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NCARB Broadens Opportunities to Earn IDP Hours

Academic internship experience will now have no cap.


Academic internship experience will now have no cap.

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has announced additional opportunities for interns to earn experience hours. These two opportunities build upon the experience areas announced in April as part of IDP 2.0. The academic internship experience, originally capped at 930 hours, will now have no cap. This change will be retroactive to April 5 when academic internships first became available to earn hours. Interns will also have the opportunity to earn IDP experience through construction work and will be able to take advantage of this opportunity upon implementation this fall.

“The Council is continuously looking for opportunities for interns to gain valuable experience that counts toward the IDP,” says Michael J. Armstrong, NCARB Chief Executive Officer. “The addition of construction work and the removal of the cap on experience earned through academic internships demonstrate the Council’s commitment to a more agile approach to its programs, expanding opportunities, and responding to recommendations of our stakeholders and collateral partners like the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).”

Construction Work

Many options exist in the construction industry for an intern to gain hands-on experience. Through these options interns develop knowledge and skills valuable to understanding how details “on paper” translate to the built environment and other aspects of the profession of architecture.

Interns may earn up to 930 elective hours in construction work done through either a paid or volunteer position. They must work at least 15 hours per week for a minimum of eight weeks for the experience to qualify. Construction activities that can be counted toward hours include, but are not limited to, hanging drywall, wiring, flooring, plumbing, and building layout.

“Construction work gives interns experience working with materials and a better understanding of installation requirements and material limitations,” says Harry M. Falconer Jr., AIA, NCARB, director, Internship + Education. “This is also an opportunity to work directly with contractors instrumental in creating the final product.”

Academic Internships

Additionally, architecture students participating in academic internships meeting the requirements defined in the IDP Guidelines through their university can now earn more than 930 hours through this opportunity. NCARB’s Board of Directors decided to remove the limit as a result of discussions with the ACSA, the Council’s Internship Committee, and the IDP Advisory Committee. Limited IDP credit for academic internships was permitted for the first time in April as part of the new IDP 2.0 criteria.

This change recognizes that many academic institutions have internships that run parallel or are embedded in to their academic programs, and have an oversight structure that provides a level of quality control for the experience being earned. The NCARB Board concluded that these programs provide the participants with valuable work experience that is intended to expose students to the “real world” aspects of the practice.

“The committees and the Board of Directors felt experience obtained within the guidelines of the IDP should count for hours toward the program regardless of whether the host is a firm, an academic institution, or other related setting,” Falconer says.

Full details on these opportunities and how to report them will available in the October 2012 IDP Guidelines. Visit NCARB at