Unique LTU program graduates Michigan’s youngest licensed architect at age 23

SOUTHFIELD–Trent Schmitz, 23, graduated from Lawrence Technological University May 8 with a Master of Architecture degree, a requirement for licensing as a professional architect.

And sometime in the next few weeks, Schmitz, of Southfield, will become the youngest licensed architect in the state of Michigan, and possibly the youngest in the country

Lawrence Tech is one of just 18 universities nationwide offering a program called Integrated Path to Licensure (IPAL), which provides selected students the opportunity to complete the requirements for licensure while earning their degree. Organized by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the initiative encourages selected accredited programs to incorporate the professional experience and examinations required for licensure as a professional architect directly into the universities’ curricula.

That means Schmitz has already completed the professional experience and passed the required exams to become a licensed architect in the state of Michigan. Once he files the required paperwork with the state, it will be two to three weeks for processing before his license is issued, according to Robin Siris, licensing team manager at the Bureau of Professional Licensing, part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Siris said that according to state records, the youngest current architect in Michigan was born in 1995, making them 25 or 26 years old—meaning Schmitz, at age 23, will soon be the youngest in the state.

And he’s quite possibly the youngest in the nation, according to Brittney Cosby, manager of experience and education at NCARB. States control licensing of architects, and keep the accompanying databases of birth dates, meaning determining that for sure would require checking with all 50 states and several territories. Cosby said NCARB “is aware of a few” architects licensed in Texas at age 24, but none at 23. According to NCARB, the average age of professional architects at licensing is 32.

Whether it’s youngest in the state or in the nation, LTU officials expressed pride at Schmitz’s accomplishments.

“Trent’s achievement represents a dedication and focus to accomplish what he has in a short period of time,” said Karl Daubmann, dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design (CoAD). “We are incredibly proud of him. This achievement represents CoAD’s focus on working closely with the profession to support our students’ professional pursuits and path to licensure. Trent’s achievement also highlights the ability for NCARB to maintain integrity while accelerating the process for young designers to become licensed architects. Trent paves the way for other students to move into the profession as licensed professionals.”

And Schmitz added: “Through the IPAL program, connections in the architecture and design industry, and many resources, LTU and their faculty provided me with everything I needed to succeed.  I was set up to make informed decisions about where to work, the different areas of the profession I needed to gain experience in, and resources to take and pass the exams.”

Schmitz is currently a designer at Southfield-based Neumann Smith Architecture.

More about LTU’s Integrated Path to Licensure program at www.ltu.edu/ipal. The program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

To learn more about NCARB and IPAL visit www.ncarb.org/IPAL.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers nearly 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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