Monday, October 24, 2011

Taking the ARE early? Woohoo!

I received an email from Intern 101 reader Joe, who passed along info on taking the ARE early.  Indeed, some states allow you to take some or all portion of the ARE before you have completed the required work hours.  You can find a list of what each state/jurisdiction allows by clicking here.

 NCARB brought itself into alignment with this movement in 2011 and spoke at length about the changes at the 2011 National Convention in New Orleans in May.  To NCARB, all you need is three things: the accredited education, the time spent in an approved work environment, and to pass all seven sections of the test.  Who cares what order you do them in?  While my inner fuddy-duddy harrumphs at this, I overall think it's a good thing. I think of interns in my office who have been hamstrung by the crappy economy and haven't been able to finish their on-site CA credits.  With this rule in effect, they can start taking tests while waiting for a project to make it all the way to construction and finish their credits then.  I also think of interns who have been laid off and unable to find a new job.  With at least some of their credits in place, they can start testing while they have some time to study.

However, I would warn against anyone coming straight out of school and immediately starting into the tests.  Why?  Two reasons.  Number one: While you do need to study for the ARE regardless of how long it's been since you were in college, some of the stuff on the tests makes more sense when you've actually seen or done it on a job.  And number two: you may decide you don't want this.  Yes, that's a weird thought to have, but plenty of gung-ho students realize a couple of years into the profession that they don't want to do this anymore.  That's already a real downer after 4-6 years of schooling, but it's even suckier when you've dropped several hundred dollars on licensing tests that you'll never use.

1 comment:

  1. Hey LuLu,

    I finished the ARE this summer and just this month completed my IDP hours, so I really appreciate the early testing rule. However, I want to caution fresh graduates with little work experience. You can study the published materials out there as well as what NCARB puts out, but really nothing other than experience and good common sense prepares you to pass these exams. Much of the study guide content isn't directly on the exams. Luckily I was able to be employed in the profession during all my years of school.

    Sure the questions can be reductive and the vignettes are spelled out for you. But there is enough in there to trip someone up if they are not prepared. Honestly I feel the exams are too easy, yet I know plenty who struggle with them.

    Lastly, I think passing all of these exams early, or being in process, is a great thing to have on your resume. Especially if unemployed.