2015 Edition, Issue 3

NCARB Integrated Path Initiative

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has been pursuing the Integrated Path Initiative (IPI) since it commissioned its Licensure Task Force (LTF) in September 2013. The LTF is charged with exploring all potential avenues to licensure by analyzing the essential components (education, experience, and examination) and determining where efficiencies can be realized in order to streamline the licensure process. The accelerated path integrates the internship and examination requirements into the years spent earning a professional degree in architecture. On May 30, 2014, NCARB formally announced its endorsement of the concept.

On September 9, 2014, NCARB released its Request for Interest and Information (RFI&I) to National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited programs for assessment of the interest level and readiness to design and develop an accelerated integrative path leading to licensure. At its September 10, 2014 meeting, the California Architects Board adopted a Supporting Position Statement to demonstrate commitment to the concept.

The LTF received 38 responses to its RFI&I from schools with an accredited program by the October 31, 2014 deadline. Of the schools that responded, 32 (representing 26 percent of institutions with NAAB-accredited degree programs) declared an interest in submitting a formal proposal. The RFI&I was the first in a two-part process that was followed by a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) that was released on January 23, 2015 with a submission deadline of June 1, 2015.

NCARB received more than a dozen responses to the RFP, which were reviewed by the LTF in June/July 2015. On August 31, 2015, NCARB announced the names of the first 13 accredited architectural programs to be accepted for participation in the IPI. NCARB’s acceptance of the initial participants culminates a two-year effort of its LTF to design an integrated path framework that promotes individual academic program flexibility while addressing the regulatory requirements for licensure. The IPI encourages NAAB programs to propose a pre-graduation integration of education, experience, and the opportunity to take each of the six divisions of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) 5.0, which launches in late 2016.

NCARB has also established a new Integrated Path Evaluation Committee (IPEC) to oversee the ongoing work of this initiative. It is anticipated that the IPEC will continue to coach accepted programs, promote engagement with state boards regarding the necessary statutory or regulatory changes to incorporate integrated path candidates, and oversee the acceptance of future program applicants.

The inaugural class of NCARB-accepted IPI programs includes three California schools (NewSchool of Architecture and Design, University of Southern California, and Woodbury University) and ten others from around the country. According to NCARB, each program will implement the integrated path in alignment with the schedule developed by the respective school administration and faculty. Starting dates may vary from one school to another. Integrated path students in each program will be part of existing NAAB-accredited programs.

The Board is pursuing legislative and regulatory changes to implement the core concepts of the IPI. Updates will follow as more information becomes available.