No IDP record? Submit NOW or LOSE!

Are you putting off applying for your architect license in Colorado? Well NOW is the time to apply!
Effective January 1, 2014, NCARB’s IDP will be required of all Colorado applicants for original licensure. This means that if you haven’t been using IDP to log your experience hours, but have completed the required amount of experience for DORA, you better submit soon so that you are approved to test before January 1st!  If you are not approved to test before that date, you’ll have to submit your experience through IDP.

This is going to be upsetting for folks who have NEVER logged in their hours in IDP because they will “lose” all their prior experience and have to start over logging their hours in IDP.

Now I realize that’s a LOT of acronyms in the statement above. So let me break it down further….

There are essentially 3 things you need to become a licensed architect.
ncarb1) Education
2) Experience
3) Examination
This issue focuses on Experience and Examination, and for more information about the whole process of becoming a licensed architect, click here.

Currently in the State of Colorado, if you’d like to apply to take your architectural registration exams (AREs), you need to prove your work experience or that you are on your way to getting the required amount of work experience.

  • One way to do that is through the National Council of Architectural Registration Board’s (NCARB’s) Intern Development Program (IDP).
  • The other is through submitting your experience directly to the State of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). This direct option WILL GO AWAY at the end of the year.

Now how does that relate to “losing” prior experience?
Say you have a M.Arch degree and have been recording your experience hours on paper (or in an excel spreadsheet) for the past 3 years. Okay, then say you wait to submit your experience for licensure until next year, 2014. As of January 1, DORA will not allow you to submit your experience via paper and pencil, only by IDP. So you start logging your hours into IDP, only to find out that IDP has a 6 month rule that only allows you to log in experience as far back as 6 months (actually 8 months, but that’s another blog post). Now you have just “lost” 2.5 years of experience! You will have to wait that amount of time in logging additional experience in IDP in order for you to prove you have the adequate amount of experience to apply for initial licensure in Colorado.

So if you’ve been thinking about getting licensed and applying with your experience directly to DORA (i.e. without IDP), NOW is the time to get the paperwork submitted! *I write this in bold and italics because come next year, I’d really, really, REALLY would like to avoid getting angry emails from applicants saying they were not told about this transition. In fact, the transition was approved in early 2011…2 years ago.


Below is a Frequently Asked Question from DORA’s website describing the process for this direct option.

Q: Do I have to go through NCARB and IDP to get my experience verified?

A: No, IDP is not required now. However, you must have an NCARB File Number in order to take the ARE. You may apply directly to the Colorado Board without going through the entire NCARB IDP process; however, all applicants are required to apply online at to set up a NCARB record and obtain a NCARB file number. In addition, you must meet the Colorado experience requirements pursuant to the NCARB IDP training requirements (refer to Board Rule 4.4.1). Be aware that many states require completion of IDP for licensure and may not award endorsement or reciprocity licensure without it. Information about IDP and states that require it is available from NCARB’s website. If you decide to apply directly to the Colorado Board, complete the Application for Original License by Examination.

Effective January 1, 2014, NCARB’s IDP will be required of all Colorado applicants for original licensure.

For more information on this, please contact me!
Meg Kullerd Hohnholt, AIA, NCARB
AIA Colorado State IDP Coordinator

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