A lot goes into becoming a licensed architect.
As many already know, hiring Schmidt Associates for a facility project is a “no brainer”. However, have you thought about the process your designers go through in order to be qualified to design your facilities?
Though we can stereotype and say that all architects loved building with Legos when they were children, that is not entirely true. And it certainly takes more than a keen awareness of plastic to become licensed within the profession. Architects are problem-solvers. They go beyond the placement of bricks and mortar to get to the deeper need of an Owner so they can solve existing problems and anticipate future needs. Architects are also responsible for helping protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
But how to do they learn these skills? A college degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited program is the first step in the process of becoming a licensed architect in Indiana. There are three types of professional architectural degrees in the United States:
- Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch), typically a 5-year-program
- Master of Architecture (M. Arch), typically a 2-year program
- Doctor of Architecture (D. Arch), varies
Alternatively, students can also pursue a 4+2 program. Using this method, students can get a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Architecture and follow up with a 2-year Master of Architecture.
However, just because a college degree has been attained, one is still not licensed.
Any professional looking to gain licensure (not everyone who graduates with an architectural degree chooses to pursue licensure), must then begin the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). This experiential process requires a minimum of 3,740 hours of hands-on training in Indiana (some states vary) where professionals are directed to complete 96 tasks across six practice areas:
- Practice Management – 160 required hours
- Project Management – 360 required hours
- Programming and Analysis – 260 required hours
- Project Planning and Design – 1,080 required hours
- Project Development and Documentation – 1,520 required hours
- Construction Evaluation – 360 required hours
At least half of this documented experience (1,860 hours) must be achieved under the supervision of a licensed architect while working for an architecture firm.
In addition to the education and experience, architectural professionals must also take and pass the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE)—a six-part, 21-hour exam to assess an architect’s skills and ability to protect the welfare of those they serve. Topics include:
- Practice Management
- Project Management
- Programming & Analysis
- Project Planning & Design
- Project Development & Documentation
- Construction & Evaluation
Each section is taken (and passed or failed) individually, and the order in which the exams are taken is up to the individual professional. Once they pass all sections and have met all the other requirements, he/she can apply for a license. After this final hurdle has been cleared, the celebration can commence and one can officially call him/herself an architect!
But training for an architect does not end there. In order to stay current with new technologies, construction methodologies, and current code requirements, architects must participate in continuing education courses. In Indiana, architects must obtain 24 learning units—16 of which must be focused on health, safety, and welfare (HSW) topics—every two years.
And here you thought your architect just did really well with Legos.