9 Reasons

During my (almost) two years out of school, I’ve heard the argument again and again – when is the best time to take the ARE? I think you’ll find that the answers break down like this: 60% will say right out of school and the other 40% will say wait about 3 to 5 years. Now that I’ve faced the beast they call the ARE, which side do I fall on? Well, let me give you my nine reasons I agree with the 60% that say “get it over with right out of school!”

So here they are, my “9 Reasons to Suck it up and Take the ARE {soon}”

1. Just to get it over with! Yes, the most simple and basic reason of them all – just get it over with as soon as possible. Working 8 – 10 hours a day and then adding on an additional 2 – 3 hours of studying per day is not fun, so why drag it out? Suck it up, make a schedule, and stick to it! Before you know it, you’ll look up a few months down the road and you’ll be 3 down, then 5 down, then finished!

2. You can actually (legally) call yourself an Architect! My biggest pet peeve coming out of school was having to be called an “Intern Architect”. That’s fine and all while you’re in school, but after you graduate and have a professional degree the word “intern” should not be in your title. That’s just my opinion. You worked hard to get through one of the toughest majors in college, don’t cut yourself short by not getting licensed. Anyway, being able to call myself an Architect at the end of it all was definitely a motivating factor while I was studying.

3. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. This is what I heard from everyone in that 60% category. The longer you work, the more responsibility you will get. That’s just a fact of life in our field. Not to mention other things start to take up your time, too – marriage, kids, anything you attempt outside of architecture. I have colleagues in my office that were studying while married with young children, and trust me (and them), it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. Get it done before architecture (and life) get even more in your way.

4. You might actually learn a thing or two. As much as I sometimes hated to admit it, there were things I would come across studying that really helped me grow my knowledge base for work. There were many terms, definitions, and general concepts that I was grateful to have gone through while studying because they helped me later in the real world. Now you will definitely come across things that will make you say “there’s no way we would do that in our office!” And yes, you are probably correct. But at least now you have the knowledge behind you to realize those things may or may not be how your office does things.

5. As you pass the exams, it will give you a confidence boost! Now as I type this, I can hear all those people saying “Yea, or a major blow to your ego when you fail”. Yes, more than likely you will fail one or two – I did. And it’s definitely a tough thing to deal with. But don’t take it so personal. The majority of people taking these tests fail AT LEAST one, if not more. You can’t judge your skills and job capability on these exams. Some of the smartest and most experienced people I know in the field failed an exam – and they are doing just fine. So if you fail, take it as a learning experience and an opportunity to learn more about the subject, and that’s it. Don’t let it slow you down, keep testing! And when you pass, your confidence will get boosted and it will reconfirm the amazing amount of knowledge you already know.

6. Your firm will (and should) look highly upon you getting licensed early. Firms will be excited no matter when you get licensed, but if you do it when you are fresh out of school it’s even more impressive. It shows that you are dedicated to your profession and care about your personal career growth – what firm doesn’t like that?

7. It makes you more valuable and marketable. Having licensed architects looks great on a firm’s resume, and firms can charge more for a licensed professional. Not only is it good for the firm, it’s also good for you. If the market ever crashes or you want to make a job switch, you will definitely find yourself more marketable and valuable if you are testing or just finished testing.

8. You have a back-up plan. IF for some reason the economy completely tanked and you found yourself without a job, the great thing about passing your tests and being licensed is that it provides you with an automatic back-up plan. You can practice for yourself!

9. YOU’LL NEVER HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN! This is the BEST part… once you pass all of the tests and get your license – you will NEVER EVER have to take those tests again!

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