NCARB Experience Requirements

Interns must acquire 5,600 hours to satisfy the IDP experience requirement. One hour equals one hour of acceptable experience in an IDP experience setting.

It is an intern’s responsibility to understand the requirements of any jurisdiction where they may seek either initial or reciprocal registration. More information on jurisdictional requirements can be found here: Registration Boards Requirements.

All participants in the IDP must adhere to the rules and regulations defined in the IDP Guidelines.

Categories and Areas

IDP 2.0 includes four catego­ries in which interns must earn experience: Pre-Design, Design, Project Manage­ment, and Practice Management. Within each category there are experience areas. There are minimum experience hours that must be earned in each experience category and area. There are two types of hours:

Core Hours
Experience earned in IDP experience categories and areas. Core minimum hours are the minimum number of hours you must earn in a given category or area.

Elective Hours
Experience earned through core hours or supplemental experience to satisfy the requirement of 1,860 elective hours.

The IDP 2.0 experience categories and areas are:

Category 1: Pre-Design

Encompasses the initial stages of architectural services prior to the commencement of schematic design.

Minimum Pre-Design Experience:
260 Hours

Experience Areas: 
          1A. Programming (80 hours)
          1B. Site and Building Analysis (80 hours)
          1C. Project Cost and Feasibility (40 hours)
          1D. Planning and Zoning Regulations (60 hours)

Category 2: Design

Encompasses architectural services commencing with the beginning of schematic design and ending with the completion of construction documents.

Minimum Design Experience:
2,600 Hours

Experience Areas: 
          2A. Schematic Design (320 hours)
          2B. Engineering Systems (360 hours)
          2C. Construction Cost (120 hours)
          2D. Codes and Regulations (120 hours)
          2E. Design Development (320 hours)
          2F. Construction Documents (1,200 hours)
          2G. Material Selection and Specification (160 hours)

Category 3: Project Management

Encompasses architectural services commencing with the release of construction documents and ending with the completion of construction. It also encompasses project management activities throughout the life of the project.

Minimum Project Management Experience: 720 Hours

Experience Areas: 
          3A. Bidding and Contract Negotiation (120 hours)
          3B. Construction Administration (240 hours)
          3C. Construction Phase: Observation (120 hours)
          3D. General Project Management (240 hours)

Category 4: Practice Management

Encompasses the management activities for the overall architectural firm practice. It also includes volunteer service activities for the improvement of quality of life in the community.

Minimum Practice Management Experience: 160 Hours

Experience Areas:
          4A. Business Operations (80 hours)
          4B. Leadership and Service (80 hours)

Note: The minimum experience hours in each category do not add up to 5,600. You must earn 1,860 elective experience hours to complete the IDP. 

Did you rollover to IDP 2.0? See how the categories and areas roll over with our 
[Interactive Chart].

Related Publications


IDP Guidelines
Updated July 2014! The IDP Guidelines is essential reading for interns, supervisors, and mentors participating in the IDP. The document includes steps to completing the program, reporting procedures, experience requirements, and tasks interns should understand before becoming licensed.

Download (PDF, 346K)


IDP 2.0: 5,600 Hours
IDP 2.0 includes four experience catego­ries and 17 experience areas. There are minimum experience hours in each experience category and area as well as elective hours that must be earned to fulfill the 5,600 hour requirement.

Download (PDF, 258K)

Related Content

Experience Settings
There are three experience settings: A (Practice of Architecture), O (Other Work Settings), and S (Supplemental Experience).

Getting Started
You can begin earning IDP credit while enrolled in architecture school or once you are working in an architecutre firm. Once you have established when you can start, you can follow five easy steps to participate.

Establish an NCARB Record
Learn how to establish an NCARB Record.