Daily Prompt: Contention

Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend.

Licensure. The A.R.E. NCARB. AIA. These are the “contentious” issues that interns face. It is such a cock-up. First, we spend 5-6 years in school learning very little in the way of practical knowledge about the practice of architecture. Then, if we’re lucky enough to get an internship, we get to pay several hundred dollars to set up our NCARB record which is nothing more than an online account of our experience, and another chunk of money every year to AIA to put “Assoc. AIA” at the end of our name as a way of legitimizing ourselves as Interns. After 3+ years, again if we’re lucky, of tracking every working hour of our lives in a multitude of experience areas that we have to fight tooth and nail to be exposed to, we are finally finished with our formal “internship” and can sit for our tests (note: most states allow interns to sit for the exams after the first year of internship). The tests require purchasing over $1k worth of study materials and hundreds of dollars worth of seminars in order to pass on top of the $1k+ in fees required to actually TAKE the exams and that’s assuming you pass them all on the first try. It’s insanely frustrating.

All that said, I am one exam away from not having to deal with this nonsense ever again. And as I’m sitting here, I’ve noticed that I first started this blog post as a topic one year ago to the day of when my final exam will be. If that’s not some weird kismet kinda thing going on there, I don’t know what. Ok. Rant over.

March 17th, 2014 – my last day as an intern. *fingers crossed*

1 thought on “Daily Prompt: Contention

  1. Jeremiah, I sympathize with your frustration about getting your license, but I have to disagree with you on a number of things:
    – Education: There is HUGE difference between a degreed architect and a “designer” I would rather work with the degreed architect any day. While the various courses and studio time may seem not worth it, you get the benefit of learning from others what they learned in the past in a period of much shorter time than you would learn from impulse.
    – The process itself: Your opinion of the agonizing process of getting licensed may somewhat change when you finally get registered. The barriers are high, but it helps prevent unqualified people from becoming architects. Again, there is a huge difference between a licensed architect and an unlicensed one.

    With engineering, they are not so strict as far as the experience and internship requirements, when I got licensed the test was did your job have “engineer” in the title. I was awarded two years of experience from what little I did at Texaco USA (managing gas station construction). My job there had previously been handled by high school graduates at took me about two weeks to learn, yet it counted towards engineering experience. It shows with the type of people that have been licensed as PE’s. I’ve met a number that had no ability at all to do engineering, it just proved they could pass an 8 hour exam.

    When I meet a licensed architect on the other hand, I know he has significant design experience. I have not met an incompetent architect yet. I’m sure they are out there, but I haven’t met one. I’ve met egotistical architects with no common sense. I’ve met architects who were complete jerks. I’ve met very nice architects, and architects that are a pleasure to work with. I’ve met ones with very good understanding of the construction process. I’m sure incompetent licensed architects exist, but I haven’t met any. I can’t say the same about engineering. It says something to me about your licensing procedure.

    I wish you the best on your exam, I hope you pass. I am taking the 16 hour structural exam next year, so I have to go through the study period for that. I also had to take this year the 4 hour Canadian National Practice Exam (passed by a HALF a point!), so I feel for you with the endless test taking.


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