The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has recently released new data surveying the number of licensed architects in the United States. Conducted annually by NCARB, the 2017 Survey of Architectural Registration Boards provides exclusive insight into data from the architectural licensing boards of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At first glance, the numbers reflect promising growth for the architecture profession. The number of architects licensed in the U.S. rose to 113,554, according to the survey, which is a 3% increase from 2016 and a 10% increase from the numbers reported a decade ago.
Even more impressive, when you compare the increase in registered architects to the U.S. population, the number of architects licensed has risen over 10% since 2008; while the total U.S. population has risen 8%, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That equates to roughly 1 architect for every 2,900 people in the country. To put this into perspective, a medium-sized architecture firm of 50 people would theoretically have the potential to directly impact 145,000 people in the U.S.
Based on these statistics, one might assume that more architects naturally means more architecture, thus more influence from the profession in general. But that might not be the case. Read on for more data from NCARB's report and what it could mean for the profession as a whole.
Over the past few years, NCARB has been making an obvious effort to streamline the path to licensure and remove unnecessary barriers. NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong believes the numbers in the recent report reflect their efforts. With over 5,200 candidates completing the core education, experience and examination requirements for licensure, this record high might suggest a promising future for the generations to come.
While the numbers indicate an upward trajectory for the profession overall, it's important to step back and view this assumption from an economic perspective. With a higher supply of architects in the U.S., will this in turn mean less work for architects across the board? Economically speaking, a greater supply generally leads to a lesser demand.
In order to combat this supply and demand, it is important for the architectural profession to begin exploring more innovative ways to practice. The traditional client relationship is evolving in the age of digital media, and perhaps it is time to take advantage of this evolution through investing in new ways to find and secure work. It is an exciting time to be in any creative industry, this report proves that. Find a way to set yourself apart from the crowd--you might even end up making an impact you may not have anticipated was possible.
News via: NCARB