Intern Development Program

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It is primarily your own responsibility to seek a wide range of learning experiences. You should avoid excessive specialization by seeking experience in the whole range of tasks performed in your employer's practice.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and the American Institute of Architects have been developing and re-fining an Intern Development Program (IDP). IDP's purpose is to provide to interns (and their employers) a structured program en-compassing a wide range of practical work tasks in preparation for examination and registration. IDP is available in all jurisdictions in the United States and will ultimately be offered by all architectural offices. In considering your first employment opportunity, you should inquire as to the availability of IDP in each interview situation. Results of IDP demonstrate quite clearly that the program benefits each intern fortunate enough to have participated in it.

When first employed, you will be given simple assignments, such as to help complete presentation and working drawings. As your skill develops, you will be given responsibility to fully prepare working drawings for certain details or for selected portions of the project. Later, your work will include experience in all phases of design, as well as construction administration.

This comprehensive experience is not easily obtained in three short years of internship. You and your employer will need to work together to be sure you are exposed to the maximum range of office and project experiences. To ensure that you are benefiting from this maximum exposure, you are required to maintain a training record during your internship.

A full explanation of the Intern Development Program requirements can be obtained from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). A current copy of the booklet Intern Development Program Guidelines will be sent to you on request.


Each of the fifty states, Guam, the "Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have laws regulating the practice of architecture. There is some variation among these laws, but generally they prohibit the use of the title "architect" for those who are not licensed and make it unlawful to practice architecture without a license. An NCARB publication entitled Member Board Requirements contains a comparative overview of the requirements by jurisdiction and will be sent to you on request. It is imperative that you be familiar with the details of the legal requirements in your state. Another NCARB publication, ARE Guidelines, is also available and explains every aspect of the registration exam.

The Architect Registration Examination (ARE) is administered six days per week throughout the year at more than 250 test centers throughout the United States and Canada. Refresher courses are offered in many cities, and information about them may be secured by contacting your local ALA chapter office.

Those who fail portions of the ARE may retake those portions after a mandatory six-month waiting period. Once you have secured a license to practice in a particular state, it is possible to become registered in other states through a process of reciprocity, or by obtaining an NCARB certificate, which is a requirement for reciprocity in many states. In all events, you should become familiar with the examination and registration requirements in the state where you wish to practice. There are many universities and board that provide comprehensive program for architecture studies, different examinations are conducted for getting admission in those universities. So, only talented student gets admission.


Once you have passed the exam and earned your license to practice architecture, you may choose to work toward a partnership in an established firm or to establish your own firm by yourself or in partnership with one or more colleagues. You may choose to teach or do research for a large institution, or go into urban planning, building product sales and manufacturing, or one of many other salaried positions in public or private employ. The possibilities are almost unrestricted, and the direction you choose will probably become clear during your internship.

However, one important consideration underlies all these possibilities: Do not put off earning your license to practice architecture! It is essential to your career.

Too many young people let the opportunity to become registered slip away from them after graduation by going directly into teaching, urban planning, or some other field that does not afford them the opportunity to fulfill the technical requirements of internship. Consequently, they are never eligible to take the registration examination. Later, they find that in their years away from school and practice, they have forgotten much of the technical knowledge required to pass the examination and that refresher courses just aren't sufficient to prepare them for some portions of it. Without the license, their career potential is compromised.

Continuing progress in the techniques of environmental design and construction will present new challenges to you every day of your career, challenges to expand your knowledge, skills, and competence and to guide younger associates along the path you already know so well. The AIA and other industry associations offer a multitude of professional development opportunities through conventions, symposia, research, publications, and participation in the work of local, state, and national association committees.

As an architect, the challenges and responsibilities are considerable and will be constantly demanding of your time and energies. But, as we have said before, you will be a professional to whom society looks as a guardian of its health, its safety, and its general welfare. For those who would answer these challenges, the demands could not be less.
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