Recently Minted Architect, Hien Vuong Shares her Thoughts on the Licensure Process
Why did you decide to get your license?
It was just a natural next step for me. It gives me more freedom. I don’t need to validate myself anymore, and if I wanted to, I could do a building on my own. It’s empowering.
I had a female friend who didn’t get licensed, and I sensed that she regretted it. She saw that sometimes she got sidelined because she didn’t have the stamp, and it was hard for her to find the time to go through that process as her career progresses. I learned that you need to get it done before life takes over. I think it’s important for women to get licensed. We still live in a world where women often have to work harder to prove themselves, and the AIA after your name helps.
How long did you study?
It took a year of studying. It took an extra year to complete the IDP, because you need to earn hours negotiating and drafting a contract). Usually that’s partner-level work, so I had to find opportunities to do it myself.
Any tips for folks just starting out?
Cram! It shortens the suffering! I used the standard study guide from Kaplan, and it worked well. I studied for the California State Exam (CSE) in three weeks because I wanted to take it before it switched to the new format. I finally took it on Valentine’s Day.
What was the most interesting or useful think you learned?
The contact information was useful. It was also helpful to look at the process from a 10,000-foot level. You can understand the process holistically. It was interesting to learn that you shouldn’t over-promise. You should be realistic with clients about what you’ll deliver.
How did you celebrate?
Went out with my husband. It was Valentines Day and our wedding anniversary. Lots to celebrate!