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Young Architects Bypassing Licensure

Thursday, August 28, 2014

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Architect billings may be up, but licensure in the profession is down—especially among the younger crowd.

Younger architects aren’t particularly concerned about getting a license in the field, American Institute of Architects (AIA) economist Kermit Baker reported recently.

Young architects AIA
Tulane University Public Relations / Flickr

The number of young architects seeking licensure is down, according to AIA.

"Firm leaders are increasingly concerned that a growing share of their younger architectural staff is not pursuing licensure," Baker wrote.

"While there is consensus that this is a growing problem, there is much less agreement as to the key reasons behind this trend."

Show Me the Benefits

The most common reason cited by Baker's firms: few perceived benefits and incentives for a process that typically takes 12 years.

That general impression by 17.2 percent was closely followed by respondents who "don't feel the need" to obtain licensure (17 percent) and those who "are not fully committed to a career in architecture" (13.3 percent).

AIA chart

Other respondents say that the profession hasn’t demonstrated the benefits of licensure (14.9 percent), firm leaders haven’t adequately encouraged them (3 percent), and the perception that the licensure process is too time consuming (8.2 percent), complicated (5.8 percent) and costly (4 percent).

In addition:

  • 3 percent say they are not prepared for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE);
  • 5.6 percent say they have no plans to become a firm principal or owner;
  • 5.8 percent say the internship process is too difficult; and
  • 7.9 percent have other reasons.

Glass Ceilings

Licensing among women architects appears to be following the overall trend. "More women than ever are applying to become architects, but far fewer attain their license or reach leadership positions in their firms," the Wall Street Journal reported recently.

Only 12 percent of architects that serve as supervisors, or licensed employers in architectural firms, are women, the news outlet reported.

Said one female senior associate: "There's still a glass ceiling, ironically, in architecture."



Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architecture; Licensing

Comment from Robert Fallis, (8/28/2014, 9:35 AM)

>Licensure should exist only to protect the public from unsafe practice, not design style. Engineers ensure the safety of structures and materials, while architects provide the creative vision that many engineers lack. Licensing of architects is licensing of creativity and imagination that provides the public with no more protections than they have through other available institutions.

Comment from marc chavez, (8/28/2014, 10:50 AM)

the license is not for design it is for life safety. if there is a dead end corridor...and people die, it's not the code official or contractor that is at fault, it's me. beauty has nothing to do with my license (and if you saw my design ability you'd agree)....I work with great designers....and make sure there are no dead end corridors, or leaks, or coating failures, or.....etc etc.

Comment from Andrew Piedl, (8/28/2014, 11:00 AM)

The single most important task of the Architect is life safety. One of my teachers said that (or something like that).

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