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Membership FAQ

AIA National requires that all registered architect members obtain 18 learning unit hours each year to fulfill membership requirements. What happens if I don't get all 18?

All active registered architect AIA members must successfully complete 18 learning unit (LU) hours each year, with at least 8 of the 18 LU hours relating to health, safety, and/or welfare (HSW). Of the 8 HSW, at least 4 credits must be in sustainable design (SD) topics.

A member who fails to meet the annual requirement will be given a nine month grace period. Any credit earned in the following year will apply toward the deficit. During the grace period, members are able to report retroactively any activities that were completed in the previous year.

A member who exceeds the annual requirement may carry up to 18 LU hours (including eight hours of HSW/four of SD) over to the next year. Carryover credit can be used for one year only; it is not cumulative. Only the number of credits needed to fulfill the annual requirement for the following year may be carried over. Extra credit may not be carried past the one-year limit.

Need to find courses to earn credits now? Check out www.aia.org for a listing of available courses.

Where can I find information about this year's Architectural Excellence Awards submission information?

You should soon be receiving a Call for Entries postcard in the mail. As you will see from the postcard, we have altered our format from binders to an electronic submission of information for the awards.

For more information about award types, award categories, submission requirements and past winners, visit www.aiapa.org.

Why is it important to give to the PA Architects PAC this year?

Each calendar year, the Pennsylvania Architects PAC seeks support from AIA Pennsylvania members. Legislation and regulations can help or hurt the profession of architecture and your bottom line. The Pennsylvania Architects PAC allows us to build networks and relationships with policymakers by making campaign contributions to legislators and candidates who have taken, or are likely to take, positions that are compatible with the profession's interest. The Pennsylvania Architects PAC is an invaluable political tool that allows us a greater opportunity to receive a fair hearing on issues and have a seat at the table when decisions are made.

Like a mutual fund, a PAC pools money so that everyone can be part of the process, and the dollar amount for each individual to be involved is minimal. A check from a PAC carries a clear message on behalf of a large number of people, in our case the entire architectural profession in Pennsylvania.

This is an important election year, with the entire House and half of the Senate up for election. It is also a time when we are working to prevent: the expansion of the sales tax to professional services, to protect the Uniform Construction Code, and protect your license and the architects seal.

What is the MDPP? How does it work?

The MDPP is the Member Dues Payment Plan that was started by AIA National in 2009 and carried over to 2010 to help members with payment of their dues. The plan breaks your dues down into monthly installments that are debited from your credit card. Enrollment for the payment plan began in January and will end in April. Final payments on the MDPP will be in June. The sooner you sign up for the program, the more monthly installment they will be able to break your total dues into.

All active 2009 members including renewing Architect, Associate and International Associate who receive a 2010 dues renewal invoice are eligible if they meet the requirements for a waiver or deferral of Institute dues under Section 3.03 of National's Rules of the Board. New and reinstated members are not eligible to participate in the 2010 MDPP.

For more information about the MDPP, or to enroll now, go to www.aia.org/renew. The last day to enroll in the payment plan is April 30th.

What is Emeritus Membership? How can I qualify for it?

Emeritus membership is open to AIA Architect or Associate members whose membership has been in good standing for a minimum of 15 consectuive years and is one of the following:

  • 70 years of age and retired from the profession of architecture; or
  • incapacitated and unable to work in the profession.

When a member upgrades their membership to Emeritus, they are no longer required to fulfill the AIA/CES requirements to retain membership. Also, there are no yearly dues, just subscriber fees if you wish to receive AIA publications.

Have you gotten all of your required credits for this year?

Your AIA membership requires that you earn 18 credits each year. Eight of those credits need to be HSW (Health, Safety & Welfare). Four of those HSW credits need to be SD (Sustainable Design). If you are still in need of credits for 2009 visit the AIA National website for a listing of all courses: http://www.aia.org/education/findcourses/index.htm.

When will I receive my membership renewal invoice?

Membership renewal invoices are on their way to you now. Invoices are being sent out by AIA National electronically and also via regular mail. These should be arriving in your inbox and mailbox shortly. Remember, the 2010 Member Dues Payment Plan (MDPP) is available again this year. More information about the payment plan will arrive with your invoice.

Who do I contact about changes to my AIA personal or firm contact information?

You can report changes to your contact information to Alyssa Wright, Member Relations Specialist at AIA Pennsylvania. She will update the information in the AIA National database. This database supplies all chapters within the state of Pennsylvania with their member information.

What does the Pennsylvania Architects PAC do? Where do my contributions to the PA PAC go?

The Pennsylvania Architects Political Action Committee (PA PAC) is the single most important tool to augment an effective advocacy strategy in state government. The PA PAC allows us to voluntarily band together to express support for legislators and candidates who have taken or likely will take positions that are compatible with the profession's interests. The PA PAC's purpose is to collect and distribute campaign contributions. Unlike personal or individual contributions, a check from the PA PAC carries a clear message on behalf of the entire architectural profession in Pennsylvania.

The PA PAC allows architects to combine financial resources and express the collective interests of the profession in ways that are impossible with individual contributions. The PA PAC allows AIA PA to gain access to key legislators who may come from districts that do not have many architect constituents. Public policy is a competitive process. If architects want to have a strong voice in government, they have to participate in all aspects of the system.

Contributions to the PA PAC are managed by the PA PAC Management Committee with support from the AIA Pennsylvania staff. The Committee meets periodically to determine which candidates for state office should receive campaign contributions. It is important to remember that the PA PAC contributions are made to build relationships, they are not attempts to buy votes. There can be no quid quo pro between a contribution and a specific vote. Contributions are made to:

  • Support well-qualified candidates who hold friendly positions
  • Express appreciation to incumbents for supportive actions they have made in the past
  • Improve opportunities to be heard in the future

Each candidate is carefully reviewed. Contributions are made to Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and occasionally to other candidates for statewide office.

How can I find the latest news related to the State Architects Licensure Board?

The State Architect Licensure Board has its own website. Here is the link: http://www.dos.state.pa.us/bpoa/cwp/....

You can view the latest newsletters, verify the status of your license and obtain information on upcoming licensure board meetings. This is also the place to find the most up-to-date version of the Architects Law and Regulations. AIA PA also has a link to the board website on our site under the Government Affairs tab.

What is IDP?

The Intern Development Program is a structured internship process through which emerging professionals can direct their career path and gain the necessary experience to become proficient registered architects. By completing the required training units in each of the four training categories (Design & Construction Documents, Construction Contract Administration, Management & Related Activities) an intern will be exposed to a wide range of professional development and learning activities. The successful completion of the program allows an intern to become eligible to take the Architectural Registration Exam.

Where do I find information about the Intern Development Program?

Information on the Intern Development Program can be found at the NCARB website www.ncarb.org or the AIA website www.aia.org.

IDP Recognition

Architectural firms that do an excellent job at supporting their interns through the IDP process can be recognized through a program called the IDP Outstanding Firm Award. To be eligible for the award, firms must meet twelve essential criteria in the categories of Mentoring, Supervising, Training Opportunities, Commitment to IDP, and A.R.E. Support. Firms and interns can gain additional information about the award and its history and also learn about the best practices of previous recipients at the AIA website.

Where do I receive IDP updates?

Upon registering for IDP, all NCARB record holders are sent quarterly updates concerning the program via IDP e-News. Topics cover the latest issues effecting interns and the program, reports from NCARB's annual meeting, record processing information, and reports from the annual IDP Coordinator's Conference.

What is the latest news?

NCARB has updated IDP to include additional training settings thus allowing interns greater opportunity to complete the program. Also, reporting can be done via the new electronic-Experience Verification Reporting System (e-EVR) which helps to eliminate common mistakes made on the old paper submissions. In addition, the reporting is done in real-time which greatly increases the speed at which processing occurs and A.R.E. eligibility can begin.

The various member boards that comprise NCARB have passed a rule that requires interns to submit their training unit experience in reporting periods no longer than six months and within two months of completing a reporting period. Any training units that are not reported in that time period will not count towards fulfillment of IDP. In addition, Emerging Professionals that establish an NCARB council record after July 1st 2009 will be subject to the six month maximum reporting rule. After July 1st 2010, ALL interns will be required to comply with the six month maximum reporting rule. The new policy was created to help strengthen communication between interns and supervisors and provide the intern with greater feedback regarding their progress in the program. Increasing the frequency of reporting and facilitating additional interaction between the intern and supervisor will hopefully assist with completing IDP and also help to quickly identify training area deficiencies before they become a substantial problem.

Arthur Sheffield, Assoc. AIA
IDP State Coordinator
412-963-2800 x 269
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Melissa G. Bernstein, Assoc. AIA
State Associate Director
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I took a class that offered AIA credits but I don't see it, or my credits, listed on my transcript. Why aren't they there?

The University of Oklahoma works with AIA National to administer the registration and administration of CES programs. Any organization who is registered as an AIA CES provider, has two weeks from the date of the program to turn in the attendee information to the University of Oklahoma. Depending on the time of year, it may take a couple days to a couple weeks for the university to post these credits to your transcript. If credits haven't posted within one month of the course you took, you can contact the provider to inquire about the status.

Pennsylvania Architectural License Renewal - When is it due and how do I renew my license?

This is a timely question, as the biennial renewal cycle is this year, and renewal notices should be appearing in your mail box in about a month with official instructions for Firm and License renewal this cycle. Consider this a "heads up" to keep an eye on your incoming mail.

Licenses expire June 30th of every odd-numbered year. Therefore, both Architecture Firm and Architect renewal applications are due no later than June 30, 2011. The State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs typically mails renewal notices 2 to 3 months prior to the license expiration date. Notices are mailed to the most recent address the licensee has reported to the board. Remember, it is your responsibility to renew your license. If for some reason you do not receive the renewal notice, you are still responsible. Failure to renew your licenses can result in a permanent disciplinary action appearing on your record, so please do not fail to renew.

You can conveniently renew your license and firm registration online with a credit card by visiting the Department of State’s secure website at https://www.mylicense.state.pa.us. You are encouraged to submit your renewal for your individual Architect License and Firm Registration at least 30 days prior to the expiration date to ensure it is renewed on time.

The website for the State Architects Licensure Board is www.dos.state.pa.us/arch. You can check on the current status of your license and read the most up-to-date versions of the State Architects Licensure Law and accompanying regulations.

What is AIA PA doing to help architects during this economic downturn?

The majority of issues that are on AIA PA's legislative agenda have an impact on your business bottom-line. These include advocating:

  • For financial incentives for new construction and renovation of buildings including green buildings and historic preservation
  • For the protection of the profession by working with the State Architects Licensure Board to modernize the Architects Law and regulations to reflect contemporary architectural practice
  • For fee negotiation with the State Department of General Services for publicly funded projects
  • For choice in project delivery methods for public projects
  • For protection of the Uniform Construction Code, and improvements in enforcement of that code
  • Against mandatory prototypical school programs
  • Against the imposition of a professional services tax

We are also actively filing complaints for unlicensed practice of architecture. Please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you would like to talk to us about how to have a complaint filed if you are aware of someone untrained and unlicensed practicing architecture.