WASHINGTON — The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has announced a significant proposal to streamline and overhaul the Intern Development Program (IDP) over the next few years. The streamlined proposal would reduce the number of hours required to complete the IDP, and the overhaul phase would align the program to the divisions that will be tested starting late 2016 in the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE).

“At NCARB, we embrace change that reflects ‘rigor for a reason,’ rather than rigor for the sake of rigor,” said NCARB President Blake Dunn. “This approach has led to two proposals that ensure continued protection of the public’s health, safety and welfare: a short-term streamlining of the IDP and a longer-term overhaul plan for the IDP.”

This proposal is the result of more than a year of research conducted by a special team convened to review the program, guided by discussion among architect volunteers and NCARB’s Intern Think Tank members. The proposal, which will be submitted for a comment period to state boards, is designed to reflect how the marketplace, education and technology have all impacted the ways in which experience is gained.


Streamlining the IDP: A Focus on Core Requirements

The IDP currently requires interns to document 5,600 hours of experience, with 3,740 of those hours as core requirements in specific experience areas. The remaining 1,860 hours are elective hours. The first reinvention phase proposes to streamline the IDP by removing the elective hour requirement, with interns documenting only the 3,740 hours in the 17 core experience areas. Only the current core requirements were determined by the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture, reflecting knowledge and skills the profession determined should be exposed to interns.

In addition to the licensure work, NCARB also announced this month that a transition plan is underway to guide the implementation of major improvements and changes to the ARE, the test that all prospective architects must take to get their licenses. The new ARE 5.0 will launch in late 2016, while ARE 4.0 will remain available for at least 18 months after the launch.

The exam is required by all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for initial architectural licensure by assessing candidates for their knowledge, skills and ability to provide all services required in the practice of architecture.


Overhaul: Alignment with Examination

The next reinvention phase would be to align the IDP experience areas with the results of the 2012 Practice Analysis of Architecture. The proposal recommends realigning the current four IDP experience categories and 17 experience areas into six experience categories. These six categories would directly align with the six practice-based areas of architecture, making the program easier to understand for both interns and supervisors. These six areas would also align with the six divisions of ARE 5.0, which will launch in late 2016. This would align the IDP with the current realities and challenges of contemporary practice while ensuring interns still acquire the comprehensive experience that is essential for competent practice.

A final design of both phases along with a potential timeline for implementation will be determined after the NCARB Board of Directors receives comments from the state boards this fall.

 For more information, visit www.ncarb.org.