Comments

10 comments

  • Avatar
    Victoria Shingleton (Edited )

    Technically, there is no such thing as a non-licensed architect [in the United States].

    Number of licensed architects is an easy number to locate - check with your state registration board. But the number of people who practice architecture in the state but are not licensed professionals is going to be a difficult number to quantify because there isn't any sort of registry that keeps track. Perhaps the closest you could get is to check with the state registration and see how many are registered and pursuing their license. Of course, this isn't an accurate number because it only accounts for the people who are pursuing their license, and not those who have no intention of becoming licensed.

    -1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Richard Balkins

    From a world wide perspective, it is not correct Victoria Shingleton.

    In the United States and many countries (not all countries), license is a requirement to use the title "Architect". The title is regulated in every single state in the United States. In the other countries that regulates the architect title, this is regulated wither through their national laws or laws of sub-political bodies (such as states, provinces, etc.). The regulation of practicing architecture is more complicated on the international level. Getting into that would be too time consuming to go through at this time.

    Since the ARE is predominately about licensure process in the United States, lets focus the rest in the United States context.

    In every single state of the United States, the title of "Architect" is regulated and requires a license. Only those licensed as architects can offer "Architectural services" (using those terms). However, in MOST states, a unlicensed person or unlicensed designer may design certain types of buildings such as single family dwellings. Those who do this for a living may not refer to themselves as "Architects" or offer services as "Architectural services". In almost all those states, they may use the title "Building Designer" or "Residential Designer" or "Home Designer" or similar titles that accurately describes their services and title without calling themselves "Architects" or titles that might more easily be interpreted as one that is licensed such as "Architectural Designers". These unlicensed designers may refer to their services as "building design" services or "home design services" or "residential design services" but they would run afoul of current licensing laws in the U.S. to call their services as 'architectural design services'. 

    There are little loopholes or exceptions to the norms like those working for the Federal government doing "architectural" services on federal lands and few federal territories such as American Samoa because there is no architectural licensure requirements in such territory and work on say.... an military base facility.... is not subject to state jurisdiction. The national laws of the U.S. does not have any architectural licensing laws because they are regulated at the state level.

    As a building designer, myself, I am familiar with the rules and laws enough. 

    You might ask, "what about those who are given the title "Project Architect" by their employer yet are not licensed. First, the fact that an employer gives such job position title containing a regulated title such as "Architect" (or containing such word in the title) is in fact of questionable legality. Regardless, firms are not licensing bodies so those titles are "internal" titles of job positions of an organization. Therefore, they are not professional titles conferred by a real professional authority to confer such title. Therefore, job position titles within a firm is meaningless but they do add to the general public confusion there already is. 

    To the OP's question: What are the percentages of licensed architects vs. non-licensed architects? This can not be answered or solvable. Every single human being with functional brain versus the number of licensed architects would be the most extreme percentage. It's come percentage < or = to that. As to who are all actively practicing is also fluidic. If you want to compare something, you can compare something like percentage ration of licensed Architects to CPBDs and likewise to Architects vs Engineers.... and similarly to those who are licensed contractors. Architects to CPBDs is easy to calculate a percentage ratio. Architects to Engineers.... doable but you might want to know who are practicing designing of buildings. This is a bit harder. Then you got Contractors..... and that is tough work to get the data. 

    How many are licensed to those who are ARE examinees... doable. How many are in AXP to those licensed... doable. I think we have to have a question that is actually solvable because there is some sort of roster data.

     

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Victoria Shingleton

    Arguably, I was answering the question in the context in which it was asked, which is on the NCARB Community board about states, presumably in the United States. But I appreciate the global perspective, Richard Balkins.

    If you walk into a building and ask, "Where is the fifth floor?" And someone responds, "There isn't a fifth floor," That doesn't mean that there isn't a fifth floor in the building next door or across the street, just not in the building that the question was asked.

    But I get it. Reiterating the context in which one is answering questions these days has become increasingly important so that information does not become misconstrued, so thank you for the reminder to do that.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Pisuttisuk Kittipongdaja

    I understand 2 point you have brought up. I'm just trying to get a ball park number.

    Would you say less than 50%(of people who decide to take a test) is a fair assumption basing on ARE division 2019 passing rates?

    I combine all test passing rates (49%+63%+52%+42%+50%+70%)/6 = 54%

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Richard Balkins

    Pisuttisuk, 

    Passing rates indicates the rate in which people pass the respective exam division. This number is effected by the fact that often people have to retake some exam divisions multiple times. NCARB and various others who have done some surveys along this line does not collect the information necessary to really answer the questions you are asking. For example, if it takes on average a person taking an exam division two to three times to pass that division then the passing rate will be between 33.3% to 50% because of the retakes. This data is based on rate of passing to every single attempt on the exam for a given year. This has no data to point out any correlation to the rate of examinees who end up getting licensed. There maybe some data to correlate number of examinees on a given year to how many who end up getting licensed. This doesn't really get deep into the individual level and their determination. For some, their journey can be decades long. 

    I would reason that far less than half the people who starts their education (or career) in architecture ends up getting licensed. Architecture school graduation rate is a fair source for that data for just those who take a conventional path of starting their career by going to architecture school. This doesn't mean they completely leave the architecture field. A lot of people pivot and modify their path and it doesn't all end up with license. A small percentage of those who drift to related fields ends up getting licensed but there are some. I know some who have done that. A lot of people finds their niche in a related field and are happy and don't desire to pursue licensure like they once had. Then you have people who never were concerned with licensing whatsoever.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Victoria Shingleton

    The other issue, if you were to collect graduation data from NAAB-accredited schools, is that it would be challenging to keep that data separated on a state-by-state basis, or even a national basis. For example, international students who attend a US architecture school and leave the US after graduation would be included in the number of graduates. And then there are graduates who may pursue their license in a different state than they attended school. Also, you'd have to consider how many years of data to include - how far back do you go for total number of graduates.... the 1970s, 80s? Of course the process of becoming licensed has changed very much over the years, including degree program requirements.

    An alternative, with a similar number of flaws, may be to go directly to architecture firms in each state and find out their number of licensed and non-licensed employees.

    Of course, none of that is information that is readily available - you're embarking on your own research project.

    -1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Richard Balkins

    Victoria, good points there. It's not easy to collect. While there is already data collected about graduation rates at each school offering architecture programs (but only for as long as they have data collected for (and retained). Most data is only going back maybe 20-30 years. Records retained at colleges/universities might be upwards of 10 years but there maybe archive records for longer periods of time. In any case, there is data for that and there are information about dropout rates or basically people switching majors. 

    There isn't a nice package of information giving us everything we need to answer some of these questions. Within a few percentage points error margin, most people who do graduate and end up getting licensed would likely be licensed within 15 years of graduations. Going back to the 1970s and 80s would yield a slightly more accurate percentage but I don't expect it to budge much. It is my guess but I would say 90 to 95% of those licensed (with an architecture degree) this year (for example) graduated architecture school (obtained their architecture degree(s)) in the last 30 years. The next 3-9.x% would be from those who graduated between 1985 and 1990. This is a guess and not based on numbers. Whatever remains is from the very small percentage of those who graduated from architecture school before 1980. 

    There is a point where very few people even bother pursuing the licensure or willing to take the exams. The older you get, there is a point where you're just kind of getting "too old" to be bothered with the stress of the ARE.... like they aren't interested in causing themselves a stroke taking the exam because they aren't physically in the condition to take the ARE exam in the high stake, high pressure environment that the exam is with all these questions and the short time frame to answer it even though they are competent practitioners.... and yet to benefit to them would passing the ARE be for them? There is a logically presumed cutoff point.

    There is information readily available for parts of all this but to get all the information needed, you are absolutely correct that you're embarking on your own research project. 

    In fact, you have to do both and still have to get data to correlate those with degrees and getting licensed and also determine the number of those without architecture degrees getting licensed. This is a LOT of work. I don't know of any research done to date that has all the information. NCARB record data listing those who are licensed in an NCARB jurisdiction with architecture degrees from those that don't. This isn't perfect so you may need this kind of information from each state licensing board but then you do run into issues of needing certain information that won't be given to you because it's protected personal data information. You have to be careful to not multi-count individuals that are licensed in multiple states so you have to correlate. NCARB's is in a better position of doing that without exposing NCARB record information to the general public at large. There is reason why your NCARB Record # and account isn't outright public. NCARB protects that data. 

    LONG story short, it's a big undertaking that will requires NCARB, state licensing boards, employers, architecture schools, and potentially other parties to submit data including raw data they collected because their prepackaged data might not be usable the way we need to use it to get to answering some.

    The original question is impossible to answer because we have to defined the "non-licensed architect" to that of "unlicensed building design professionals" and then we have to determine who are in the business of providing building design services (including terms like residential design, home design, etc. even when they are also construction contractors doing design-build) and those that are architects. There is absolutely no information readily available in a way that will give us the info we need. You also have moonlighters doing gigs without even establishing any sort of business license with local or state. 

    As I said earlier, we can easily do something like counting how many certified building designers who undergoes CPBD (or a similar building design certification) vs those who are licensed architects. That's easy. However, there is no regulation that tells us how many unlicensed building designers there are because a title like "building designer" is not regulated nor is the practice regulated beyond building codes and the language of the architectural licensing / title & practice laws and the exemptions/exceptions that may exist.

    If you practice in exempt buildings (in most states), like SFRs, you are competing with nearly everyone willing to design whether for themselves or for others. There is no minimum qualification, which is why there is credentials like CPBD and also the architect license itself a credential establishing a standard that sets you apart from all that because it's third-party assessment and not just your word. Ultimately, your actual knowledge and skills matter and why your portfolio of work matters but a license or certification speaks some volume because it isn't just your words. That runs into a whole another topic.

    You can easily see that such a research is nearly impossible to perform. I rather collect data on number of designers who have certifications (credentials) such as the CPBD, government issued occupational license, or similar credentials because there is data that can be collected and there is a defined criterion. 

     

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Richard Balkins (Edited )

    Big takeaway from the TLDR post(s):

    Regarding question: Anyone know where I can find percentage of licensed architect versus non-licensed architect in each state?

    1. Calculating the number of "unlicensed" persons designing buildings is the part that is close to impossible to calculate. We can narrow the calculation to some degree if we focus and define more precisely for what we are looking for like credentials or something where there maybe data collected. 

    2. Calculating at state by state level is nearly impossible to do and you have to work through a near impossible process for point 1 above. Certifications like CPBD are issued by a professional association and not limited to a specific state. However, AIBD does list their CPBDs by states where they are located (with a category about those abroad outside the U.S.). Therefore, you can have a CPBD and be located outside the U.S. Other certifications maybe similar in this regard. However, this doesn't say anything about what states or countries these individuals may design buildings in. Only where they are located. You'll have to check and verified people who have multiple credentials so as to not multi-count them. Some CPBDs, for example, are licensed architects in at least one U.S. jurisdiction. Just imagine that with other comparable certifications.

    In U.S., the architect license is issued by state licensing boards.  Some are licensed in multiple states.

    3. If we are able to do #1 & 2 above, then we maybe able to do a comparison but we need to get data collected.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Bottom Line: It's a big undertaking and would require carefully combing through the data so as to not multi-count individuals because they appear on multiple databases. After all, there are a lot of people with multiple credentials. 

    It will essentially be its own research project as Victoria said. There is some research done for us but there is still a lot of research work we would have to do in order to answer such a question as the OP asked. I don't desire to do such a research. It will likely be quite expensive to do as well. Even a more narrow question is still some work but to put it altogether is still a bit of work to comb through.

    Even those persons licensed as architects in one state can potentially design buildings in another state without reciprocity if they don't use the architect title or refer to those services as architectural services under a business name that doesn't indicate the business is offering architectural services. It is technically possible if you navigate the laws carefully.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Michelle NCARB

    Hi all -

    Appreciate the significant amount of discussion on this topic!  NCARB has a lot of data on the number of candidates on the path to licensure, as well as architects licensed in each jurisdiction.  Take a look at our annual NCARB by the Numbers to learn more.  Going back to the original question on this thread, this link will take you right to the section where you can learn more about licensees in each state and jurisdiction.

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Richard Balkins (Edited )

    Michelle NCARB, 

    NCARB has some numbers for some things but they don't have numbers of all the unlicensed persons out there designing buildings in the U.S. because a lot of unlicensed persons never had any contact or association with AIA, NCARB, or even worked for anyone associated directly or indirectly. Many have not even gone to an architecture school or had any architecture courses of any kind. This is why the question as written is not able to be answered from NCARB's data or any data from AIA's research or otherwise. 

    The data from NCARB has some value but it only goes so far. Finding out number of licensees per state is fine and all and answers part of the question. It's easy to get number of licensed architects like the number of CPBDs. That's easy. There is a much bigger world of unlicensed persons designing buildings be it houses, agricultural buildings, and even commercial buildings under exemptions in some states. There is no exhaustive research on that front. You may have part of the data of those unlicensed person designing buildings because some are in the AXP program or taking the ARE. They don't add up to the total because there is a unmeasured number of people who aren't in the databases to tell us. It's why it gets complicated on this front. I don't mean or imply any sort of dissing on NCARB's work here. 

    While NCARB's research is useful but like I said, getting the data on the rest of these "unlicensed persons designing buildings" will require significant research effort. I'm a building designer myself. I only will appear in your data count because of my NCARB record. Before that, I wouldn't show up on the data. 

    As you may note, I'm moving the point of question away from using the term "Non-licensed Architects" to "Unlicensed persons (designers) who designs buildings" for obvious reasons we know as professionals. NCARB has not intentionally collected information on those unlicensed persons who designs buildings, except those on licensure track at some point and only to a limited extent. It doesn't really track who left or diverted from licensure track without NCARB record #. NCARB hasn't really been in the business of keeping track of those not licensed other than those actively on licensure track and those who are licensed (active and those whose license expired). Having an eye on all those persons out there designing houses, farm buildings, etc. isn't really something NCARB is really tracking or the purpose of NCARB's research. 

    Thank you for pointing out the NCARB by the Numbers data. That is one of the sources I had in mind. Of course, no one has to reinvent the wheel for everything obviously.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink

Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk