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Tuesday, 12 January 2021


Everyone has their own timeline for taking the AREs and, let me tell you, mine was LONG! When I started logging hours, NCARB’s program was IDP (Intern Development Program) - the precursor to the current AXP (Architectural Experience Program). With AXP, you can start earning hours quickly but that was not the case for IDP. For the later rendition of IDP, one had to be well into their accredited program to start counting hours towards sitting for the exams. 

As an eager, budding architecture professional, I started working for a large, international firm right after my first year of architecture school. I had that lined up before I even started architecture school! I worked for this firm throughout my undergraduate years during summer and winter breaks. In my final year of architecture school, disaster struck the nation - 9/11. I attended school in central New York with family in New York City, so it hit particularly close to home. It also hit the building industry and finding employment as a new graduate was difficult. I moved home to Minneapolis where the economy was not as resilient and worked for a financial firm in order to make ends meet. I knew I wanted to go back to architecture and back East, so I applied to graduate programs. About a year after earning my B.Arch degree, I was back in New York to earn my M.Arch. During this time, I found employment and worked during school, accumulating more hours for my IDP.

Tell my story

The next fifteen years included academic positions right out of graduate school while concurrently working for firms across New York City, designing projects of all types and complexities both domestically and internationally. There were also a series of recessions, financial, and personal hardships. I had more than enough hours to sit for the exams but what I lacked was time and, oftentimes, funding. 

I attempted the process and took my first exam in 2009. Fail. I was frustrated. I did not have the dedication and I was lost on content. In the meantime, though, I saw my friends get licensed and start their own firms. I felt that, even though I had the experience, I did not have that credential. I wanted that. 

I moved an hour outside of NYC, but I still taught and worked in the city which killed my time even more. It was not until 2017 that I tried again in earnest - when I moved to California for a teaching position which afforded me more time. Although I continued to work on projects in New York, I had a minimal commute and the time pressure was less. I was still anxious, though, as I felt I did not have a good grasp on exam content - there was just so much! I took two exams and failed. 

This is when I turned to online coaching. Having a schedule, a track, and defined content helped immensely. Although it still took a couple years, I passed all exams and can proudly call myself an Architect - after over a decade of the exam process. 

Take it from me - persistence is key and licensure is attainable. It’s not out of reach. It just may take a while!

EduMind Inc at 07:44

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