Louis Smith (1997)

Path to Licensure: By Any Means Necessary
Louis Smith
Licensed 1997

The greatest burden for minorities pursuing licensure may be the uncertainty of whether your level of success is due to your own lack of effort or to the racist tendencies in a profession where people who look like you are greatly under-represented. My approach to this was to try and move forward every chance I could in whatever path was open.

The result of that was that I applied for licensure shortly after receiving my undergraduate degree in the early 1980’s. At the time, the licensure law there said that the rules that were in effect for applicant were those in effect at the time of first application. This meant that no professional degree was needed. I did need a great deal of experience as an “intern” before qualifying for the test.
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Anna McCorvey (2016)

Not getting licensed was not an option
Anna McCorvey, RA, LEED AP BD+C
Licensed 2016

To license or not to license, that was NEVER a question. To me, licensure was a integral part of the architectural journey: that seal attests to your ability and legitimacy.

When I finally finished my masters in city planning from UC Berkeley, the mission was clear; get licensed. In fact, I cut my educational aspirations a bit short in order to quickly return to the workforce. I intended to pursue a dual degree in planning and law (part of my master plan), but that would have put me out of the architectural workforce for 5 years; I had already taken a year “off” and the program was 4 years long.

When I finally began testing, I jumped into it head first and got into a good groove. A great groove actually. Until I failed my first exam; construction documents and services. I failed that one twice and it was the only one I failed. I felt so comfortable with the material. It boggled my mind that I wasn’t passing the exam. The vignettes were the culprit so I spent more time practicing those. It was smooth sailing after I finally got over that hump. It was stressful, but not horrible. My friends missed me, but they were always in my corner cheering me on. That would be my bit of advice. Find a good support system of friends and loved ones that will not feel slighted when you need to disappear for a while, but who are still there when you need a break!

Learn more about Anna here.

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