In a bold move during 2015, NCARB led a task force of aspiring architects, members of the AIA, NCARB members and others to finally come to an elegant solution:
If you are NOT a licensed, registered Architect, then you aren’t an Architect of any kind. Period.
You become an Architect when you pass the licensing test(s) in any State in the USA (or in other countries, through their respective licensing authorities).
ArCH regards this as a good thing. It clarifies the use of the title Architect, one that has been abused beyond recognition in our culture. Now, if only other organizations will eliminate the title “Associate “XYZ””, perhaps the public will come to better understand who is who and that you are not officially an Architect until certain legal conditions are met. This is why ArCH does Not have an Associate ArCH status. You either are an Architect or you are not. And if you are, you can become a member of ArCH and use that acronym after your name, letting the world know that you are licensed and a member of a professional society of other Licensed Architects.
This is in no way trying to be harsh to aspiring Architects. We were all there at one time. It is, of its very nature, a difficult path to travel. It simply reflects that in ArCH’s opinion, responsible architectural organizations should be taking a direction that seeks to clarify to the public what an Architect is and who they are, rather than increasing membership dues with “associates” that are not Architects, which can delude the public into assuming that they are, because of their membership in a large organization that purports to represent Architects.