NCARB Unveils New Experience Areas for Aspiring Architects

NCARB.Overhaul of IDP Experience Area Map

Next summer, the Intern Development Program (IDP) will be updated to reflect six broad areas of architectural practice.

The final steps to a fully revised experience program for aspiring architects has been unveiled by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). The effective date for NCARB’s “overhaul” of the Intern Development Program (IDP) has been set for June 29, 2016. The overhaul will result in simplifying the experience reporting areas from 17 to six. This latest action completes a multi-year effort to revamp the program; the first phase removed one-third of required hours known as “elective hours,” effective July 1 of this year. The restructuring into six reporting areas is designed to better reflect current architectural practice and technology, based on data from NCARB’s “Practice Analysis” survey. To assist IDP participants in transitioning to the new program, NCARB has also released details on how the current program will map to the future version.

Aligning to the Phases of Architectural Practice

The IDP’s current 17 experience areas will be realigned into six broad practice-based areas. The six new experience areas include: Practice Management, Project Management, Programming & Analysis, Project Planning& Design, Project Development & Documentation, and Construction & Evaluation. These areas will also be reflected in the six divisions of the new licensing exam, Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) 5.0, which will launch in late 2016, providing further alignment between the two programs.

The revisions to the IDP were set in motion by a vote of the NCARB Board of Directors in September 2014. At that time, they voted to modify the IDP—first, by removing elective hours this past July, and next by reallocating these hours into the six new areas. In making these decisions, the BOD considered feedback from various internship committees, interviews with industry leaders, and results from the 2012 NCARB Practice Analysis of Architecture.

“This overhaul will broaden the scope of the IDP’s experience areas without reducing the program’s rigor,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong. “It will also help ensure that aspiring architects acquire the skills and knowledge needed to practice in today’s evolving world.”

Resources for Aspiring Architects

To help prepare aspiring architects and their supervisors for this transition, NCARB has released a map to show how the current 17 experience areas will merge into the six new areas. In the coming months, the organization will also provide helpful video webinars, blog articles, social media updates, and more. Since each state sets its own requirements for initial licensure, NCARB encourages aspiring architects to verify the specific experience requirements in their jurisdiction. NCARB will continue to share updates with its customers and Member Boards regarding the timeline to implementation.

Developed by NCARB, the IDP is designed to guide aspiring architects through the early stages of their career so they can one day practice architecture independently. Most states require completion of the IDP to satisfy experience requirements for licensure.

For more information on the overhauled IDP 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 forindividual 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 inthe United States and Canada. Visit: