The Role of an AXP Supervisor
Successful AXP supervisors understand that the first few years of a future architect’s career are a time for developing the tools they will use as licensed professionals and that these years bridge the gap between theory and practice. They recognize that the candidate will need guidance as they take on new responsibilities, time to learn new skills, and patience and counseling as they attempt, and possibly fail, at things they have never done before. Acting in this capacity for a younger licensure candidate, as a mentor or employer likely did for you at the beginning of your career, is a way to preserve the master/apprentice relationship that is integral to architectural education. The time commitment required for administrative duties is reasonable; expect to spend an hour or two each month checking in on the candidate’s progress, reviewing submissions, or offering advice.
Ways an AXP supervisor can create an environment that promotes professional growth:
- Encourage AXP candidates to track their time promptly and provide frequent updates on their progress. NCARB requires that hours be reported within eight months of the time that they are accrued to obtain full credit and up to six months’ worth of time can be reported in one submission. The AXP Guidelines suggest that candidates submit a progress report to their supervisor every two months to stay on track. Set a calendar reminder to ask the AXP candidate about their experience at regular intervals, and encourage them to schedule a time to meet with you to review their log and keep you apprised of areas in which they may need more assignments.
- Become familiar with the six practice areas included in the AXP, and understand which types of tasks fit into each category. Try to tailor work assignments so that AXP candidates have the opportunity to be involved with all phases of a variety of projects.
- Look for chances for the AXP candidate to shadow you—proposal or client meetings, presentations, and site visits, among other out-of-the-office settings, all allow a young professional the opportunity to observe and begin to understand the variety of situations architects encounter in practice.
- In states where candidates are permitted to sit for divisions of the Architect Registration Exam while enrolled in AXP, encourage employees to take exams as soon as they become eligible. The experience shown on the employee’s work experience reports may inform which sections of the ARE the candidate should take first. Firms may also support young professionals by reimbursing exam fees or the cost of study materials.
- The AXP allows candidates to accrue experience in settings outside of the workplace, such as design competitions, community service projects, or through continuing education and certifications. When advertisements for these opportunities pass through your inbox, forward them to the candidate. If your firm’s budget allows, support these independent endeavors by allowing paid time away from the office or reimbursing registration fees after successful completion of a course or certificate program.
- If the AXP candidate is a recent graduate or new to your area, tap into your network to help them find a mentor. An AXP mentor is a registered architect who can offer counsel, experience, and encouragement to the candidate and allow them to get to know architects outside of their own firm.