Intern Development Program

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The Intern Development Program (IDP) is a comprehensive training program created to ensure that interns in the architecture profession gain the knowledge and skills required for the independent practice of architecture. The program is developed, maintained, and administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and is required by most U.S. architectural registration boards to satisfy experience requirements for licensure.


In 1976, NCARB introduced the Intern Development Program (IDP) after working with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) throughout the 1970s to develop a more structured program for interns to ensure they were gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to practice independently. Administered by NCARB, jurisdictions gradually began adopting the program to satisfy their experience requirement.

Mississippi became the first state to require the IDP in 1978, and Arizona became the most recent in 2009. All 54 U.S. jurisdictions accept the IDP to satisfy their experience requirement.

Since 1976, the only significant change to the program came in 1996 when interns were required to record actual training units earned rather than the percent of time spent in each training area. The program has been monitored annually by NCARB’s Committee on the IDP, which has recommended other minor changes over the years based on interpretations of the current practice of architecture.[1]

In May 2009, NCARB announced the rollout of IDP 2.0, the most significant update to the program since its inception in the 1970s. IDP 2.0 more closely aligns the programs’ requirements with the current practice of architecture and ensures that interns acquire the comprehensive training that is essential for competent practice.[2]

IDP 2.0 was developed in response to the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture. In this study, almost 10,000 practicing architects completed an extensive electronic survey to identify the tasks, knowledge, and skills that recently licensed architects, practicing independently, need in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

The updates have been rolled out in phases with first phase occurring in July 2009 and the final scheduled for April 2012.[3]


An individual seeking architectural licensure is referred to as an “intern.” All U.S. states and Canadian provinces prohibit the use of the word “architect” from any person not already licensed to practice architecture. Most states and provinces also prohibit any derivation of the word architect as well.

A supervisor is someone who reviews and directs the work of others and ensures that work is done within acceptable levels of quality. An IDP supervisor is the individual who supervises an intern on a daily basis. The IDP supervisor is required to certify that the information submitted on an experience report is true and correct.[4]

A mentor is a loyal adviser, teacher, or coach. An IDP mentor must be a registered architect who makes a long-term commitment to an intern’s professional growth. If possible, the mentor should not work in the same office as the intern, so that the intern can gain useful insight into the daily work experience.[5]


The first step to beginning the IDP is to establish an NCARB Record and IDP eligibility date. Interns are eligible to start earning credit for the IDP once they have graduated from NAAB/CACB-accredited degree program or have satisfied one of the following IDP eligibility dates:

1. Enrollment in a NAAB/CACB-accredited degree program
2. Enrollment in a pre-professional architecture degree program at a school that offers a NAAB-CACB-accredited degree program
3. Employment in work setting after obtaining a U.S. high school diploma, General Education Degree (GED) equivalent, or comparable foreign degree.[6]

In order to gain experience, interns must work under the direct supervision of an IDP supervisor in one of the NCARB approved work settings.[7]

All experience must be reported electronically to NCARB at least every six months through their electronic Experience Verification Reporting (e-EVR) system. Experience may be submitted more often, but NCARB will not accept experience older than eight months (six-months, plus a two-month reporting grace period).[8]

Experience Requirement[edit]

Interns must acquire 3,400 experience hours in specific experience areas and categories to complete the IDP. The experience requirement is:[9]

IDP 2.0 Experience Categories and Areas (Effective 3 April 2012)[edit]

These categories and areas are effective April 2012.[10] Interns must be employed in one of three experience settings to earn credit [11]

Category 1: Pre-Design[edit]

Experience Area Minimum Hours Required
Programming 80
Site and Building Analysis 80
Project Cost Feasibility 40
Planning and Zoning Regulations 60
Total Category Hours 260

Category 2: Design[edit]

Experience Area Minimum Hours Required
Schematic Design 320
Engineering Systems 360
Construction Cost 120
Codes and Regulations 120
Design Development 320
Construction Documents 1,200
Material Selection and Specification 160
Total Category Hours 2,600

Category 3: Project Management[edit]

Experience Area Minimum Hours Required
Bidding and Contract Negotiation 120
Construction Administration 240
Construction Phase: Observation 120
General Project Management 240
Total Category Hours 720

Category 4: Practice Management[edit]

Experience Area Minimum Hours Required
Business Operations 80
Leadership and Service 80
Total Category Hours 160


Categories Minimum Hours Required
1: Pre-Design 260
2: Design 2,600
3: Project Management 720
4: Practice Management 160
Elective Hours 1,860
Total Hours 5,600


IDP Guidelines: Produced by NCARB, the document is essential reading for interns, supervisors, and mentors participating in the IDP. It includes steps to completing the program, reporting procedures, training requirements, and core competencies interns should understand before becoming licensed. The document is updated about twice a year. IDP Guidelines

IDP Supervisor Guidelines: Guide is a reference designed to assist supervisors with their crucial role in their intern’s career. IDP Supervisor Guidelines

The Interns’ IDP 2.0 Rollover Guide: The rollover guide includes the rules on how experience will move from the current IDP to IDP 2.0. It also includes definitions, explanations of the experience areas that are combined or split, training hour rollover examples, and frequently asked questions. Interns’ IDP 2.0 Rollover Guide

IDP Coordinator Program: Provides information and guidance for completing the program to interns and students. There are three types of coordinators:

  • IDP State Coordinators are appointed by each state AIA chapter. They are volunteers that stay up-to-date on the latest information on the IDP and act as resources for interns in their state. They often give presentations and participate on AIA and NCARB committees related to the IDP.
  • IDP Educator Coordinators are appointed by the dean of each architecture school with National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)-accredited legree program. They are responsible for distributing information and providing guidance to students at their school on the IDP and the path to licensure.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of the IDP
  2. ^ IDP 2.0 Timeline
  3. ^ Final Phase of IDP 2.0 to be Implemented April 2012
  4. ^ Working With a Supervisor
  5. ^ Working With a Mentor
  6. ^ Getting Started With the IDP
  7. ^ IDP Work Settings
  8. ^ Maintaining Participation
  9. ^ IDP 1.0 Experience Requirement
  10. ^ IDP 2.0 Experience Areas and Categories
  11. ^ IDP 2.0 Experience Settings
  12. ^ IDP Coordinators

External links[edit]