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NCARB Launches ARE 5.0

The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) 5.0 launched November 1, 2016, and incorporates the latest testing technology.

ncarbLearn more at NCARB.com

The next version of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), ARE 5.0, will launch November 1, 2016, incorporating the latest testing technologies and format that more closely aligns with modern practice. The six-division exam will include case studies that simulate real-world practice, and will be offered without a fee increase.

Developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the multi-division exam is taken by all candidates seeking architectural licensure in the United States. As with all licensing exams, the ARE is updated periodically to ensure it continues to test the knowledge and skills necessary for the independent practice of architecture.

To adapt to changes in the profession, ARE 5.0 will incorporate a new division structure and the latest graphic testing methods. The exam content has been reorganized into six divisions, which are designed to reflect the phases of architectural practice—from practice management to construction and evaluation. The new divisions also align with the experience areas of the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), making the licensure process smoother and easier to understand for candidates.

Incorporating the Latest Testing Technology

The new exam will retire vignettes—a graphic question type used in the current version—and incorporate two new question types: hot spots and drag-and-place. ARE 5.0 will also include case studies to assess a candidate’s ability to synthesize multiple pieces of information. Each ARE 5.0 division will feature 80 to 120 questions comprised of these new question types, plus multiple-choice, check-all-that-apply, and fill-in-the-blank questions.

NCARB carefully develops the ARE in conjunction with hundreds of practicing architects who volunteer their time, services, and expertise to write, test, and analyze the exam. The ARE is then reviewed by experts who verify the questions are fair, reliable, and in compliance with national testing standards.


IDP is Now AXP

Did you know IDP is now AXP ?
The Architectural Experience Program (AXP), formerly the Intern Development Program (IDP), launched June 29.
See the NCARB website for details.  Be sure to update your online resource pages to reflect the new name as follows:
  • Replace “IDP” with “the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), formerly the Intern Development Program (IDP)” or
  • Hyperlink to the pilot AIA website. No links will be broken when the pilot site transitions to the full AIA website. Licensing BasicsARE Prep, and AXP Resources are now available on the pilot site


Reciprocity With Canada

Grassroots 2009In his recent trip to Canada, Governor Christie said “I’ve gotten the impression over time, watching American foreign policy, that Canada has been an afterthought……I don’t think we pay enough attention to this relationship as Americans in general. I’ve made a very conscious decision to come to Canada and to come here to Alberta because we should treat our friends with both respect and attention.”

This statement comes on the heels of a recent tri-national agreement by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), Canadian Licensing Authorities (CALA), and the Federacion de Colegios de Architectos de la Republica Mexicana (FCARM), making it possible for architects to work across North American boarders.

With all of this in mind, it is time for the State of New Jersey to take specific action to address New Jersey’s relationship Canada relative to the practice of architecture. Specifically, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects renews its call for the State of New Jersey to resolve impediments to cross border licensure with Canada, and stands ready and willing to work with all relevant parties to find a workable solution for New Jersey.

Editorial – Proposed IDP Changes

In reviewing the proposed revisions to the IDP program I believe that both the short and long term measures are problematic and can ultimately be detrimental to the profession at large.

Phase 1 abridges the minimum reporting hours from 5,600 (3,740 Core Hours + 1,860 Elective Hours) to only include the 3,740 Core Hours. The contention that the elective hours do not necessarily demonstrate an effective means of developing competency in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public is fair. The response to eliminate literally 1/3 of the apprenticeship period (reducing the approximate 3 years of training to 2) is misguided, unbalanced, and reflects poorly on the perception of our field compared with other established professions.

  • The definition of a “professional corporation” typically is reserved for lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, and certified public accountants. Here is a brief synopsis of the educational / training requirements encountered for these other professionals.
    • Lawyers – 4 year undergraduate degree + Law school (typically 3 years) + licensing examination
    • Doctors – 4 year undergraduate degree + Postgraduate degree + Postgraduate training depending on specialization (ranges from 3 year to 6 years)
    • Engineers – 4 year undergraduate degree + 4 years qualifying work experience + licensing examination
    • Certified Public Accountant – 4 year undergraduate degree + 1-2 years of work experience + certification examination
  • In reviewing these estimates it is clear that those professionals whom have the greatest relationship to preserving HSW are those that uphold a post-graduate training or education period of no less than 3 years. (CPAs manage finances which I would contend is not a fair comparison).

I believe that the crux of this argument is to further enable an expedited licensing process for young design professionals. It is important to nurture talent and keep this younger generation engaged in the practice of architecture. The ongoing problem with many leaving the profession due to a lack of jobs in the marketplace or lower wages will not be ameliorated by getting licenses in their hands faster. If anything it will hurt them more because a company looking to hire will expect to pay more for a licensed architect than they would for a draftsman but concurrently they will expect a greater degree of knowledge. Those that elect to pursue independent practice on their own will be more susceptible to act quickly without necessarily understanding the consequences of their decisions because their training was never really completed.

Accrediting bodies will not be the ones to fix the “brain drain” effect, only practicing architects that can give them opportunities to grow, learn, and mature in the profession while still making a living wage will fix this problem. Current academic practices do not teach to the Architect Registration Exam nor does actual work experience always translate one to one, however each provides components that inform the material of the ARE. We would do a disservice to younger designers by rushing this process while devaluing the body of knowledge that we have fostered over generations. If anything the abridgment reads to me as a surreptitious means of getting more people to qualify to test sooner, resulting in a larger body of people paying to take tests that they are likely less prepared for but which would result in more money flowing to NCARB by way of testing fees.

Time in internship matters. If the argument is that 1,860 hours of service are irrelevant in the current system because they cannot be quantified empirically as useful, the response should be how do we rethink 1,860 hours of service. A simple answer would be to keep them as elective hours but evenly distributed over each of the (4) experience categories. If upon further review the argument arises that some experience categories are more valuable than others, the 1,860 hours can be divided proportionally according to perceived value. Alternately, the hours need to be reapportioned within the (17) experience areas. It is of paramount importance that NCARB cease the endless litany of decisions whereby problem resolution occurs solely by means of total elimination of the problem (eg. the drafting software for ARE vignettes is outdated and fails to match with tools used in daily practice, the response is to eliminate the vignettes in lieu of fixing the software.)

Regarding the Phase 2 plan to revise the (4) experience categories to (6) that each align with the ARE exams is a logical direction to go in however the proposal goes too far. Trying to maintain multiple systems of documenting experience (one via the workplace and the other via testing) is burdensome and can be confusing for interns. It is a good idea to match experience categories with examinations however if the suggestion is to overhaul the system eliminating the (17) experience categories, then once again we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It is imperative that these specific categories be structured into the (6) larger experience categories rather than removed. It may be prudent to even expand upon these categories as a means of reapportioning the 1,860 hours described previously. While I agree that the complexity of the current system exists, the problem lies in the broad definitions of the experience categories themselves. Personally I do not agree that reducing complexity results in fewer categories I think it translates to more categories with less ambiguous definitions. The ultimate key though is that the categories of experience match firmly with the intent of the associated ARE exam. The broader focus presented in the narrative explicitly states, “the current 17 experience area of IDP, in combination with their respective minimum hour requirements, reflect an extremely specific and detailed format that keeps internship focused on the details rather than the broader picture.” Even Mies van der Rohe knew that “God is in the details.” We as architects live through details. It is only through rigor, passion, and a commitment to details that we can effectively uphold the health, safety and welfare of the public. We do not need a holistic, feel-good approach that won’t adequately prepare the next generation, we as practitioners need to better mold our workplace to foster their growth so that they can thrive and be successful both at the apprenticeship level as well as throughout their careers.


Respectfully submitted,

  Andrew W.J. Kollar, Associate AIA


The above article is an Editorial submitted by an AIA-NJ Member, views expressed are not the views of AIA New Jersey.


Informative Seminar IDP and ARE Seminar Held at NJIT

On February 14, 2013, AIA NJ and NJIT Career Development Services, with the help of Jane Gaertner, hosted the IDP and ARE Seminar at NJIT. On this Valentine’s Day, several involved and concerned groups came together to ignite the passion of profession of architecture by educating, and creating a drive for our emerging professionals as they embark on their road to licensure.

The event was well attended by students, post-graduates and architects. Moderator  and NJ Intern Development Coordinator, Ashton Quintin  Jr., Assoc. AIA,  introduced the panel members which included Robert Ivy, FAIA, Executive VP and CEO of AIA,  Michael Soriano, AIA President of the New Jersey State Board of Architects,  Jerome L. Eben, AIA, AIANJ Regional Director and Director on the National Board and Michael Armstrong, CEO of NCARB.  Guest speakers included Joseph Abello from the NJ State Board of Architects and Martin Smith, AIA, Manager for the Intern Development Program. NJIT CoAD AIAS Chapter provided the manpower to run the event and AIA Newark and Suburban Architects and AIANJ provided the refreshments.

The panel provided keen professional advice to the numerous of questions asked, while also inserting their own experiences into their discussions, making the event feel more personal to the audience.  Mr. Armstrong stated that as students graduate they will find a field of acronyms B.Arch, NCARB, A.R.E., LEED, AIA, USGBC, PP, CSI, etc..  He explained that each acronym has a meaning that you the student will soon become familiar with in regard to specific standards and requirements of becoming an architect. The event specifically focused on the IDP and A.R.E. requirements as many of the attendees were just beginning the process in this their early careers.  Mr. Smith’s presentation about NCARB made many students aware of their general requirements to complete their internships and Mr. Abello’s presentation discussed numerous legal obligations and the law that all architects must follow.

As the Regional Associate Director for NJ, Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA reiterated the importance of AIA to those who may not know its purpose or value. For emerging professionals, AIA is not only an obvious choice for those seeking work, but also those who are seeking insight, importance and mentorship. IDP provides preliminary guidelines for those seeking to become architects, but AIA provides the continuing knowledge to become a leader in the profession.

Mr. Ivy spoke of his route to licensure and where it had now taken him in his long career.   His comments were captured on video and can be viewed here.   (Can’t view the video read highlights here.)  He also introduced Mickey Jacob, FAIA, the President of AIA who had come to town with him, and was going with Mr. Eben on the following day to tour ravaged areas of the New Jersey Shore from Superstorm Sandy three (3) months earlier.

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
2013-2014 Regional Associate Director | New Jersey | AIA National Associates Committee
[email protected]


Robert Ivy, FAIA at NJIT: “What You Do Matters”

Robert Ivy PhotoRobert Ivy, FAIA, EVP/CEO of the American Institute of Architects recently spoke during an NJIT career services event:


The event had members from the National Council of Registration Boards (NCARB),  NJ State Board of Architects and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to talk to and answer questions about the ARE and IDP process.

Mr. Ivy’s discussion was intended to explain why one would get licensed, and what their career path might look like.   However, as the talk progressed, it became more and more clear that not only was this sound advice for students of architecture, but they were also inspirational words of wisdom for the seasoned practitioner, and others in the public realm as well.

You can (and should) watch the full video of Mr. Ivy’s talk by clicking here (it is only 7:40 long), but the following are a few notable quotes:

– “The good news is that we are in an economy now that is picking up.”

– “Architectural firms faced a loss of 40% of their revenues; 28% of their workforce.”

– “The indicators are up and things look better.”

– “McGraw-Hill reported that there will be a shortage of architects in the very near future, perhaps as early as 2014.”

– “The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) has been on the rise for the first time since 2008.”

– “The wave is rising. You can ride the wave.”

– “What you do matters.”

– “The temptation is to say that I am waiting for the real thing to happen – the real me to emerge. The real you is happening right this minute. It resides in the opportunities you take.”

– “Hard work, desire, passion, execution, getting it done.”

– “You can find all sorts of rationales for why you shouldn’t do something. You can find better rationales for why you should.”

NCARB Renewal Offer

A Message from NCARB to Architects and Interns:
Welcome Back 

Welcome Back

For the second time this year, NCARB is taking steps to provide our customers with some financial relief in this challenging economic climate. We need your help in getting the word out to the profession about this savings opportunity.
From October 1 through November 30, we are reopening our “Welcome Back to NCARB” offer of reduced fees for reactivating lapsed architect or intern Records. The features of this offer are:
For architects: We are waiving all past renewal fees for architects who reactivate a lapsed Record or Certificate. Depending on how long the customer’s Record/Certificate has lapsed, this could equate to significant savings.
  • Architects who let their Records or Certificates go inactive while an architect will have all past renewal fees waived upon reactivation. The cost to reactivate is only $475.
  • Architects who let their Records go inactive while still an intern will have all past renewal fees waived upon reactivation, plus they will get certified for FREE as long as they qualify for NCARB certification. The cost to reactivate is only $475.
For interns: We are waiving all past renewal fees for interns who reactivate a lapsed Record. The cost to reactivate is just $75, and going forward, if their Record remains active through licensure, they will get NCARB-certified for FREE and will get half-price renewals of their Certificate for three years.
More than 1,000 architects took advantage of a similar offer earlier this year and reactivated their Records/Certificates. For full details about the fall fee relief offer, please visit: www.ncarb.org/welcomeback.
We know that now more than ever, architects need mobility to stay competitive. The NCARB Certificate is a powerful credential and tool that can help them grow their businesses and their careers. For these same reasons, certification is also a smart next step for interns after licensure.
We’ve created a special web page, accessible from the link mentioned above, where you can get resources—such as sample news blurbs, sample Tweets, and graphics—to help spread the word.
Thanks in advance for your support of this effort, and thanks as always for all that you do to serve our profession.

Michael J. Armstrong
Chief Executive Officer
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

AIAS NJIT Northeast Fall Quad Conference

An Open Letter from the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
Northeast Fall Quad Conference

This coming fall, the American Institute of Architecture Students at NJIT (AIAS NJIT) is excited to be hosting the Northeast Fall Quad Conference held amongst AIAS chapters and professional architects for a weekend on October 18-21, 2012. Our theme for the conference is Revitalizing Cities: Newark, like many industrial cities in the Northeast USA, was once a booming city but it experienced racial tensions and subsequent urban downfall. However, because of its rich history and culture, Newark has become a major renaissance city yearning for revitalization. Like many other cities looking to be revitalized, what roles can architects and architecture play in this rebirth? Student leaders and professional will come together for the love of architecture to discuss and impact a city, our society and profession.

We have established ourselves as a non-profit chapter and a professional organization dedicated to connecting students and professionals, and making the voice and work of architecture students more prominent within the field. Your assistance will allow our chapter to put together a quality conference that will allow our guests to attend lectures with prominent keynote speakers, participating in workshops, exploring the wonderful places that Newark and surround cities has to offer, and of course, having fun.

As Co-Chairs of AIAS NJIT Quad Conference, we wish to formally invite you to be a sponsor at our event. Please look at the information regarding sponsorship levels here on our website. Your firm/company/product will benefit greatly with any package you choose. If we all work together, the 2012 Northeast Fall Quad Conference will be a success and impact the relevance of architects and architecture.

We are grateful for your kind consideration and we look forward to your participation.


Vicky Tran
AIAS NJIT Quad Co-Chair
[email protected]
Kamilyn Longmore
AIAS NJIT Quad Co-Chair
[email protected]

The Future of Architectural Education

In preparation for the NAAB’s 2013 ARC (Accreditation Review Conference) the AIA developed a survey to help quantify the emerging trends uncovered in their research at the ACSA Annual Meeting, AIA Grassroots, and AIA National Convention. The survey can be found by clicking  here:

The AIA asks that you take five minutes to complete this survey in support of this effort. They also request that you help broadcast this link to any others that you think might be interested in contributing to this conversation on the future of education and the profession. The survey will be open until August 12th.

Thank you for your help, and participation.

Jerome L. Eben, AIA
Regional Director, AIA New Jersey

IDP 2.0 Coming in April 2012 – How Will It Effect You?

The final phase of IDP 2.0 is coming in April 2012. Find out how it will affect you!

FREE Webinar

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 –  1:00 pm
1 hour 30 minutes

IDP 2.0 is the most significant change to the Intern Development Program (IDP) since its inception in the 1970s. In April 2012, NCARB will implement the final phase, which will include new experience categories, areas, and settings. The changes reflect the experience required to competently practice architecture independently as identified in the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture.

Please join Assistant Director, IDP Nick Serfass, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP to learn about the changes to the IDP and how the rollover will affect you. Topics will include:

New experience settings
New experience categories and areas
New supervisor requirements
Academic internships
The rollover rules
Resources and tools

Learn more or Register
Space is limited to first 500 – register now.