Down the Path…

Welcome to InDePth, a blog devoted to the path toward architectural licensure in the state of Pennsylvania.  Here, you’ll find musings, anecdotes, random thoughts, and maybe even some useful information on architectural education, IDP, and the ARE.  As long as that pesky paying job doesn’t get in the way, new content will be added on a semi-regular basis – sometimes weekly, but never less than monthly.

First, though, a little about me: My name is Sean Sheffler, AIA, and as of June 2012, I have taken over the mantle of Pennsylvania’s IDP State Coordinator.  I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, earned my degree in architecture from the Pennsylvania State University, and have spent my entire career since then working in Pittsburgh.  I completed IDP in 2004, earned my architectural registration in March of 2006, and became a LEED AP in December 0f 2008.  In 2011, I served as the Chair of AIA-PGH’s Young Architects Forum, and I continue to support that group as its immediate Past Chair.  Through friends and family, I have visited all four corners of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and am proud to be serving my profession in this new role.

My official title may be “IDP State Coordinator,” but I have every intention of using this as a forum for addressing all three aspects of the path toward licensure — Education (the NAAB-accredited degree), Experience (IDP), and Examination (ARE).  I might even throw in some posts related to professional development while I’m at it.  And, of course, if you have suggestions for a post or two, please share them with me!

Any of you that are currently undergoing this process, or preparing to get started, please feel free to direct your questions to me at  Drop me a line with anything that’s on your mind, from questions about logging Training Units to advice about studying for the exam.  You can also follow me on Twitter by searching the username @IDP_PA.  I’ll share new blog posts via the Twitter feed as soon as they are available, and re-tweet anything from NCARB that’s relevant to my followers.

Before we dive in, though, I wanted to take the opportunity to recognize the efforts of the previous IDP State Coordinator.  Art Sheffield, Associate AIA, NOMA, faithfully and diligently served the commonwealth for over seven years before deciding to pursue other opportunities.  For many of those years, Art also carried the torch for the Pittsburgh Interns and Young Architects Forum (PIYAF), which paved the way for the AIA-Pittsburgh chapter’s YAF.  It’s safe to say that young architects across Pennsylvania — including me — owe Art a great deal of gratitude.  Everyone here at AIA-PGH wishes him well in his new endeavors!

I’m here to help all of you in your journey toward licensure.  And, with that, I’ll leave you with a beautiful and inspiring statement that I found on the message boards of

Dreams are not captured in ‘arrival’, they are shaped and defined in the harsh reality of journey.
‘Arrival’ simply gives us hindsight to see that obstacles were actually footholds in our ascent.
The obstacles are there to empower you, because they map the path.

Down the path we go…