Monday, October 19, 2009

Are you a member?

Product reps and consultants regularly come into our office to do AIA accredited presentations. As they talk and we munch away on whatever lunch they've brought for the seminar, we pass around a clipboard for everyone to sign in and include their AIA member number. I've noticed that more often than not, our interns aren't members of AIA.

I have a strange affinity with AIA, mainly because I worked at the AIA offices near my hometown right after I graduated from college. I spent a lot of time accepting and faxing resumes and photocopying and stuffing envelopes with announcements for upcoming seminars and events. Now, I'm on the receiving end of those postcards and mailings (and emails). Some of the announcements make me roll my eyes, and some interest me. I've gotten some benefit out of some of the mailings and programs from AIA, but it's not like I go to every activity and seminar. Also to my benefit is that m office pays my AIA dues. Back when I wasn't licensed, my dues were around $150 a year, but they've shot up to nearly $700/year since I got that little card from the state of Colorado.

So how about you? Are you an AIA member? Why or why not? Feel free to respond in the comments or via email from the sidebar. I plan to find out more about what's the point of AIA and give you a good pros-and-cons discussion about it here in a later post.


  1. Firstly, I found this blog via twitter, and it is really great--thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. I am at the tail end of my internship, knocking off IDP w/ one more division of ARE to go. While it seems very useful now, I really could have used this blog three or four years ago!

    Now, pertaining to your post, I have not joined up with my local chapter, the BSA (Boston) though I probably should have. When I first graduated I used their website for its classifieds, resume hosting, news and networking opportunities, though surely this was in a limited capacity compared to full membership.

    Many of their events (many of them FREE) are in the city right at 6, and while I live near downtown Boston, I foolishly work outside the city, and never return in time. That is another major factor. If I were to attend these events, surely I would see a benefit to membership and fuller involvement with the AIA through the BSA.

    Initially though, it was mostly a cost issue: I couldn't justify the dough, even though they have a very reasonable graduated scale for recent grads. I believe BSA membership is free for the first year after graduation. It's yet another one of those career opportunities that I should have, but did not take advantage of.

    I think once I become registered with NCARB, I will join the AIA. One reason for this is that it seems one of the many public misconceptions about architects is that the "AIA" suffix is synonymous with "RA". In my infinite ignorance during college, I and my friends assumed this much was true.

    So that's my deal. Love this blog and I hope you keep it up. Thanks again!


  2. Not a member... been licensed since 2002. Nearest AIA is 45 minutes away.. for $700/ year- I don't think so...

  3. Mike: thanks for commenting and reading! I know that timing of events can be an issue. Sometimes events that sound really interesting take place during extended lunch hours, which can be hard for interns to zip out for. So much of an intern's work is based on being available RIGHT NOW to do a drawing or some research, so they have to be pretty timely about their lunch hours. I'm not sure if AIA Denver or AIA Colorado has a similar deal as AIA Boston--that's now on my list of things to check on.

    Grenier2: the cost, like for Mike above and for many interns and new architects, is a major reason that folks don't join. My firm pays the $700/year for me, but if I were flying solo, I'd be hard-pressed to cough up the dough.

  4. should join ... but haven't. Probably will when I'm licensed.

  5. Last year about half of my office (a grand total of 4 people) was looking into becoming LEED Certified and we approach the principals about the cost of the tests and perhaps having them help us out on the costs - maybe 25% of the test price - and they said that they don't pay for employees to test for LEED or the ARE or anything because it "benefits the employee more than the firm and it's a skill set employees take with them when they leave so it's 'wasted money'." What they also don't do is hold on to employees every well - very high turn over in this office. Wonder why? They group AIA membership in with their so called "employee extras" that they don't pay for. So with LEED certification, my AREs coming up and my scant salary, I can't afford AIA membership.