Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure: IPAL
The College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University was accepted in 2016 to participate in the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) initiative. This initiative provides selected students with the opportunity to complete the requirements for licensure while earning their degree. Organized by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the initiative encourages selected accredited programs to incorporate professional experience and examination into their curricula. Each accredited program that is accepted as part of IPAL adapts the IPAL concept to coordinate with the specifics of the college's curriculum. To learn more about NCARB and IPAL visit ncarb.org/IPAL or contact the CoAD iPAL Coordinator Eric Ward at email@example.com.
LTU iPAL Program Outline
The LTU IPAL Program is organized around continuous integration of internship employment and registration examinations with professional education. It is open to qualifying undergraduate and graduate students, and takes a slightly different form in each case. For undergraduate students, beginning in the summer after their third-year courses, and ongoing throughout completion of the 6+ year Master of Architecture program, employment is structured as full-time during summers, and part-time during Fall and Spring semesters to allow sufficient time for coursework. The LTU CoAD curriculum is organized to allow productive fulfillment of AXP experience requirements following the third-year courses, with subsequent coursework arranged to allow the taking of ARE examinations beginning in the spring of the fifth year. For graduate students, who frequently arrive with some amount of AXP experience or ARE examinations already completed, the IPAL Program often integrates well with their specific situation, including non-local students who are working in other states (subject to each state’s individual licensure-process requirements).
For both undergraduate and graduate students alike, two criteria are primary for IPAL Program acceptance and continuance: Students have the responsibility first to proactively secure employment with a firm that qualifies under “Experience Setting A: Practice of Architecture”. Subsequently, students have the responsibility to make continuous progress toward fulfilling their AXP and ARE requirements prior to graduation.
"Through IPAL putting me in touch with different firms, I was able to obtain an internship that turned into a career. I was also able to take the ARE exams early, which will allow me to become one of the youngest licensed architects in the state."
LTU M. Arch 2020
IPAL Partner Firms
Support of the IPAL Program by LTU Administration
"In many ways, our M.Arch curriculum perfectly supports the goals and intent of NCARB's Accelerated Path Program. Our program is extremely practice-oriented, in keeping with the University's long-standing motto, "Theory and Practice," which dates from 1932.
Many of our students already hold architectural employment while pursuing their professional degree, thus there is very little change required to fully meet the requirements of the NCARB's program. The College of Architecture and Design has developed one of the most notable Online Master of Architecture programs in the nation. This will allow our students to engage our Accelerated Path to Licensure Program virtually anywhere in the world where internet service is present.
Lawrence Technological University prides itself on the delivery of innovative educational models. This program not only fits us well, but it will allow us to work with the NCARB to redefine the transition from architectural education to architectural practice and licensure in the 21st Century."
Provost (excerpt from Letter of Support to NCARB)
Licensure and NCARB
The LTU IPAL Program admits all students - undergraduate and graduate - who meet the Program’s requirements for demonstrated academic performance, ongoing AXP-supportive employment, and sufficient self-management to complete all of the Program’s goals.
LTU IPAL students will be continuously employed during their time in the Program, as required to complete the 3,740 hours mandated by the NCARB AXP Guidelines. Employment will typically be 40 hours/week min. during the summer, and 20 hours/week max. during the Fall and Spring semesters. Employment arrangements can be handled in several ways, and will be determined between firms and students, consistent with IPAL guidelines. LTU IPAL students must commit to balancing sustained academic performance with providing ongoing AXP-level work to their employers, and preparing for and taking the ARE exams. Both AXP and ARE requirements must be completed prior to graduation. The firms employing IPAL students in turn commit to providing the needed range of AXP-level work for their IPAL student employees, and provide various levels of support for students preparing for and taking the ARE exams.
Requirements for Application
Basic Educational Requirements to be met or exceeded:
- Junior Year status* (60 credit hours minimum)
- Grade point average: 3.0 minimum (cumulative)
- Courses taken or currently enrolled: Construction Systems 1 and Integrated Design 3 for undergraduate students; A portfolio demonstrating equivalent skill-levels for graduate students (if needed)
All Educational Information (through this semester) must be verifiable by the LTU Registrar.
*Note that Senior Year students may apply, however priority is given to Junior Year students.
Application Materials to Submit
Application Materials required for submission are:
- An IPAL Application Form (completed and signed)
- A Letter of Confirmation from the student’s employer
- ALetter of Intent from the student
- A Résumé
After reviewing the Application and the Application Instructions:
- Make PDFs of all your materials, and combine the PDFs into one PDF for all items (If you are submitting a portfolio to demonstrate equivalent previous coursework, this must be a separate PDF.)
- Name the PDF: “Last name_First name_IPAL Application (or Portfolio)_Date”
- Completed Application Materials can be submitted at any time
- Review of Application: Approximately two weeks from submission date
- Acceptance Status (if appropriate) will be confirmed via email
- Accepted students must immediately do the following, per NCARB requirements: Confirm enrollment in IPAL with NCARB, by setting up the following (if not already done by the student): First establish an NCARB account, then establish an NCARB Record. An NCARB Record allows the student to track progress in the AXP and to be eligible to take the ARE.
- Once an account and Record are in place, IPAL students then need to grant the LTU IPAL Coordinator access to experience and exam progress, to track these against the AXP and ARE goals of the IPAL Program.
Disclaimers & Authorizations
As stated on the Application form, the Applicant understands and agrees:
- That the IPAL Program has no connection with the curriculum; that participation in the Program has no credit hours associated with it; that participation in the Program does not guarantee admission to the CoAD Graduate degree program, or guarantee continuing association with CoAD/LTU should other events intervene.
- That submission of an Application does not guarantee selection for the IPAL Program; that selection does not guarantee continuance in the Program, which is contingent on continuous progress being made in accordance with the student’s Letter of Intent.
- That all information submitted for the IPAL Program must be in conformance with the LTU Academic Honor Code.
- That participation in the IPAL Program does not guarantee completion of all of the components of the Program, or completion of these by graduation; or achievement of actual licensure.
- That upon graduation, students immediately cease to be part of the IPAL Program (per NCARB requirements), and must establish a separate licensure-path arrangement with a specific jurisdiction of their choice.
- That the ability to take the ARE exams under the IPAL Program (vs. under a specific jurisdiction) ceases at graduation or at any point that a student leaves the Program prior to graduation.
The Application Form must be completely filled-out, and signed and dated.
The Educational Information must be complete and verifiable by the LTU Registrar.
For International Students: Additional information required below will be submitted separately from the Application Form and other Application Materials.
Letter of Support from Employer
The Letter of Support must include the following:
- Confirmation from the student’s employer that the organization meets the criteria of NCARB’s “Experience Setting A” (per NCARB’s AXP Guidelines, most recent edition).
- Acknowledgement and support from the employer regarding the student’s intention to join the IPAL Program. The employer must be in agreement with the LTU IPAL Program parameters, as follows:
- For undergraduate students: i) Typically 20 hours per week employment during the Fall and Spring semesters, and 40 hours per week employment during the summer. ii) Exposure of the student to the full spectrum of AXP-eligible work-tasks, such that the student could complete their AXP requirements within 4300 work hours (roughly three and two-thirds years, at the above rate.)
- For graduate students: i) Employment-hours sufficient to help the student complete their AXP requirements prior to their intended graduation date. ii) Exposure of the student to the AXP-eligible work-tasks that the student still needs to complete, such that the student could complete their AXP requirements prior to their intended graduation date
Letter of Intent from Student
The Letter of Intent must include the following, for both undergraduate and graduate students:
- An outline of how the student plans to manage their education, work, and testing efforts in order to complete all aspects of the Program by their intended graduation date; specifically:
- A projection of the student’s target graduation date, and of the number of semesters remaining at CoAD prior to the target graduation date. (For undergraduate students, the LTU IPAL schedule assumes eleven semesters (Summer, Fall, Spring) over three and two-thirds years, beginning the summer after the Junior year.)
- A listing of AXP hours already completed (if any), in each of the six AXP categories.
- A listing of approximate dates for taking the six ARE exams. (The LTU IPAL schedule assumes one exam will be taken in each of the final six semesters, beginning in the Spring semester of the first graduate year.)
Include a current résumé, showing the student’s present (IPAL) employer, date of employment start, and duties/tasks performed for the employer.
Comply with all requirements of the Portfolio Guidelines for Application to the iPAL Program. Website portfolios are not permitted.
Provide three References, with contact information for each (including an email contact). References should not include parents or guardians, and at least one Reference must be other than an LTU faculty member.
Additional Information for International Students
Please provide initial documentation from the LTU Office of International Programs on your ability to work under the CPT / OPT Programs.
Office of Career Services (OCS):
This link states the following information:
“Resume assistance is offered during individual appointments in the Office of Career Services, walk-in Friday first-come first-served resume critiques from 10am-11:30am, and during various workshops scheduled throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. For upcoming workshops and events check bulletin boards and the Handshake newsfeed page for locations and times.”
“The Office of Career Services offers a variety of services to assist in career exploration and success. Some of our tangible and non-tangible services consist of job search assistance, resume and cover letter critiques, Thank you letter composition, interview guidance, career and professional development and more.”
Career Development Resources
“A number of professional organizations, regulatory bodies, and nonprofit corporations are involved in supplementing the education of architects, providing career resources, and ensuring the health and standing of the profession. The links below can provide access to priceless information at any step of your professional journey.”
Education and Career Development
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB):
A consortium of registration boards from all 50 states, NCARB regulates both the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) and the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Available resources include: Destination Architect - Your Guide to Becoming an Architect, the ARE 5.0 Handbook, and the Architectural Experience Program Guidelines (https://www.ncarb.org/data-resources).
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA):
Since 1912, the ACSA has been an organization leading the dialogue around architectural education, providing guidance for academic programs, and fostering the dissemination of faculty research and best teaching practices. Through its StudyArchitecture.com portal, the ACSA engages with prospective students to introduce the path into the profession (https://studyarchitecture.com/).
Arch Careers Guide (ACG):
Founded by Lee W. Waldrep PhD, ACG is a one-stop repository of architectural career resources, including introduction to traditional and alternative career paths, guidance in selecting architectural degree programs, and a blog covering a number of topics pertinent to the needs of current (and potential) architecture students.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA):
The largest architectural professional organization, the AIA connects practitioners throughout the country, while advocating for both the practice of architecture and the built environment. Through its Center for Emerging Professionals (CEP), the AIA provides resources and networking for the next generation of leaders in the field.
The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA):
Founded in the 1970s, NOMA seeks to elevate the voices of a diverse group of practitioners and students through its core principles: Educate, Elevate, and Empower. NOMA provides fellowships, professional development programs, and awards for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in design.
The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS):
The AIAS is a student-led, independent organization which offer a nation-wide network of emerging architects. The AIAS offer a number of resources for its member chapters, advocates for architectural students, and has produced significant studies such as Studio Culture: Stories and Interpretations (https://www.aias.org/resource/).
AIAS uses the Facebook link to post when any workshop events such as portfolio workshops will occur. Because they are not planned too far ahead of time one would need to be on the lookout. At times there are also flyers around the studios. There is also a calendar hung on the first level of the architecture building, near the stairs adjacent to the old architecture building where AIAS events are posted.