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NYSED Changes to the Path to Licensure

by Michelle Murnane, AIA, NCARB

There are some positive changes to the NYSED Board of Regents regulations regarding the licensure process that were made effective as of April 22 of this year. As we have passed the end of the university academic year and students may be working at their summer internships, it is especially timely to take note of some new opportunities for emerging professionals on the path to licensure.

Experience earned during lawful employment that is nonconcurrent to full time attendance at a college with a duration of at least one month can now count toward the duration requirement for licensure. In a January 2020 memorandum to the NYSED Board of Regents’ Professional Practice Committee, Douglas E. Lentivec writes:

While NCARB and most US states and territories permit experience earned while an applicant is not attending college to count towards completion of the AXP®, New York has historically not allowed such experience to count towards the typical three-year duration requirement in architecture. The proposed…is designed to address this situation by permitting experience that is earned non-concurrently with full-time attendance at college, including, but not, limited to, during summer breaks, to count towards satisfaction of the experience requirements for licensure and describes the specific parameters under which such experience may count for this purpose.

Another significant change has also occurred regarding examination. Now, students enrolled in a professional B.Arch/M.Arch first degree program may begin taking the ARE® after completion of their third year in the program. Students in a professional M.Arch program who have earned a prior undergraduate degree may begin the ARE® after the completion of their first year in the program. As many other states already accept early ARE® scores, “…New York students are presently at a competitive disadvantage due to their inability to take the ARE® while enrolled in college.” wrote Lentivec.

This admission of early testing fortuitously falls in line with another recent change regarding New York State candidates’ ability to actually schedule a test. Per state guidelines, Prometric, the testing center administering the ARE®, was recently allowed to reopen. Despite the fact that AIANYS had successfully lobbied to have architecture included in the list of essential services back in March, Prometric was prioritizing other tests over ARE® candidates. Thanks to additional intervention again by AIANYS, Prometric has also classified the ARE® as an essential examination. Though spaces are limited due to demand and availability during the ongoing COVID crisis, ARE® candidates can again begin or resume scheduling testing.

The amendment embodies other changes to the regulations, including: the acceptance of an architecturally related Masters Degree to count in lieu of one year of experience, allowing additional endorsement pathways, and removing the ARE® review and challenge. Regarding the latter, it was noted by Robert Lopez, RA, Executive Secretary to the New York State Board for Architecture, during a June 2 NCARB webinar regarding the NYS licensure process, that this option was rarely utilized, had never resulted in a changed test score outcome, and was not worth the cost and time to the state.

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