ARE Live: How Should Firms Handle Licensure?

Marc Teer

August 09, 2016

ARE Live: How Should Firms Handle Licensure?

Encourage. Motivate. Incentivize. 

In this episode of the ARE Live, Black Spectacles founder Marc Teer and AIA ARE Prep instructor, Mike Newman, were joined by newly licensed architects: Allison Conley from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Amanda Snelson from ZGF Architects, Kyle Richardson from Folonis Architects, and Ben Edwards from FFKR Architects.

They each discussed how they passed the ARE and ultimately got licensed. Learn about their study strategies, what order they took the exams, what resources they used, and their personal advice for anybody looking to take the exam.

Watch the entire episode here:
Yoga, Cocktails, and Popsicles: How they Passed the ARE

Mike: Based on your experience, how would you recommend that firms handle licensure?

Allison: I think in my experience, it's important for young people to hear that you shouldn't put the ARE off. I think there's a generation ahead of mine in the office who had put it off, and they may only be a few years more experienced, but they didn't make it a priority early in their career, and now they have more things in life to juggle.

I definitely think firms should provide as many resources as they're able. - Allison Conley, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

We had a lot of resources here in the office. Smith + Gill has been great about providing resources and making sure we have everything we need. I think it was a few young people and myself who really decided to be proactive about it ourselves and just decide we'd start. So that was, I think, what was the most important for us.

Mike: I think one of the things you'll find is if you start talking to the people who are running the firms, they're super excited by having you get licensed. There's no advantage to them to not have you get licensed. They just have other things on their mind, and so if you say to them, "Hey, we don't have any resources here. You really got to get some resources for us so that we can make this happen." Their response will probably be, "Oh, yeah, hey, that's a good idea," because who thinks of it? If you're 15, 20 years past that, this doesn't come to mind. So that's part of what we mentioned before. You've got to ask for it. You've got to make it happen.

Kyle: I was just simply thinking that a good motivation would be if firms reimbursed for a test when they're passed. I mean it is a small measure of support, and then if the firm is invested in education or further development of its employees, I'd like to think that it runs both ways. When you do get this research done, you're better for it. So it's a win-win.

Mike: There's absolutely no question that. One of the things people who are in the process or passed, always says is, "This is a crazy exam. It really made me frustrated. I was really annoyed. But I'm a better architect now that I've studied for this." And I think what you're saying, Kyle, is that there's a moment there for the firms to realize that the fact that our folks are doing this is actually making them better for us as a firm, and so finding ways to help that in the process, either by paying for or reimbursing for passing, or finding good resources, or setting up lunch and learns with the experienced contractors and lawyers and people who they work with or something. There's a lot of ways that the firms could be helping out, and I think if you ask for it, you can make it happen.

Amanda: I would just say that the firm leaders should be encouraging and speak out to all employees, especially, I would say, if you're a new hire, like out of school or a few years out, to say, "Hey, we encourage you to get licensed. Here's all the resources for studying to pass the exams. Here are the benefits for once you do become licensed. Here's the door that open once you're licensed."

Firms need to encourage, motivate, and incentivize the intern architects out there. - Amanda Snelson, ZGF Architects

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. That's really great. So all right, you all heard that. You are going to be the leaders of the architectural world in the coming years, so make it happen, but also make it happen for yourself right now.

Watch the video here:

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