Divergent Meanings of Architecture Acronyms

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Most acronyms are actually more likely initials to be more precise, though sometimes they result from a combination of many words strung together such as Delmarva to speak of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Examples that we use everyday are FBI and USA.

Acronym usage is growing by leaps and bounds as our language becomes more involved and multifaceted and also due to the predominance of texting that involves the tedious arrangement of letters using a very tiny cell phone pad that teenagers are increasingly becoming fond of. We can also understand that advances in both technology as well as science have created many acronyms. Any business or specific grouping may use their own acronyms, thus those dealing predominantly with architecture have also formed their own business related acronyms.

For instance architects seeking architect jobs may become members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), or belong to the Association of Licensed Architects (ALA). Most working architects must deal with municipal code enforcement individuals called Certified Building Officials (CBOs), and once a building is habitable no one may actually occupy it without receiving the coveted Certificate of Occupancy (CO).

Those who belong to the Construction Manager Association of America (CMAA) are referred to as Certified Construction Managers (CCMs). There are some highly regarded honorary titles that are put upon some American Institute of Architects (AIA) architects and they are said to belong to the Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA). Many of the higher paid architecture jobs go to those who belong to the Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) must certify architects prior to their seeking architectural jobs. Prior to such certifications, Registered Architects (RA) are required to meet painstaking and scrupulous education standards involving problematical ethics, demanding testing, and arduous training. Few licensed architects become NCARB certified. However, an architect may become a Registered Architect, or an RA through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). The designation requires internship as well as passing the rigorous Architect Registration Examinations (ARE). Also, this designation is commonly required to receive an architectural license in both the United States as well as in Canada. If architects are British, then chances are that they will have RIBA designations before seeking architecture jobs, which stands for Royal Institute of British Architects.

Some architects seeking involved architect jobs have also taken care of receiving Professional Engineer (PE) designations. The reason for seeking a Professional Engineer designation along with being an architect is that in the US an engineer who works on any project that will have an effect on the public must have this particular certification. Thus architects who deal with public buildings and structures often combine the two. In order to receive a Professional Engineer (PE) designation, one must have completed the fieldwork, grueling exams, and highly concentrated training that precede the designation.

What is referred to as the ''alphabet soup'' continues for those involved in architectural jobs. In fact architecture itself is referred to with the acronym ARCH. Any architect worth his/her salt may end up reading the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE). The Internet has created many architectural acronyms, such as WSA that stands for Web Service Architecture, which at least has nothing to do with architectural jobs in the physical sense, meaning construction and designing of what the Internet calls ''brick and mortar'' edifices.
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