Licensure: The Long and Winding Road
Bryan Wendell Hudson
Written August 2009
I never really thought about what my story would be. I don’t want to be long winded but there’s so much to say… At any rate my, first experience with the Architectural Registration Exam (A.R.E.) came thru INOMA in ’93 on a Saturday test prep event. I actually got to practice the graphic section of the test. This was my first year in studio. I didn’t finish it but got a certificate for being the only student to show up and participate. It would be 9 years before I was eligible for the computerized version.
Fast forward to March 2002 to, NOMA founder, Wendell Campbell and Associates’ offices. This was the earliest stage of our current recession and the first time I was eligible to test. Site Planning was taken and failed. Since I was designing parking lots and structures I thought it would be a slam dunk. Not only did I fail, but I got laid off… I had to ask myself, do I eat and pay rent while looking for a job or study and find money to pay for the test. Well I chose to eat…(I’m sure a lot of you have dealt with this situation or may be now…) I didn’t take another test for sixteen months because in my new job that I started six months later, I was working 16hr days with no time to study. The next three exams I took with similar results to the first with the exception that the format changed again. I finally scored my first pass with Construction Documents in 2006. It would be another nine months before I passed yet a newer version of Site Planning. After that success, I finally started to get some confidence. In 2007, I had two more down with a promise made to one of the NOMAC members to be done by the following year’s NOMA conference.
Finally in 2007, it was time for yet another change in scenery. I quit working for us and crossed over to majority corporate payday. It was great while it lasted but seventeen months into that job it was over!!! This time NCARB was now changing the format yet again with dire consequences for those who weren’t finished by June, 30, 2009. This time I had no choice but to finish or lose my other exams. I hunkered down and scheduled the four hardest exams by the end of 2008! With help from friends and family I took prep classes for Lateral Forces (LF), General Structures (GS), Mechanical and Electrical Systems (ME) (PREPA.R.E. taught by Marc Mitalski and Patrick Kennedy) and Building Technology (BT). I got the GS and ME done and had to redo the other two. Luckily I still had six months to retake them before the June deadline. It was do or die… I got both scheduled two weeks apart and took a trip to Puerto Rico in between. At this point I felt like I could no longer let this beast rule me!
This plan was great until I was informed on my trip that my BT exam had been booted out of the system on the 22nd of June. After several irate calls to NCARB and Continental Testing they got me straight. It just happened to ruin my last day in P.R. Needless to say I really wanted to be a LICENSED ARCHITECT and so I decided to endure all of this MADNESS!!! I hope this twisted tale lets folks know that when they put their minds to it they can get to the other side!!!
Bryan Wendell Hudson Registered Architect This comes from a young black boy that didn’t know black architects existed (exposed to Mike Brady) to having worked for one of the most important ones and to serving countless more before becoming one. Who’d a thunk it…
See Bryan’s work here.