An Update from our Licensing Advisor

Hello and happy autumn, Candidates, Supervisors, and fellow Advisors! I am so excited to take on the role of Architect Licensing Advisor for the Commonwealth and to help you along your career journey, no matter the season. In case you’re wondering why I’m here and what this is all about, here’s a little background on the role.

Architect Licensing Advisors are volunteers who share their time to assist licensure candidates and architects as they work toward initial licensure, reciprocity, supervision, or mentorship. Anyone can be an Advisor and most volunteer with their firms, however, some are appointed by their university or (like myself) their AIA Component. Some Advisors only serve for a few years, and others have done so for decades. The community of Advisors includes students, new graduates, mid-career professionals, educators, licensing board members, and retirees.

No matter how we came to the role of Advisor, or how long we’ve been in it, we all share a commitment to assisting current and aspiring architects as they navigate the sometimes overwhelming path ahead. This could not have been made more clear than at NCARB’s biannual Licensing Advisors Summit, held this summer in Kansas City. Attendees came from all over the US and beyond (one from as far as Guam!) to connect with others, share their ideas and perspectives, and learn about NCARB’s new initiatives, policies, and support they have to offer their members. I have already learned so much from the vast network I connected with at the Summit, and left energized and full of ideas for ways to engage with our AIA Virginia community.

It’s easy to look at a large national organization like NCARB and feel like you’re just a Record Number sending emails and frustration into the void but I promise; they, like us, are real people. And they really are invested in supporting the licensure candidates and architects that they serve. If you ever reach a point where you feel helpless, hopeless, or like you’re going backward instead of forward – that’s where your Licensing Advisor can step in. Advisors have access to our greatest resource, the knowledge and experience of others, and can crowdsource advice or solutions if an answer isn’t readily available.

Thanks to our previous Advisor Michael Hammon, AIA for setting the bar high. I’ll be sharing additional resources and guidance with you during my two-year term. Please feel free to reach out, especially if there’s a topic you’re curious to learn more about, or a resource you think would be helpful to others. Questions about AXP, the AREs, or NCARB in general are always welcome and encouraged. I’m looking forward to connecting with you and supporting your path in any way that I can.

Gina Robinson, AIA
Architect Licensing Advisor – Virginia  

Robinson New State Licensing Advisor

The Architect Licensing Advisors Community is a group of individuals committed to assisting licensure candidates and architects as they navigate the path to licensure and reciprocity. Architect licensing advisors provide guidance throughout the licensure process by facilitating the flow of information to architecture students, licensure candidates, and architects.

The program is led by NCARB and jointly supported by the American Institute of Architects. The AIA Virginia Board of Directors has approved the appointment of Gina Robinson, Associate AIA as Virginia’s Architect Licensing Advisor for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2023.

Get to know our new licensing advisor below! And if you are on the path to licensure and have any questions, please reach out to Gina at or Cathy Guske at

Gina Robinson
Senior Design Coordinator at HDR
Associate AIA, WELL AP

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Gina brings over 15 years of experience to her current role as Senior Design Coordinator with HDR in Arlington, Virginia. Though the first years of her career through the Great Recession were challenging, she gained early experience in Charlotte, NC, and Suzhou, China, before settling in Northern Virginia in 2014. Since joining HDR in 2015, she has come to specialize in public sector projects, working with large, multidisciplinary teams on complex deliverables.

After her time working overseas, Gina was eager to engage with other professionals after her return to the US and became an active participant in the AIA Northern Virginia Women in Architecture committee, regularly attending events and even volunteering to help plan the Women’s Leadership Summit that took place in 2017.

Over the past five years, Gina has developed her focus on mentorship and advocacy, focusing on increasing diversity and transparent communications to emerging professionals as they begin their careers in architecture. After serving two terms as Associate Director on the AIA Virginia Board of Directors, she participated in the Honors Committee Diversity Task Force and most recently in the Inclusivity into the Profession Task Force, both also facilitated by AIA Virginia. These experiences, combined with her background and early career obstacles, have motivated her to become actively involved in recruiting for HDR. Gina has participated in career fairs, interviews, and has supervised summer interns and young professionals as they begin their careers.

Thank You

Please help us give a big “Thank You” to Michael Hammon, AIA.
Michael has been our State NCARB Licensing Advisor for the past 4 years.

In the 4 years since his appointment by the AIA Virginia Board of Directors, Michael has answered MANY member questions about licensure, IDP/AXP supervision, and shared advice with those on the path to licensure.

The Architect Licensing Advisors Community is a group of volunteers committed to assisting licensure candidates and architects as they navigate the path to licensure and reciprocity. Architect licensing advisors provide guidance throughout the licensure process by facilitating the flow of information to
architecture students, licensure candidates, and architects.

Thank you for your service, Michael!

Virginia Licensing Advisor

The Architect Licensing Advisors Community is a group of individuals committed to assisting licensure candidates and architects as they navigate the path to licensure and reciprocity. Architect licensing advisors provide guidance throughout the licensure process by facilitating the flow of information to architecture students, licensure candidates, and architects.

The program is led by NCARB and jointly supported by the American Institute of Architects. AIA Virginia members are fortunate to have been guided by Michael Hammon, AIA the last 4 years (2 terms). As Michael finished his term this summer, we are looking for a new State Licensing Advisor. Are you interested in helping young professionals through the licensure process? Do you like to help your colleagues with issues of reciprocity and licensure? If you are interested in being considered for this appointment, please email

Here’s some more info from NCARB on the Licensing Advisor appointment>>

If you are on the path to licensure and have any questions, you can still reach out to Michael at before the end of June or Cathy Guske at

Licensing FAQ

The last couple months have been a bit unstable to say the least.  For many who are in the process of taking exams and studying for them it has been a sort of limbo that no one asked for. NCARB has attempted to get out in front of it all and allow for extensions on testing windows, explanations into testing time tables, and how to continue to gain AXP during these unprecedented times.  While I will never be able to bring to light information at the level of NCARB, I did think it would be a good time to share some of the questions I’m asked relatively often on topics such as examination, studying, reciprocity, and a few other items.

Question: I’ve met my requirements in a category for hours as I accrue them to sit for exams.  Should I continue to accrue hours in those categories even though I’ve met the minimum?

Answer: A simple answer, yes. While doing this it may seem like you’re just stacking hours away in a specific category when you would prefer to have hours going elsewhere, but this can be helpful for a handful of reasons.

  1. It shows where the vast majority of your time is which can help you determine where your possible strengths and weaknesses are with your experience.  This helps with the exams and topics for each section, as well as your general work experience.
  2. It’s helpful in those times where you would like to get opportunities for other work experiences in the office by being able to show superiors where more time could be allocated to assist your growth.
  3. Depending on where you are accruing AXP, logging all hours can help you in other categories if ARE updates to a new and improved 6.0.  When the jump was made from 4.0 to 5.0 how and where credit hours went were moved around.  Those who were short hours in on area were now meeting or exceeding their requirements.  At the moment, there isn’t an ARE 6.0 on the horizon, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Question: With working from home, or not being able to secure a position for a summer internship, what other ways can I accrue hours towards AXP?

Answer: The current times are horribly unfortunate and that’s likely an understatement.  Many AIA chapters, both local and state, would be the first place to look.  Remain tapped in as they have been looking to provide online seminars that can assist in these areas. Even if it doesn’t assist with AXP, there are a number of online seminars that talk to you about the things you will need to know and learn in practice and for exams.  These can range from seminars on curtain wall systems to water and air barriers.

Question: What’s the current situation with Prometric and testing?

Answer: Prometric is currently open although at a limited capacity.  While you may be able to locate a spot to get in there it may be best if you can to wait until later in the fall.  Much of Prometric’s focus currently is on first responders and getting those people in.

Question: With working from home, opportunities to meet specific categories for AXP have become more difficult (CA, etc.), what suggestions are there to continue to accrue time in these categories?

Answer: I would simply advise you to have an honest conversation with your supervisor or studio director.  Hours may become crunched and fees may become tight where jobs are not as likely to have the fluff in them to allow for extra people to contribute to certain phases of projects. 

Question: Where can I find information on obtaining reciprocity in other states/jurisdictions?

Answer: NCARB updated much of the content on their website last year and added in a really helpful page on this very topic.  It provides an interactive map where one can click on the state (or territory) they’re looking to either gain their initial licensure or reciprocity in and what it will require of them.  It will list degree requirements, examinations achieved, additional paperwork, and anything else a jurisdiction will need from you.  In many cases, it will even provide hyperlinks to the appropriate entities to file paperwork or at a minimum who to contact (The link to this is:

In closing, if at any point you have any questions or need clarification on anything regarding NCARB, AXP, ARE, or reciprocity please reach out, even if your question is an extension of one of the questions above.

Michael Hammon, AIA

Dreiling Honored by NCARB

2020 NCARB President’s Medalists
for Distinguished Service

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, of Massanutten, VA, is recognized for her outstanding leadership of both the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). As interim executive director of the NAAB, Dreiling led the organization through a period of critical reflection and restructuring. Her efforts transformed the NAAB and built lasting partnerships both within and outside the realm of architectural education. Her commitment to efficiency and professionalism facilitated a new dynamic with NCARB, its staff, and its volunteers. In addition, Dreiling was elected the 90th president of the AIA after over 18 years of service with the organization. During her tenure in 2014, she oversaw a repositioning of the organization with a focus on cultural transformation, while also promoting efforts to support students, emerging professionals, and young architects.

The highest honor bestowed upon architectural professionals by NCARB—the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service—is awarded each year to individuals in recognition of their outstanding contributions and dedication to the Council and the architectural profession.

2020 Laudatories

NCARB wishes to express its sincere appreciation to Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA for her invaluable contributions to the Board of Directors, the Council and its mission, and the regulation of the architecture profession.

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA
Helene Combs Dreiling stepped away from her role as the interim executive director of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) after leading the organization through a critical restructure, re-energizing its focus on the accreditation of architecture education programs, and strengthening the relationship between NAAB and the Council. She helped guide the development of the groundbreaking 2019 Accreditation Review Forum, ensuring the contributions and collaboration of each of the five collateral organizations for the betterment of the education continuum. NCARB President Terry Allers is awarding Dreiling the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service in 2020.

ARE® Q&A and Virtual Happy Hour with NCARB

Bring your favorite drink and join us for a virtual ARE® happy hour. Hear the latest updates and engage in an open question and answer session with NCARB leaders.

Harry M. Falconer, Jr., FAIA, NCARB, HonD, Hon. FCARM | Vice President, Experience + Education

Jared N. Zurn, AIA, NCARB, CAE | Vice President, Examination

Sign up and save your spot at the table

Alternative Paths to Licensure – IPAL

As the profession of architecture grows in new and interesting directions, so does the education and licensure paths that feed into it.  Many in the profession are familiar with the typical education path of having an intern position to earn NCARB experience while a student, earning a NAAB accredited degree, earn more experience, and pass the exams.  However, in the past few years, NCARB has been working to provide an alternative path to licensure and is working with state licensing boards to get this path approved as a viable option. This path is known as the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL). 

IPAL is an accelerated path to licensure for students to meet the requirements for licensure while documenting the same hours of work experience, obtaining a NAAB accredited degree, and passing their exams all at once.  When they gather their diploma they will be a fully accredited architect (pending any other requirements from their jurisdiction of practice).  Currently, there are 26 programs at universities that offer the IPAL program.  A majority of the universities offer it as a graduate program, yet there are those that offer it to undergraduates although there may be certain stipulations applied.  These programs typically have tie-ins for work-study programs or strong connections to internship programs with local firms to help facilitate the work experience needed to meet IPAL and NCARB requirements.  Many IPAL participants will need to work what equates to a part-time job at a minimum along with being a full-time student to meet all the requirements to complete the program. 

With a new path to licensure emerging and tying into education requirements provided nationally, those who dream of a career in architecture will have multiple paths to obtaining licensure. In 2018, the first group of IPAL graduates moved into the workforce. It will be interesting to see how their alternative path and experience has molded them as architects, and if any change will be ushered into the profession as a whole.

For more information on IPAL, requirements, and a list of institutions that provide the path, visit

article submitted by Virginia Licensing Advisor, Michael Hammon, AIA. You can reach out to Michael at with any licensing questions.

NCARB Update from our Virginia Licensing Advisor

I recently had the pleasure to represent AIA Virginia as the NCARB Liaison at the NCARB Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The conference is held every two years to bring together liaisons from the professional and educational sector, which is comprised of both educators and students.  For two days, we hunker down and attend presentations, lectures, and networking events where we are updated on everything NCARB is doing to provide for students of architecture, those working towards their licensure and those already licensed. With the exams moving completely to the ARE 5.0, much of what was discussed was using the correct terminology (AXP instead of IDP), how ARE 5.0 differs from previous versions, and what information NCARB is providing for those in need.  Having taken all my exams in ARE 5.0, many of the topics were a refresher for me. It was more about those at NCARB explaining why they did the many things that they did when transitioning from ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0.  However, there were two areas they focused on at the conference that I felt would be worthy to relay and are areas when I accepted this position I didn’t fully expect I would be able to assist in.

First, as the NCARB Liaison, while I have a duty to help those setting up their NCARB account, accruing credits via AXP, or taking exams, I also have the ability to be of great assistance to the supervisors and mentors of those progressing towards licensure.  So for those who are supervisors or mentors to licensee candidates, I’m here to assist with any questions you may have as far as your duties in the role you are taking on. I’m sure there are moments when those you are supervising ask you questions that you simply do not know.  That’s perfectly okay and feel free to reach out.  Currently, NCARB is putting together a matrix of duties and responsibilities supervisors should aim for. That matrix should be released soon.

Second, how many have heard of NCARB Certification?  It’s understandable if you have not, as I was not quite sure what it exactly entailed either when I first took the position.  Once you have received licensure you likely keep your NCARB record paid for and current.  The best course of action, if desired, would be to apply for your NCARB Certificate.  The NCARB Certificate acts as the main component for reciprocity in other jurisdictions.  Every state is different and will likely require you to do something a little extra (Virginia has the DPOR exam), but having your NCARB Certificate lets the jurisdiction you apply to know your records are all in one spot and in safe holding with a recognized organization.

If it has been a while since you have visited the NCARB website now is as good of a time to visit.  There is a litany of information and resources on their website.  Check out NCARB: By the Numbers (2019) for numbers on exam pass rates, timelines on averages to complete the process, numbers on demographics, and plenty more. As well, NCARB has provided an interactive map that can help those working towards licensure figure out what their jurisdiction requires of them, but it can also assist those already licensed to figure out what a jurisdiction will require of them if they’re seeking reciprocity.

As always, if you have questions about any and all things AXP, ARE, or NCARB, you can reach me at

Michael Hammon, AIA
AIA Virginia Licensing Advisor

Virginia Licensing Advisor

The Architect Licensing Advisors Community is a group of individuals committed to assisting licensure candidates and architects as they navigate the path to licensure and reciprocity. Architect licensing advisors provide guidance throughout the licensure process by facilitating the flow of information to architecture students, licensure candidates, and architects.

The program is led by NCARB and jointly supported by the American Institute of Architects. The AIA Virginia Board of Directors has approved the re-appointment of Michael Hammon, AIA as Virginia’s Architect Licensing Advisor for another two-year term.

Get to know our new licensing advisor below! And if you are on the path to licensure and have any questions, please reach out to Michael at or Cathy Guske at

Michael Hammon, AIA

I began my architectural career developing my skills and process while attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (2006) and Bachelor of Architecture (2007) degrees. While attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I spent time abroad expanding my design knowledge in England, Italy, Austria, and Spain. Upon graduating I stayed in Charlotte, where I worked for two firms largely on education (K-12 and higher education) and civic projects located in the Carolinas, West Virginia, and Virginia. After a few years and in the midst of the last recession, I returned closer to home to work in Richmond where I expanded my portfolio to include government and commercial projects, along with adding Design-Build to my project delivery experience. For the last three plus years, I have worked at Glavé and Holmes Architecture to strengthen my project manager/project architect skills. I am currently a member of the higher education studio where I am able to immerse myself in some of my favorite project types from early in my career. I am an Associate AIA member in transition to be a full AIA member this year. Since becoming an Associate AIA member, I have volunteered the last two years to help with organizing the AIA Golf Tournament at Willow Oaks Country Club and this year serving as the chair on the committee.

In my personal time, I spend much of my time with my 10 year old son, Meir, taking day trips, doing science projects, or enjoying Marvel movies. I also enjoys traveling, having been to St. Lucia, Savannah, Georgia, San Francisco, California, and Austin, Texas in the last two years. I’m active in social sports programs in the city, and enjoy other activities on the river and getting up to the mountains for some camping and hiking which typically includes a pit stop at a local brewery. I use any leftover time to apply what I’ve learned professionally with renovation projects at my home in the Bon Air neighborhood with varying degrees of success.

As for my desire to serve as the Virginia Licensing Advisor, a combination of the professional and personal items from above about myself make me believe I would be a good fit. In regards to NCARB and the ARE 5.0, I wasn’t the quickest to move forward with taking my exams or even getting started on them. Since my career had taken such a circuitous route, I at times questioned if I was ready to start. We all take different paths to get to the same point. Mine just happened to include one where I did not work for the same firm, in the same state, or doing the same project delivery types. Similarly, on the personal side, I have had to juggle soccer practices and games, parent-teacher conferences, renovating a home, along with my professional duties at work, as well as still finding time to study. Many young professionals have started this phase of life and finding the balance to study after a full day can be the most daunting task of all. I understand that this role will require me to be there for answering questions or pointing prospective exam takers in the right direction. I believe my experiences, a less straight forward professional career and family life, will allow me to relate to them and let them know it is doable, and that they definitely should not hold out on beginning the process because it seems like it is too much. I want to provide people with a level of confidence, as well as resources, to take on the task of licensure and make it not seem like such an onerous procedure, but one that is very rewarding professionally and personally.

Michael’s Resume