AIA CES Program Changes Could Mean Bigger Audiences

AIA has been tweaking its continuing education system (CES) program in ways that will likely bring more opportunities to businesses providing CES programs.

Continuing education is a voluntary process, sort of.  In most states, licensed architects must engage in continuing education in order to keep their licenses, although the number of credits required per year varies widely.  AIA members must also continue professional development to maintain their membership, and that is one of the changes.

The differences between states can create a very tangled situation.  Requirements vary not only in terms of number of credits, but how often they must be reported (1, 2, 3 or 5 years), and the specific reporting date (there are 14 different dates in the US, plus a few states that use date of birth or license anniversary).

The different reporting dates can theoretically be utilized to some advantage, since architects will tend to be more aware of their need to acquire credits as the reporting date gets close.  For example, Florida is the only state that reports on Feb 28.  This means that January and February might be times when a lunchtime CES presentation in Florida will attract better attendance in architectural offices.

AIA is partnering with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) to try and get the system more unified nationally.  They are encouraging states to adopt a unified system of 12 credits (or units, or hours) per year, reported at year-end.

The AIA member requirement is  even more stringent at 18 credits per year, with a minimum 12 of those credits being of the Health, Safety and Welfare category with 4 of th 12 in the subcategory of Sustainable Design.  (That increases AIA's current HSW minimum by 50%.) Moreover, self-reported credits - that is, credit for activities other than pre-approved courses, which the member claims as educational - will no longer be applicable to the HSW requirement.  (The AIA membership changes do not automatically apply to the states, or course; every state decides for itself, some by administrative rule, some by legislation.)  These changes mean that a lot more AIA member architects will now be seeking HSW hours to fulfill their requirements.

HSW is a very broad category that can include almost anything relating to the means and materials of building construction (as distinct from, say, the business of architecture, or construction contract law).  For manufacturers who provide CES programs as a means of educating designers about the use of products, and as a way to build relationships with the architectural profession, this is great news.  It could mean a noticeable increase in attendance, and increase in demand for presentations.  (AIA estimates it represents something like 42,000 more seat-hours per year in California alone.)

Fire up Powerpoint!

(For more information, you can download handouts from a recent AIA-CES workshop (held in Los Angeles in February, 2012) from the AIA website.)