Saturday, August 23, 2014

Decline in Licensure Rates

So, this week, the AIA released the third quarter ABI (Architecture Billings Index); for me, that was not so much interesting, but later the article had a pie chart (see below) highlighting the reasons for the ongoing decline in rates of licensure according to firm leaders.

In viewing the chart more closely, it is clear that the primary reason for the decline is "few benefits/incentives - 32%.  Thus, why would one become an architect if there is no benefit or incentive.  If one wishes to be in the profession, simply obtain the degree and work for a firm under the supervision of an architect.  In this scenario, they would not be able to call themselves an architect or open their own firm (a valid reason to pursue licensure).  

But from stories I have heard, firms do not provide any additional financial compensation when a staff becomes licensed.  Typically, there is no more responsibility just because the individual is an architect.

To stem this decline, the profession needs to provide incentive; in turn, we need to provide benefit or incentive to clients to hire architects.  

Most of the other reasons are, in my opinion, "complaining.  The "process is too costly, not prepared for the ARE, etc." are just excuses from the candidate/intern.

I do find it interesting that a full 13% are not fully committed to a career in architecture; while this sounds like a valid reason, why are they not fully committed.

Bottom line, what can the profession do to improve the benefit of becoming an architect?  Is money the solution?  I hope not, but a raise when becoming licensed certainly would help.  I do think more firms help subsidize the ARE and IDP.

What else can be done?  I am not sure, but do not law firms celebrate when their staff pass the bar.  The AIA does provide free convention registration to those who have become licensed in the past year.

As an educator, I try to do my part and strongly encourage my students/graduates to pursue licensure, but what should I tell them is waiting for them?

Just my thoughts!

Design Activity in the Third Quarter Opens with a Bang

Firms see many reasons for declining licensure rates among younger staff

1 comment:

naello said...

This article is quite interesting to me right now as I sit studying for my fifth ARE exam on Monday, having spent much of my free time this year studying. I believe the rate of licensure is very much directly tied to benefits/compensation. At my old firm you could be promoted up the ranks of the firm without a license, it was not a priority and therefore very few of the intern architects prepared for the exams. On the flip side, my current firm has a very strict policy on not promoting anyone to associate without a license. In turn almost all of the young intern architects are taking their exams or are licensed. It is quite amazing to experience the two different firm standards for licensure. Leaving promotions aside, I now know that licensure is extremely important for those wanting to be competent, knowledgable, and professional architects (in particular for young architects who don't have a ton of experience). Through the exams I have learned about all aspects of the profession from life safety, to construction, and MEP systems. This has allowed me to have much higher level discussions with contractors and consultants. I started taking the exams thinking of it as a requirement for promotion but have ended up expanding my knowledge immensely. I would recommend getting licensed even if there is no bonus waiting at the end of the ARE exam road. Architecture is not just about creating beautiful buildings and spaces but also about the health, safety, and welfare of those experiencing your work!