Surreal, relieved, excited, hallelujah! Just some of the words used by our architects to describe that feeling when they became licensed. Recently our own Colton Todd achieved licensure in Missouri. “It’s a big undertaking, from the day you start school you know what’s ahead of you,” explains BR&P Architect & Partner, Benjamin Van Eps, who became licensed in 2006. It’s a huge accomplishment, but many people don’t realize the complexity, rigor, and dedication it takes for one to become a licensed architect.
“It’s a big undertaking, from the day you start school you know what’s ahead of you,” explains BR&P Architect & Partner, Benjamin Van Eps
The first step is obtaining a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). However, this doesn’t automatically make one an architect; it’s just a stepping stone in the lengthy process. You then must complete 96 key tasks, which fall into six practice areas of which you need to earn and document 3,740 hours of experience across six different categories. This is known as the Architectural Experience Program or AXP.
Many architects in training find a mentor or other peers going through the same process. At Butler, Rosenbury & Partners, we place a strong priority on the development of our emerging architects by providing a variety of meaningful experiences that qualify for the AXP. For Layne Hunton, who became licensed in June, the variety of projects he could work on was also helpful during his AXP process. “BR&P gave me the ability to be in many different roles and a lot of responsibilities within those roles. I wasn’t stuck in one spot doing one thing, which really gave me a robust education while working.”
“BR&P gave me the ability to be in many different roles and a lot of responsibilities within those roles,” Layne Hunton, BR&P Architect
For Colton, “it was extremely helpful that there were a lot of people in the office around my age that were studying for the exam too. It was that compatibility to study together, the ability to share study materials and talk about the tests that made preparing for the exams easier. BR&P also has an extensive resource library, which was really helpful for studying.” Laura Daugherty, who was licensed in 2008, believes that BR&P’s environment was extremely helpful. “There are always licensed architects around you, talking about different projects. I listened and absorbed that information, and through that process, I learned a ton.”
“At BR&P, there are always licensed architects around you, talking about different projects. I listened and absorbed that information, and through that process, I learned a ton.” Laura Daugherty, BR&P Architect
While you are gaining your experiential hours, you can also begin testing. Architects in training must take and pass six separate exams called the Architecture Registration Examination (ARE). These tests are required by states and provinces in the US and Canada. The ARE exams include:
Programming and Analysis
Project Planning & Design
Project Development & Documentation
Construction and Evaluation
While the process seems daunting, the main piece of advice to those going through is to not give up. “Once you’ve started stick with it, because once you’ve stopped it’s really hard to get traction and keep going,” said Layne. For Mike Harned, BR&P Architect and Partner, he thinks one of the most important things you can do is visit construction sites. “Do as many site observations as you can. Going to construction sites, really opens your eyes when you can see that process from design to reality. It really shows the complexity and the challenges that architects have to face daily.”