The Benefits of Continuing Education in Architecture

lunch n learn

Twenty-nine years of working across the USA has resulted in a unique skill set and perspective.  Special skills are required to work with people we don’t see, design in a space we will only see once, and to build teams with people we may not work with again. Then, there are the peripheral Responsibilities.

“Responsibilities” often is an obligation that drags down performance. In this case, working across the USA obligates JLA to maintain at least one license in each state and to complete Continuing Education requirements.

Continuing Education is a long-standing requirement for many professionals, such as doctors and lawyers.  In the architecture and engineering field it started in the 1990’s.

Continuing Education requirements vary from state to state relative to topics, number of hours and presentation medium.  With 37 state licenses, certifications in LEED and Green Globes, and membership in the AIA, it can be a full-time job keeping up.  The first CE class I took in the 90’s was a 2-day seminar on French furniture. It was interesting and I still recall some of the interesting facts, but I don’t know how it has made me a better architect or what it had to do with “Health, Safety and Welfare”.

Like most things, it got better as the idea matured.  In addition to the office lunch -n – learns given by manufacturers and various vendors serving the design & construction industry, topics covered through my personal study include:

  • Handicapped Accessibility with special courses for Texas, Florida and California
  • Biomechanics
  • Biofilters
  • Building Pathology – how to figure out what went wrong
  • Alternate Building Materials, such as Gabions and Rammed Earth
  • Daylighting and the benefits on productivity
  • The Building of the Pentagon
  • Senior Living: Housing for Aging
  • The Design-Build processes – benefits and liabilities
  • Sustainability including Rain Gardens, Geothermal systems, and green building materials
  • Construction Cost Management

While Continuing Education is time consuming, it effectively accomplishes the promotion of learning.  Vendor presentations are made to our entire JLA team.  This keeps us up to date on the latest technology and products. The personal study courses are always shared with our team as well.  In a world where everything new can soon be obsolete, it is important to keep up with trends and resources for solutions to both new and old challenges.  This continued learning enables JLA to be creative problem solvers, continuing our growth and success in the multiple areas of our architecture practice.


John Lister, AIA, LEED AP, GGA

Principal, JL Architects