A Friday Chat About Becoming a Licensed Architect

Photo credit: Jamie, CC BY 2.0.

NICOLE: Happy Friday!

LAURASMASH: Happy Friday! I’m so excited for the weekend because I don’t have to study this weekend!

NICOLE: That is exciting! Did you get it all done ahead of time, or…???

LAURASMASH: I took my exam on Monday and I passed! So I’m giving myself a break for a couple weeks before I start studying for the next one. This was number 4 out of 6 exams I need to take to become a licensed architect.

NICOLE: Congratulations!

LAURASMASH: Thank you!

NICOLE: So how do the exams work? Can you decide when you take them, like the GRE or the SAT?

LAURASMASH: Yes. I make an appointment at a testing center pretty much any time, which is nice because I can study at my own pace and work around busy times at my job.

NICOLE: Is there an advantage to getting them all done as soon as possible? Is there a promotion or new job you’ll be eligible for at the end?

LAURASMASH: Being licensed opens up a lot of opportunities and gets you a lot of respect both inside and outside the industry. For most people the whole process takes several years. In addition to the exams we have to get a certain number of hours of work experience in specific areas. So it’s very time consuming and can also get expensive.

NICOLE: I did realize after I asked that you’d probably been at this process for a long time, and doing your exams in 6 months vs. 3 months (or whatever) is kind of the least important part of the timeline? So… how long have you been working towards your licensing?

LAURASMASH: Oof, too long. I started logging my hours about 10 years ago, but I wasn’t always so good about submitting them on time so I didn’t get credit for everything. I started taking my exams about 2 years ago, and I hope to finish this year. I’ve heard of people taking all the exams in a week, or getting licensed within a year or two of graduating, but for a lot of people it takes longer. I may not be the best example for others to follow. 🙂

NICOLE: There is absolutely no reason to rush! As Mr. Rogers says (or sings): “I like to take my time and do it right.” Also are we going to get to see Tom Hanks sing in the biopic? Has he ever done a musical?

LAURASMASH: I don’t know! That would be a delight!

NICOLE: Last question then: you mentioned cost. Are you willing to share what all of this has cost you so far?

LAURASMASH: Sure! I haven’t tallied everything yet, but here are some numbers:

Each exam costs $210, but I think the price goes up later this year. My employer will reimburse me if I pass, which is extra motivation to study harder (I’ve budgeted to fail at least once, but I haven’t yet).

Last month I spent about $100 on books to study from. I’ve also been borrowing books from friends and coworkers. I spent $39 for online practice questions from a test prep company.

To maintain my record where my hours and test scores are saved it costs $80 per year.

NICOLE: Wow, you have to pay to maintain your record. Ugh.

LAURASMASH: It doesn’t feel so bad now that I’m older and making more money than when I first graduated, although maybe it should be motivation to finish this process faster!

NICOLE: Well, I hope you complete the process with as little stress and extra cost as possible! And enjoy your no-study weekend!

LAURASMASH: Thank you!

If you’d like to be part of a future Billfold Friday Chat, email nicole@thebillfold.com.


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