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The Secret to Becoming an Architect Faster

The 4 things that will get you to your dream job as an architect a whole lot sooner.

To become a licensed architect, you must commit to years and years of school, interning, and test taking. But it doesn’t have to take that long. We are going to let you in on 4 secrets that will help you get your license much sooner, while still preparing you to be the best architect you can be.

Spend your summer in the studio, not at the beach

Sign up for the Architectural Experience Program - AXP (formerly the Intern Development Program - IDP) and get a summer internship as soon as you graduate high school. Most architecture firms require their interns to already be enrolled in college, but some do allow you to apply for the summer after you graduate high school. Start reaching out and applying early. And keep doing summer internships once you are in college. It may be a bummer giving up your summer breaks for a few years, but trust us, it’s worth it. Trying to juggle school work and an internship at the same time will be an even bigger bummer. Plus, you’ve got thousands of hours of intern work to log before you can finish your AXP, the more summer internships you work, the faster you will get it done.

Two words: Early Eligibility

Almost all of the US licensing boards now allow “Early Eligibility” for the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). Meaning you can start taking the exam before you are done with the AXP. In 2014, it took students an average of 4.9 years to complete the AXP, and an average of 2.5 years to complete the ARE. * So by overlapping the two, you can potentially get your license a few years earlier than planned. And who wouldn’t want that?

NCARB goes digital

NCARB has really stepped it up with their online offerings. Their AXP mobile app will be a lifesaver during your internship. You can use it to log hours on-the-go, review progress, and submit experience to your supervisor for approval. NCARB also offers the ‘My Examination’ portal. This allows you to schedule your ARE exams easily online. And most test centers are open 50 weeks a year, allowing you to schedule the exams whenever you want. You can also use the portal to check your test scores and stay up-to-date with NCARB news.

Retest in t-minus 60 days

Gone are the days when you had to wait 6 whole months to retake a portion of the ARE that you failed. NCARB has generously cut the retest time down to just a few months. You can now retake the same portion every 60 days up to 3 times per year. So tell that one division of the exam that’s causing you grief, that you are coming back for round two in just 60 days.

*Data from the 2015 NCARB By the Numbers report