Important Changes You Should Know About the IDP and the ARE

April 6, 2010

by Joyce M. Scatuccio, Associate AIA
IDP Coordinator AIA NJ

The Intern Development Program (IDP) was introduced to the Architecture community in 1976. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) implemented the newly formed IDP to provide a uniformed system for documentation and specified training requirements for all interns. Through the next 34 years NCARB and the Architecture community continuously review and change the IDP and the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) regulations to maintain an accurate view of the industry. In the past five years NCARB has made several important changes to the IDP and the ARE programs to keep pace with the profession and bring them into the future. Within the next few paragraphs we will review the most pertinent changes and introduce to you AIA NJ’s IDP Committee.

These changes are not only important to the intern, but also supervisors, mentors and students involved in the Architectural field. The first of the newly established regulations is the “Six Month Rule”. It will be officially implemented on July 1, 2010. The transition period for the “Six Month Rule” started on July 1, 2009 and continues through July 1, 2010. This year period gives anyone who has not started their NCARB council record to do so. Starting the council record within this transition period will allow you to go back eight months from the council record start date for you to list your employment training units. If you created your NCARB council record prior to July 1, 2009 then there are no limitations for listing prior employment training units. However, this is on NCARB’s assumption that you have already implemented any prior training units. Going forward from July 1, 2010 ALL interns within the IDP must comply with the “Six Month Rule”. The “Six Month Rule” states that interns will be required to submit training units earned in intervals of no more than six months. After each six month interval you will have the subsequent two month period following the six month interval to report the time earned. Once the consecutive two month reporting period has lapsed you will loose the time earned. For example, you work from January 1st through June 30th, you have from July 1st through August 31st to report the time earned. For every day that passes beyond the reporting period you will lose a day from the beginning of the period earned until all pervious six months are no longer accepted. Some extensions for the reporting are allowed for certain reasons such as a birth or adoption of a child, military service, serious medical conditions or exceptional circumstances. NCARB implemented the “Six Month Rule” to help interns and their supervisors to catch lacking training areas before it gets out of hand. It also helps interns to keep a more efficient track of their time when moving form job to job. While the “Six Month Rule” affects the way all interns report their training units, IDP 2.0 redefines IDP based of the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture.

The 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture was a comprehensive survey submitted by NCARB to help them realign the IDP and the ARE with current architectural practices. IDP 2.0 is the result of those realignments implemented in three phases. Phase one was put into effect on July 1, 2009. This allowed interns who were employed or unemployed to continue to earn training units through their supplementary education activities. You can earn up to 235 units/1,880 hours of supplementary education out of the 700 units/5,600 hours required. Some ways to obtain the supplementary education units are through the following; LEED accreditation or other certificate programs, completing AIA-approved continuing education events, NCARB Professional Conduct monograph, CSI certificate programs, state board resources, earning a post-professional degree in architecture after earning a professional architecture degree from a NAAB accredited program, and/or completing activities through the Emerging Professional Companion ( Starting on January 1, 2010 if you are unemployed or employed you can have your mentor sign off on any completed supplementary education units. Your mentor can also sign off on anything related to the Emerging Professional Companion. This will especially help interns continue to obtain their IDP while unemployed and without a supervisor. Do note, any intern who is working without pay can not apply those hours towards the IDP. Unpaid internships are not recognized by NCARB and are also against the AIA ethics codes. During these hard economic times, NCARB is doing it’s best to provide outlets for interns to continue with their IDP. In the IDP 2.0 phase two and three, NCARB has redefined different sections in the Intern Handbook to make the process easier to understand.

Phase two took effect on January 1, 2010, changing the definition of “direct supervisor”. This change will allow IDP supervisors to oversee their interns through personal contact and various communications such as e-mail, webcasts, online markups and other internet mediums. Also the definition of “direct supervisor” will change to reflect current architectural practice. This will allow interns who are independent contractors or have temporary positions to earn their training units if they work under the direct supervision of register architect within the state they are working in. The IDP training requirements definition will also change from 700 training units or TU’s to 5,600 training hours. There is no change in the actual amount of time required since 1 TU is equal to 8 hours. This just allows the define language to be easier and that no conversion needs to be done.

Lastly, Phase three will be implemented on January 1, 2011. The IDP training areas will change to parallel with the new experience areas required for the competent practice of architecture as defined in the 2007 Practice of Analysis of Architecture. The current four training areas of Design and Construction Documents, Construction Contract Administration, Management and Related Activities will change in the IDP 2.0 to reflect the four domains of practice. The four new training areas will be; Pre-Design, Design, Project Management, and Practice Management. The change in training areas will not affect current implemented time. Any pervious earned hours will automatically be converted to the newly defined areas. In addition the current seven work settings, A through FF, will merge into three experience settings. These changes that make up the IDP 2.0 will streamline the overall process and result in a more professional environment.

For those of you who are currently eligible to take the ARE two resolutions were passed at the July 2009 NCARB annual meeting. The first resolution will go into effect as of January 1, 2011. It states that you have five years from the date of the candidate’s authorization to test (ATT) to show some kind of activity to take the ARE. You must take at least one exam within the five years, pass or fail, to prevent you loosing your authorization to test. If you loose your ATT, then you have to reapply for your eligibility to the state board under its current regulations. Another resolution was addressed in connection with the “ARE Rolling Clock”. Previously any division passed before January 1, 2006 was exempt from the “Rolling Clock”. With this new resolution in placed, any division passed prior to January 1, 2006 will become invalid unless all divisions of the ARE are passed by July 1, 2014. This forces any ARE candidates to completely transition with the “Rolling Clock” and to clean up any remaining exemptions. With all of the new regulations put in placed, some times it can make your head spin. However, if you take one at a time and apply it to your own situation you will do fine. AIA NJ chapter is here to help you with any questions that may come up.

Joyce M. Scatuccio, Associate AIA has been the Intern Development Program Coordinator for AIA NJ for the past three years and continues to do so through 2010. You can contact her at or cell: 732-939-0709.

The AIA NJ IDP Committee would also like to introduce their latest addition to the group, Nicole DeCandia, Associate AIA, LEED AP. Nicole is the Assistant IDP Coordinator for AIA NJ and is training to be the IDP Coordinator in 2011. She can be reached at or cell: 732-977-7847. The IDP Committee is here to help with any IDP and ARE inquiries or events that you may be interested in. We provide free IDP and ARE informational seminars to any firms or schools who would like to learn more. Currently, the IDP Committee will be presenting a booth at the NJIT’s Design Showcase at the College for Architecture and Design in Newark, NJ on April 15, 2010. Feel free to stop by our booth to learn more about IDP and the ARE. We hope that this article has provided you a better understanding of the long road to architecture licensure.

By | Posted in AIA-NJ News, IDP / ARE | Tagged: , | Comments (2)

2 responses to “Important Changes You Should Know About the IDP and the ARE”

  1. Siro Tarquinio says:

    This statement is not correct :”Starting the council record within this transition period will allow you to go back eight months from the council record start date for you to list your employment training units.” The NCARB system does not allow this. If you started your council record between 7/01/09 and 7/01/10 you are subject to the 6 month rule so you can only report time 8 months back from the day you report it, not from your record start date as stated in your newsletter.

  2. Siro,
    As per our conversation on the phone, I mentioned that Nick Serfass, NCARB’s IDP Assistant Director, stated that if you create your council record during the transition period of July 1, 2009 through July 1, 2010 in regards to the six month rule, that NCARB will allow you to go back 8 months from your council record start date. I have seen this completed properly by other interns. Remember the e-EVR system is fairly new and subjective to glitches. As well as many times you might not be aware of a error in your own submitted information that may be causing the problem. If you run into a problem like this you can always contact NCARB’s customer service or Nick Serfass.



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