The Black Spectacles Team
Architect Continuing Education: What Does it Mean and How Can Your Firm Support it?
Getting licensed is a major milestone for every architect, but the work doesn’t end there. In most jurisdictions, architects must renew their license through continued education.
This can be accomplished with NCARB’s Continuum Education Program in which architects earn learning unit credits to push their professional skills to the next level.
Read on for details on NCARB’s program and to learn how your firm can play a valuable role in supporting continuing education for architects.
What Is Architect Continuing Education?
According to NCARB: ”Continuing education is post-licensure learning that enables a registered architect to increase or update knowledge of and competence in technical and professional subjects related to the practice of architecture to safeguard the public’s health, safety, and welfare."
From a holistic standpoint, continuing education is not only required to keep licenses active at your firm, but it’s also a great opportunity for architects to explore new innovations in software, hone skills that they may not routinely use, improve their knowledge of health safety and welfare (HSW), and increase the credibility of their firm.
NCARB’s Continuum Education Program
If the architects at your firm have active NCARB records, they can participate in the Continuum Education Program by taking continuing education (CE) courses for free. This allows them to earn the learning unit (LU) credits required to maintain their licenses and update their skills all at once.
Some CE course topics within the Continuum Education Program include:
- Professional conduct
- Sustainable design
- Historic preservation
- Improving building performance
- Mold and moisture prevention
- Seismic mitigation
With over 60 CE courses to choose from, there is something for everyone. However, it’s important to note that 12 of the 18 learning units must be in the topic of Health Safety and Welfare (HSW). Luckily, each Continuum Education course includes a short article and related quiz that offers 1 to 2.5 AIA HSW learning units to help meet these requirements.
What Does Continuing Education for Architects Mean?
AAlthough CE courses are required for architects wishing to renew their licenses, all architects have the opportunity to dive into the coursework. In addition to free CE courses for NCARB Certificate holders, CE courses are available for purchase by an individual without an active NCARB Record and are free for licensure candidates with active NCARB Records.
This means that every experienced and budding architect at your firm may be eligible to take CE courses. This form of continued education in addition to other education opportunities can help your architects to become a well-rounded team.
HSW CE Learning Program Facts
Verified HSW CE learning programs are developed by professionals with expertise in the field and can give your architects access to exciting learning opportunities.
There are several learning programs available to give your architects knowledge and skills in a variety of ways. Some of these learning options include:
- Live in-person program: Interactive group participation in live learning, usually conducted by an instructor or subject matter expert.
- Live online program: Live and real-time learning with a two-way interaction between learners and instructors/subject matter experts.
- On-demand e-learning program: Completed at any time and any place that suits the learner’s preferences.
- On-demand print/other program: Completed individually by reading materials in print or online and completing a summative assessment.
- Nano learning program: Learn a given subject in a 15-minute or 30-minute time frame using electronic media.
Blending learning program: Incorporates multiple learning formats.
All CE learning programs that meet requirements can count for the Continuing Education Hours required for license renewal.
Conditions for License Renewal
Unless an architect has been granted emeritus or inactive status by NCARB, they are required to complete at least twelve Continuing Education Hours in HSW subjects for each calendar year for license renewal. While architects can earn as many hours as they’d like, these hours do not carry over to the next year.
Other exceptions to this requirement include retired status on the board-approved renewal form, or proven hardship such as being called to active military service.
If a retired or inactive architect wants to return to an active practice, they must submit documentation showing they have completed twelve HSW CE hours within twelve months of returning to the field. However, different jurisdictions may have different requirements for continuing education.
For jurisdiction-specific continuing education requirements, please refer to NCARB’s Licensing Requirements Tool.
3 Ways Your Firm Can Encourage Continuing Education
1. Provide Learning Opportunities
Your firm can support continuing education for architects by providing learning opportunities that facilitate the successful completion of the license renewal process every year.
Some learning opportunities include:
- Additional courses
Remind your architects to provide their AIA Member IDs when signing up for the classes and maintain records of each completed course so that your architects receive the credit.
2. Be Flexible
Be flexible with your architects’ work schedules to allow for studying and learning opportunities. Understand that juggling a hectic workload and making time to learn can be overwhelming, so it’s important to provide the moral support necessary to help pave your architects’ way to success. This can also be done by assigning mentors or inviting architects to join the ARE Community where they can ask questions and get answers from experts.
3. Celebrate Success
When your architects advance their learning, their careers, or even finish a challenging project, celebrate their successes as a firm. You can also share successes on your firm’s website and social media pages to further their reputation and the reputation of your firm at the same time. Highlighting wins can motivate your team and bring them closer together.
Want to create more opportunities for architects in your firm? Sponsor the ARE Test Prep to help take your team’s skills to the next level. Check out the Black Spectacles Firm Memberships today.