There are times in each of our lives where we must make decisions that don’t necessarily lead us where we want to go. Some of these situations may lead us to precarious legal situations where we are not necessarily on the right side of the law. If you have your sights set on becoming an architect, you may find that your criminal record plays a role in your ability to get or keep your license.
While your ability to obtain a license in architecture differs from state to state, some locations do not have tight restrictions. Could your license be at risk?
Career Limitations with a Criminal Conviction
When you request a professional license, many states want to know absolutely everything about your background, even misdemeanors. You are required to be honest, and you must expect both state and federal background checks to support your statements. If they don’t back you up, you may be automatically kicked to the curb by the licensing organization.
Some states bar certain types of criminal convictions when they assess your license application. A discretionary approach considers the severity and relationship of the crime to architecture and professionalism. Crimes of note may include criminal negligence, soliciting bribes, fraud, or deceptive business practice. They also pay careful attention to violent crimes like murder, kidnapping, and assault.
Some states may not allow any type of criminal conviction for architects. This is considered a non-discretionary approach. No matter your conviction, you might not be eligible to work as an architect in areas that license this way.
Some states put a limit on how long ago a conviction may have happened. You may be able to have been convicted of a felony three to five years ago and still have a license to work as an architect.
In some states, you do not even need a license to work on architectural projects. You may be restricted from working on certain projects, like those that involve schools or government buildings. You might also be considered for positions that work on the sidelines of these projects, providing support where possible.
Reporting Crimes to Licensing Department
Let’s say that you are already working as an architect. In some states, like Florida, you are required to report a criminal conviction to licensing department within 30 days. If you apply for a license or try to renew one and fail to be honest about past convictions, you may be disqualified in any state, even if the original conviction would not have disqualified you.
In states that require reporting of criminal convictions to their respective licensing organizations, you face punishment if you fail to do so. Disciplinary action may include monetary fines, license suspension, or possibly even license revocation.
If you are thinking about becoming an architect, you have options. Courses for architects are available online to help you get started on a bright new career path.