The Road to Architectural Licensing

By Piotr Bronkowski

So what does the road to licensing look like? It is a journey; one that takes a lot of patience, perseverance, and persistence.  Prior to being able to start taking any tests to become a licensed architect, one must first go through schooling.  In my case, it was five years of undergrad education before I was able to become eligible for testing.  Those five grueling years consisted of long nights (sometimes all nighters), tired days (sometimes falling asleep in class), missing out on events to work on designs and drawings, lots of autocad, 3ds design, wood shop, etc. 

At the end of my five years, I finished with a Professional Bachelors of Architecture, a triumph in itself.  What awaited after completion of school? A job/career or internship to achieve the required hours to satisfy the licensing board requirements. The path I chose was to work on fulfilling my board requirements, a sum of approximately three years of logging hours (and that was only one side of the requirement).  The other requirements were to take seven tests in separate subjects, testing a persons ability to protect the “health, safety, and welfare” of the public. I set off on my long and interesting journey of studying:  12+ months of very intense studying for all seven tests followed by the agony of waiting for test results. 

After 12 months of studying and three years of logging hours what does one really get with a license aside the ability to stamp drawings?  An intense feeling of personal and professional accomplishment. The ability to legally call yourself an Architect. The joy of finishing another aspect of your life and career that will advance you intellectually. Pride. The ability to stick it to all the people that doubted you. 

So does becoming licensed mean an end to learning and studying? Most certainly not.  In my opinion, being an architect is an everlasting journey of studying, learning, questioning, and objecting.  Being licensed does not mean one knows everything there is to be a good Architect. For me, it means that I will continue to learn, study, and grow as an architect, to soak in all the information I can as the industry makes advancements in new products, materials, codes, safety standards, and our ever changing environment.

Taking the long painstaking journey to becoming a licensed architect is an amazing accomplishment, one that I advise all professionals to strive for.