Yesterday at the AIA Convention 2015, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) president Dale McKinney, FAIA, announced plans to forego the use of “intern” when referring to a professional who is working to become an architect.
Last year, NCARB formed a Future Title Task Force to tackle the intern debate, an issue “fraught with controversy,” McKinney said at a press event. After several months of deliberation, the task force agreed that there should be no set terminology for professionals who are on the path to licensure, and that the title “architect” should only apply to a licensed individual. The NCARB board of directors unanimously accepted the task force's conclusions at its April meeting.
The task force, led by past NCARB president Blake Dunn, considered data on the duration spent in the internship, titles used by other regulated professions in the building industry, survey information about preferred titles, anecdotal material on connotations associated with the word intern, regulatory impacts of extending the architect title beyond licensed individuals, and distinctions between the role of the marketplace and membership organizations versus the legal role of licensing boards in protecting the public.
"The rationale behind these simple but far-reaching recommendations is based on the role of the licensing board community," McKinney said. "Their responsibility is to assure that the public is not misled by titles, and that a title assures the person is qualified to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare."
NCARB CEO Mike Armstrong outlined a sunset plan regarding the organization’s next steps and emphasized that future action is not completely within the scope NCARB's authority. Only individual licensing boards can make decisions pertaining to legal language; NCARB can advise those licensing boards through resolutions, model laws, and guidelines.
NCARB has begun using new language that avoids the term intern. For example, the organization's Internship + Education Directorate will be renamed the Experience + Education Department. NCARB will now focus on the challenge of renaming the Intern Development Program.
For more on the announcement, check out Armstrong’s conversation with ARCHITECT editor-in-chief Ned Cramer.