So you want to become an architect? The typical journey involves obtaining a degree from an accredited college, completing a multi-year internship, and passing a multi-part exam. However, this may not be the path all future architects take. New York State allows for some variation for example, Daniel Fay alternated between working as an architect and attending college. He started at Onondaga Community College (OCC), then worked at TKF for several years, went to NYIT to complete his under-graduate degree, worked for another year or so at various firms throughout Central New York while simultaneously taking his exam. It was only after all of this that he obtained a Master’s Degree. This circuitous path resulted in Dan receiving a license to practice in the State of New York, but the learning process did not end there!
Continuing Education is a requirement that all architects must complete in order to maintain their license. As many of us know, technology and trends change quickly and this requirement helps ensure an architect is up to date with all the latest codes and more. This requires a minimum of 36 hours of a variety of education experiences during each architect's 3 year license period. These experiences can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including: online study courses, in-person attendance at a professional seminar, or even teaching a class at a local college.
If you are looking to satisfy these requirements quickly online study is a great way to go. These programs involve watching a PowerPoint, and then taking a short quiz, after which you receive your credits. The attraction of this type of study is the wide variety of topics you have to choose from, as well as the flexibility of being able to schedule the course when most convenient for your schedule. The added benefit of being able to study remotely was revealed during the pandemic, when online education became so common in our society. The State of New York acknowledged the usefulness of remote learning and temporarily changed the requirements such that we could get all our required continuing education online without having to put our health at risk.
If studying online isn’t your thing, you can also receive your Continuing Education credits by attending in-person seminars. Brian and Dan recently attended a seminar focused on issues related to roofing which included a variety of fascinating updates on newer technology, particularly for single-ply roofing applications. The ability to network with the presenters and the other participants resulted in a very productive, enlightening and enjoyable experience. Being able to interact with others made this session fly by.
As mentioned above, there are alternative means to help you receive your Continuing Education credits. Employees at our office who taught classes at the former Cazenovia College were able to use the teaching experience as part of their Continuing Education. Even trips to factories, or “Mill Tours”, if they are sanctioned by NYSED, can be counted. Dan has been fortunate to travel to Atlanta for a carpet mill tour, and Wisconsin for a window factory tour. These opportunities are great because they give an architect more real-world experience.
All of these various methods make complying with the Continuing Education requirement relatively easy. However, the primary purpose is to ensure that as architects we keep current on developments, and continue to hone our professional skills. By the very nature of our profession, it is vital for us to keep looking forward. The concept of “Life-Long-Learning” is a very real, and significant part of who we are, and how we are able to assist our clients. The fact that it is also interesting, and fun is a much appreciated bonus.