Just an Intern?

Since my blog is about our path to becoming a licensed architect, I thought on my first blog post we should define who we really are as an"Intern Architect". Most of us experience this when we started our first job after architecture school - What are we called? NCARB & AIA has outlined that we are called "Intern Architect" or "Architectural Intern" until we get our licenses; hence, the infamous Intern Development Program. But many are called "Junior Architect", "Intermediate Architect" or "Architectural Designer". In my firm, I am entitled "Project Designer", but I went from putting "Architectural Designer" to "Project Designer" to "Junior Architect" on my resume. Yet, I still cannot define who I really am.

Intern Architect

"Junior Architect" apparently sounds more professional, and many job postings out there utilize this title when they are looking for an Intern Architect. But my question is if calling ourselves a Junior Architect will violate the law (since it's against the law to call ourselves "architect" when we don't have a license yet)? What about Intermediate and Senior Architects? Does that imply they are licensed? If it is already confusing for us architectural professionals, I am sure anyone outside of the architecture profession is beyond confusion when they see our business cards or even just our email signatures. Titles might not (and should not) be the most important thing in our work, but clients might not be assured when they think that we are just student interns handling their projects.

It is the job that you want, just not the title that you want.

This identity crisis is nothing new, and although it might create misunderstandings, I find it somewhat interesting. Most of the time, when people ask me what I do, I will have to provide a long explanation instead of just saying the cool word - "architect". I will give a little history on how I have to work for a few years as an intern to get my license, and how an intern is not a real intern in the architectural profession. It lets people know more about my hard-working process and goals, instead of just saying "hey, I am an architect" (but of course that's really cool too!).

But like Doctor House said in one episode, "It is the job that you want, just not the title that you want." After all, even if I am just an intern, I am still proud to be an intern architect.

What about you intern architects out there? What are you called / want to be called in your firm? or What do you think we should be called?

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Aspiring architect and graphic designer. I design buildings and write about it. My interests revolve around urban architecture, people, graphics, arts and culture.