Knowledge is power. Yet, policy decisions regarding internship (as well as education and registration for that matter) have too often been based solely on personal experiences or organizational agendas, without the aid of empirical data or objective studies. The debate has consistently been circular in part because the less information there is, the more people are inclined to assume that they know everything and what’s best for the next generation. What follows is in-depth coverage of the 2003 Internship & Career Survey, followed by profiles of related one-time surveys, and a sample of the findings from those and various other studies.
2003 Internship & Career Survey
The 2003 Internship & Career Survey was intended to expand our knowledge and establish some common ground. The point was to solicit and to listen to the opinions and experiences of interns generally. It was the result of a major collaborative partnership between two unique, but related groups: the AIA National Associates Committee (NAC) and ArchVoices. The real test of any initiative is whether it’s a sustained commitment or just a one-shot deal.
Beyond the following, all of which informed the 2003 Internship & Career Survey, a handful of other ongoing surveys by the collateral organizations, primarily the AIA, tend to yield bits of information related young professionals. The AIA Compensation Surveys and AIA Firm Surveys are perhaps the best known. All of these tangentially examine aspects of internship, but none is designed to focus on internship or the career pursuits of young professionals, like the following:
AIA National Survey of Internship (1999)
The AIA conducted this survey in preparation for the 1999 Collateral Internship Summit. It was sent to a pool of 1,995 recent graduates of accredited BArch and MArch programs, and it elicited a 40% response rate. The survey was administered by the same third-party vendor as the 2003 Internship & Career Survey.
NCARB National Internship Evaluation Project (1999)
Researchers at Montana State University conducted this survey, funded by a grant from the NCARB, in preparation for the 1999 Collateral Internship Summit. The survey was sent to a pool of 2,134, and it elicited a 24% response rate.
Survey of California Architectural Internship (2000)
The California Architects Board (CAB) conducted this to inform the Board’s decision on whether to adopt NCARB’s IDP for initial registration in California. Responses were elicited from 614 candidates; of those, 123 had completed or were participating in NCARB’s IDP and 491 had completed or were in the process of earning non-IDP internship credit toward registration.
NCARB Practice Analysis (2002)
NCARB contracted with The Chauncey Group International, which administers NCARB’s Architect Registration Examination (ARE) to conduct an 18-month study, known as the NCARB Practice Analysis. Despite a statistically insignificant response (<5%) for interns, NCARB used the Practice Analysis to "validate the IDP and ARE."