eligibility date reform became imperative to inform students and interns right away. On November 9, 2010 the IDP committee had an informal seminar at NJIT.

The informal seminar was also sponsored by AIAS. We had about 50 students attend the seminar in the loft at the NJIT School of Architecture. We focused on freshman and sophomores to get the word out that they need to start paying attention to the IDP/ARE regulations as soon as they start their architecture program. The presentation was given by myself and Ryan Day and mainly focused on the IDP 2.0 and the last changes of the past few years. Since the change in the eligibility dates no longer just affects college students, the need to focus on high school students is a must.
On December 22, 2010 I held a presentation at Howell High School in Farmingdale, NJ. The presentation was to 25 students in the Architecture level I and II program. The basics of architecture was discussed and the eligibility to start IDP after high school. As 2011 approaches IDP 2.0 final phase will be completed. Look forward to future articles about those regulations and futures changes to come. I have enjoyed my time as Intern Development Program Coordinator AIA NJ over the past four years and I am proud to have served our architecture community. Nicole DeCandia, Associate AIA will be taking over the position for the next three years. I wish her luck and all the best. Thank you.

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