For Aspiring Architects: NCARB Renames Internship Program

This June, the program designed to guide aspiring architects through the early stages of their career will be renamed the Architectural Experience Program (AXP).

As part of an industry-wide push to retire the term “intern,” the Intern Development Program (IDP) will be renamed the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), effective June 29, 2016. Developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the program is designed to guide aspiring architects through the early stages of their career so they can earn a license and practice architecture independently.

This milestone decision was enacted by NCARB’s Board of Directors and is the result of over a year of research and outreach by various NCARB committees, as well as feedback from state licensing boards, industry leaders, and emerging professionals. Based on the recommendations of its Future Title Task Force, NCARB announced in May it would sunset the term “intern,” while preserving the title “architect” for licensed practitioners.

“Renaming the IDP is another step in realigning our programs to better reflect current practice and terminology,” said NCARB President Dennis Ward, AIA, NCARB. “For example, one firm may refer to a non-licensed employee as a ‘senior designer’ while another uses the title ‘project manager.’ Yet, neither is likely to introduce that individual to clients as an ‘intern.”

Since each state sets its own requirements for licensure, the program’s new name will carry an important caveat: “formerly known as the Intern Development Program, or IDP.” This language will accommodate existing laws or rules that refer to the program’s current name. Similarly, while NCARB will continue to refer to those working toward licensure as “aspiring architects” or “exam candidates,” licensing boards have the authority to prescribe their own terminology for unlicensed professionals.

The June launch of the new name will accompany the program’s realignment of experience areas. Over the next several months, NCARB will work with state licensing boards and the architectural community to implement these changes.

For more information on NCARB’s experience program, visit


The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.