The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) will discontinue the current Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect (BEFA) Program. At NCARB's Annual Meeting last week, the organization’s member boards voted to end the program in favor of an alternative certification process for foreign architects who are licensed but do not currently meet the requirements for the NCARB Certificate, a credential that facilitates licensure among U.S. ​jurisdictions and indicates that an architect has met national licensure standards established by registration boards.

Effective July 1, 2016, the new alternative for foreign licensees​ will replace the current BEFA Program requirements, eliminating the committee dossier review and the need to document seven years of credentialed practice in a foreign country. Instead, foreign architects will be required to record completion of the Intern Development Program (IDP) experience requirements and pass the Architect Registration Examination to obtain certification.

“By imposing the same experience and examination criteria on foreign architects as we do in U.S. architect candidates for certification, we address knowledge of U.S. codes and facility with English as the primary U.S. language,” NCARB president Dale McKinney, FAIA, said in a press release. “The new alternative will be more automated, increasing objectivity and helping reduce fees associated with the dossier and interview requirements.”

NCARB also voted on an alternative to the Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) program, but fell one vote shy of getting the 28 votes necessary. The BEA program is for architects seeking an NCARB Certificate when they do not have a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The proposed alternative would have required licensees to have five years of post-licensure practice and twice the IDP requirements for work experience for architects with a pre-professional architectural degree, and five times the IDP requirements for those with anything less than a pre-professional architectural degree.

“The split in our membership shows the proposal needs more work,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong in the press release. “Our board will apply feedback from the membership toward a remodeled alternative and come back next year with a proposal that will try to capture the blend of rigor, inclusion, and ease of use that is acceptable to a majority of our members.”

For more news on NCARB’s Annual Meeting, check out the proposal on developing a path to licensure for professionals who have qualified experience from more than five years ago and the highlights from the annual NCARB by the Numbers report.

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