RULES AND REGULATIONS
Title 49--PROFESSIONAL AND VOCATIONATION STANDARDS
STATE ARCHITECTS LICENSURE BOARD
[ 49 PA. CODE CH. 9 ]
Requirements for Examination Eligibility
[38 Pa.B. 4764]
[Saturday, August 30, 2008]
The State Architects Licensure Board (Board) amends §§ 9.27, 9.41a, 9.46, 9.50 and 9.52 to read as set forth at 37 Pa.B. 4625 (August 25, 2007).
A. Effective Date
The amendments will be effective on publication of the final-form rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
B. Statutory Authority
The amendments are authorized under section 6(a) and (d) of the Architects Licensure Law (63 P. S. § 34.6(a) and (d)).
C. Background and Purpose
Currently, § 9.46(b) (relating to requirements for examination eligibility) states that ''[a]n architectural degree candidate applying for first time licensure is required to pass the entire professional licensure examination of the Board within 5 years of the date of eligibility to take the examination.'' Passing the entire examination requires that each candidate pass all of the various divisions of the Architecture Registration Examination (ARE) within 5 years of the date of eligibility to take the examination. Under this provision, if a candidate fails to pass any one or more of the divisions within the 5-year period, the eligibility period ends and that candidate would be required to take the entire examination all over again.
Under the amendments, if a candidate does not complete the entire examination within 5 years, any division that the candidate had passed that is older than 5 years old will not be accepted for licensure purposes and the candidate will be required to retake only that ''stale'' division of the examination. Thus, the candidate will not lose the entire examination, as the current regulation requires, only those divisions that are older than 5 years old.
D. Description of Amendments
The Board amends § 9.27 (relating to inactive records) by deleting the language pertaining to an examination candidate completing the entire examination within 5 years of eligibility.
The Board is amending § 9.41a(b) (relating to adoption of National Board Examinations) by adding language specifying that examination candidates shall comply with the National Council of Architecture Registration Board's (NCARB) examination procedures, conduct standards and standards pertaining to eligibility and passing of the ARE, unless otherwise stated in the Board's regulations.
In § 9.46(b), the Board is deleting the requirement that examination candidates complete the entire examination within 5 years of the date of eligibility to take the examination. Instead, the Board is adopting new language that specifies that the Board will consider only those divisions of the examination passed within the 5-year period since the first passed division was administered. If any division is more than 5 years old, the candidate will be required to retake that division of the examination and will automatically be given a new 5-year period beginning from the date of the administration of the next oldest passed division without the need to reapply. This implements a new ''rolling clock'' standard for the Board.
The Board amends § 9.50 (relating to reapplications) to delete the cross-reference to § 9.46(3) because reapplication will no longer be necessary under the rolling clock requirement. The Board is also adding a cross-reference to § 9.41a(b). The Board further amends § 9.52 (relating to grading compilation) to add cross-references to §§ 9.41a(b) and 9.46(b) with regard to the opportunity to retake portions of the examination which were failed or which expired under the 5-year rolling clock.
E. Response to Public Comment and Regulatory Review of Proposed Rulemaking
Publication of proposed rulemaking at 37 Pa.B. 4625 (August 25, 2007) was followed by a 30-day public comment period during which the Board received favorable comments from the American Institute of Architects Pennsylvania (AIAPA). Following the close of the public comment period, the Board did not receive comments from the House Professional Licensure Committee (HPLC) or the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee (SCP/PLC). The Board did receive comments from the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC).
While AIAPA commented favorably on the revisions of the rolling clock standard for examination eligibility, it urged the Board to adopt other recent action by NCARB that would permit candidates for licensure to sit for the ARE prior to completion of the NCARB Intern Development Program. However, such a change would expand the scope of this rulemaking beyond what was proposed, which would require a separate rulemaking be undertaken. In addition, the Board has not yet decided whether it will support NCARB's recent policy change and, therefore, will not amend its regulations to support this change at this time.
IRRC questioned, in relation to § 9.27, what effect the rolling clock period would have on the calculation of when a record becomes inactive. If all of the passed sections of the ARE become more than 5 years old, ARE eligibility will expire for that applicant and the application will be considered inactive. At that time, because the applicant would have to retake all portions of the ARE, the candidate would be required to reapply to NCARB to retake the entire examination. So long as at least one passed section of the ARE is less than 5 years old, the candidate's record will remain active.
IRRC asked for further clarification of § 9.46(b), which states, ''All applicants will have the benefit of the rolling clock but the Board will only consider the divisions of the examination passed within the 5-year time period immediately preceding the date of the latest administered division passed by the applicant.'' Specifically, IRRC questioned whether, once the rolling clock expires, the applicant will have to take only the remaining divisions needed to pass, or all divisions administered within the new rolling clock period. The intended result of the rolling clock is that if the applicant does not complete the entire examination within 5 years, any division that the applicant has passed that is older than 5 years old will ''drop off'' and the applicant will be required to retake the ''stale'' division of the examination only. The language questioned by IRRC is intended to convey the point that once the final division is passed, the Board will look back 5 years to confirm that the entire examination was completed during the preceding 5-year period. Any division that was passed more than 5 years earlier would need to be passed anew. This situation would reset the rolling clock to begin with the passage of the next oldest division that had been passed. So, for example, if the next oldest division was passed 4 years and 8 months earlier, the applicant would have only 4 months remaining to pass the stale division within the rolling 5-year period. The bottom line is that all of the various divisions of the ARE must be completed within a rolling 5-year period.
Moreover, IRRC questioned whether NCARB's January 1, 2006, date for implementation of the rolling clock standard should be included in the final-form rulemaking. Specifically, IRRC referred to the Board's exception to NCARB's standard with regard to applicants who have completed at least one section of the ARE prior to January 1, 2006. The Board noted in its proposed rulemaking that the difference between the NCARB standard and the Board's standard is that for National certification purposes, NCARB will accept any section passed prior to January 1, 2006, and the applicant will not be required to retake those divisions, even if more than 5 years goes by before the final division is passed. Conversely, for licensure purposes, the Board simply will not accept any passed section that is more than 5 years old. Therefore, the January 1, 2006, date is irrelevant in terms of eligibility for licensure by the Board and does not need to be included in the final-form rulemaking.
F. Fiscal Impact and Paperwork Requirements
The final-form rulemaking should have no fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. Likewise, the final-form rulemaking should not necessitate any legal, accounting, reporting or other paperwork requirements.
G. Sunset Date
The Board continuously monitors the effectiveness of its regulations. Therefore, no sunset date has been assigned.
H. Regulatory Review
Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on August 15, 2007, the Board submitted a copy of the proposed rulemaking, published at 37 Pa.B. 4625, to IRRC and to the Chairpersons of the HPLC and the SCP/PLC for review and comment.
Under section 5(c) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC, the HPLC and the SCP/PLC were provided with copies of the comments received during the public comment period, as well as other documents when requested. In preparing the final-form rulemaking, the Board has considered all comments from IRRC, the HPLC, the SCP/PLC and the public.
Under section 5.1(j.2) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. 745.5a(j.2)), on June 25, 2008, the final-form rulemaking was approved by the HPLC. On July 23, 2008, the final-form rulemaking was deemed approved by the SCP/PLC. Under section 5.1(e) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC met on July 24, 2008, and approved the final-form rulemaking.
I. Contact Person
Further information may be obtained by contacting Penny Walker, Administrator, State Architects Licensure Board, P. O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board finds that:
(1) Public notice of proposed rulemaking was given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.
(2) A public comment period was provided as required by law and all comments were considered.
(3) The amendments do not enlarge the purpose of proposed rulemaking published at 37 Pa.B. 4625.
(4) This final-form rulemaking is necessary and appropriate for administering and enforcing the authorizing act identified in Part B of this preamble.
The Board, acting under its authorizing statutes, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Board, 49 Pa. Code Chapter 9, are amending by amending §§ 9.27, 9.41a, 9.46, 9.50 and 9.52 to read as set forth at 37 Pa.B. 4625.
(b) The Board shall submit this order and 37 Pa.B. 4625 to the Office of General Counsel and to the Office of the Attorney General as required by law.
(c) The Board shall certify this order and 37 Pa.B. 4625 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(d) This order shall take effect on publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
DENNIS R. CONNELL,
(Editor's Note: For the text of the order of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission relating to this document, see 38 Pa.B. 4449 (August 9, 2008).)
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 16A-419 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 08-1586. Filed for public inspection August 29, 2008, 9:00 a.m.]
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