Toward 5600: Let’s Do Lunch

The first in an occasional series on earning Supplemental Experience toward the minimum 5,600 hours required to complete IDP.

When it comes to earning supplemental experience, it doesn’t get much simpler than this.  Interns can earn up to 40 hours toward their Elective Hours by attending AIA-approved Continuing Education courses, many of which are offered as “lunch and learns” right in your own office.

This one is a no-brainer.  Lunch and learns are somewhat ubiquitous in our industry, and many educational seminars and outreach events offer at least one CEU for attending.  Even better, most facilitators of these events will record your participation and report it to the AIA directly, and your transcript will be updated automatically.  You’ll earn CEUs toward your AIA membership and experience hours toward your IDP at the same time — no fuss, no muss.  Best of all, this is a completely independent way of earning time; other than the AIA’s verification of your attendance, no oversight by a supervisor or mentor is required.  (Note: even though the provider is reporting attendance to the AIA, an intern will still need to self-report their participation to NCARB in order to earn credit.)

You could potentially earn these 40 hours pretty quickly — most offices host lunch and learns on a monthly basis, and sometimes even weekly — but it’s surprising to me that many people don’t take advantage of the opportunity.  I get it — the lunch hour is sacred; why spend it listening to a product rep giving a canned presentation?  I can give you a few good reasons:

One, you can earn credit — even if you attend only two such sessions a month, that adds up to 24 additional hours toward your IDP (or, in other words, and additional three days’ worth of time, in those same 47 working weeks).

Two, some of the more technical presentations can help to reinforce concepts that are helpful in everyday practice… and that you might see again in the licensing exam.  In the past six months, our office has hosted presentations on copper in architecture, which included some pretty handy information on the galvanic series (which I can virtually guarantee will show up on the Building Design and Construction Systems exam) and roof copings (which dealt with uplift and suction at the roof edge due to wind forces, a major lateral forces topic on the Structural Systems exam).

Three, more often than not, you get a free lunch.  Who says there’s no such thing?

Reminder: You will still need to include these courses in your next Experience Report, which, of course, is subject to the reporting requirements (including the Six-Month Rule.)   Not an AIA member?  NCARB won’t hold that against you — you can still earn credit for attending.  You will, however, have to request a temporary transcript from the AIA — visit the “Free Transcripts for Interns” page on the AIA website.  You’ll receive an unique 8-digit number that will be used to report your participation in the event to the AIA.  This transcript has a shelf life — it will only be valid for three years — but that should be plenty of time to earn the available credit.