If not an intern…what? 

It feels like recently NCARB is changing everything from IDP to AREs and even the name of our licensing advisors or more historically known as IDP coordinators.  At the 2015 convention in Atlanta NCARB made an even bigger announcement. They have eliminated the term “intern” from their vocabulary. 

What does this mean? NCARB states that “The new term? There isn’t one. Just don’t use ‘intern.'”

“Architects are those who have met all the requirements to become licensed in states and jurisdictions throughout the United States,” said NCARB President Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB. “Everyone else is not an architect. But their status also doesn’t need a regulatory title such as ‘intern’ or any similar reference. This has become a term that has been perceived as negative by many in the architecture community and a term that really does not fully value the work that aspiring architects bring to the profession.”

So now that we can’t be called architects or interns, what are we? 

We are…designers, leaders, activists, coordinators, project managers, and so much more. I believe this change is positive.  The confusion I have faced when telling someone outside the profession that I am an intern is disconcerting. We have worked hard to be where we are. For some of us, we have a long way to go. For others, they have been in the profession for years. They are running firms, owning firms, designing major projects.  Some even reside outside of the traditional realm of architecture. All of the above are invaluable people to help better the built environment. Let’s stop watering down their work and the value they bring to the profession by calling them “interns”. 

I am well aware this topic has been debated excessively in the past few years. But the day we stop debating these changes and furthering the profession in our constantly changing world is the day we become irrelevant as s profession.  The world is a constantly changing place. I heard on the radio today there are now more millennials than baby boomers. We will discuss the millennials in a future blog post, but it’s a telling sign that the profession and the changes NCARB keeps making are thoughtful and relevant to the world we now live and work in. 

If you feel lost without a title, take this opportunity to talk with your firm leaders and your local AIA office on what is appropriate. Personally, I am a Project Coordinator and using this term is so much more rewarding. I hope to call myself an architect one day. But for now, I am celebrating I don’t have to be classified as an “intern”. 

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