The AIA recently issued a statement on their new public policy regarding pre-licensure titling. The new policy seeks to move architecture beyond the use of the term “intern” as a title for those on the path to licensure.

The newly approved statement suggests that “intern” remain a supported title for students working in an architectural office while pursuing an architecture degree and endorses two titles: “architectural associate” and “design professional” for graduates pursuing their license.

In Virginia, and in most states, both suggested titles run counter to regulations. “Architectural” is among the protected “titles” and “design professional” indicates that the individual is licensed or certified in one of the APELSCIDLA professions and by the Virginia Construction Code. As Title and Practice laws protect the “title” architect or any derivative thereof, AIA Virginia recommends against using either “architectural associate” or “design professional” as titles in the Commonwealth. “Design associate” has been suggested as an alternative that would not violate Virginia law or regulation.