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 ones in the US).  AIA is partnering with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) to try and get the system more unified.  They are encouraging states to adopt a unified system of 18 credits (or units, or hours) per year, reported at year-end, with a minimum 12 of those credits being of the Health, Safety and Welfare category.  This is becoming the AIA member requirement as well, which increases their HSW minimum by 50%.  Also, a minimum 4 of those 12 HSW credits must be for Sustainable Design.

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 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. But AIA and NCARB have moved quite a few states in this direction, and they continue to promote it.

These changes mean that a lot more 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!