To the Office of my Public Official: CLARB

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE To the Office of my Public Official: CLARB

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    temp impact

    Wow! Dokumente bitte! Ve vill ask de questions! The only way to overturn this totalitarianism is for everyone to get together. This would have to be done without the support of ASLA or CLARB? It appears that some of the Boards still provide some hope. I can honestly say that all of the LA’s or candidates that I have met agree that license and testing is necessary. And I can honestly say that I have never met a an LA or candidate (other than those working for the man) that thinks CLARB does an honest job when providing these services.

    The only way is to draw attention at one location… Land8 possibly???

    temp impact


    You read the orientation guide… Let me guess, it talks about restructuring, but very vaguely. And it doesn’t say anything about when the next restructuring might happen, or that candidates might lose credit. Right? The do this so that candidates don’t know what can happen or when the next restructuring will occur. If candidates knew that they would be discredited, and that the next restructuring would happen (hypothetically) next year, they would hold off on taking the exam, and CLARB (and the States) would lose-out on a bunch of money.

    I understand what you are saying. But let me play devil’s advocate for a second. I think CLARB might answer like this (speculation), these are the types of answers I have received, and what you might find online:

    The LARE is about the Safety and Welfare of the public. Quality of graphics are not necessary to convey this information.

    Materials: It is true what you said (no pencils, pens, calculator, etc.) They provide you a dry-erase board that must be returned upon completion. I was sick when I took the new computerized exam. I had to unwrap all 5 of my cough drops before entering the room… I was videotaped and audio recorded.

    Graphics: You don’t even uses sketchup or autocad. You use their program to place images on images of a plan, or you select the proper areas with the pointer. The best way to describe it would be to say its kind of like that bar game on the bar with the screen. You know, the one where you find what is different in each picture. They had a similar thing in Highlights Magazine when you were 10 years old at the doctor’s office… yea…

    In my opinion it’s not whether people can draw or not. It about the technical ability to convey important information. Even all the arrows and text are provided for you (preloaded). With this exam you don’t need to demonstrate even the most basic graphic skills. But again, CLARB will tell you that this is not important for the Safety and Welfare of the public. I beg to differ…

    CLARB even preloads the grade lines for topography questions…

    CLARB has no need for graders anymore. All of the grading is computerized. There are no more technical reviews. You can only dispute a question. But who remembers the questions anyway? You don’t even have a way to find out which ones you got wrong…

    CLARB could care less what you think. Please don’t be “done now”. Let everyone know your opinion.


    Thank you for enlightening me further about the L.A.R.E. (based on your personal experiences).

    And, yes, I understand that (as it is also written in the by-laws of every State’s LA licensing laws)….that Landscape Architects must “Protect the Health, Safety & Welfare of the Public).  However, that’s only a small portion of our profession encompasses.

    The L.A.R.E. really should test “candidates” to determine if they are “competent” with regards to graphics, drawing, sketching, detailing, grading and design skills.  I don’t see HOW you can determine that using ONLY a computer and a ton of multiple choice questions.

    And, since the L.A.R.E. is graded via computers…I would think that the costs of administering that exam would be “reasonable and fair”.

    The FEE for a CLARB Certificate should also be “fair & reasonable” as well as the FEE for having one’s CLARB file sent to another State where you are applying for reciprocity.

    I understand there are a total of (11) Members of the CLARB Board…all, I believe are Landscape Architects.  However, WHY is the Executive Director (who has been in that position for OVER 6 years…NOT a Principal Landscape Architect…and WHY is his Salary over $270,000.00 per year?  CLARB is a “non-profit” organization and even on the CLARB website, it states that most of the work at CLARB is handled by many VOLUNTEERs….really?  Out of curiosity, I looked up the Salaries for a couple of State Governors (who have, I feel certain, all have many more important responsibilities than the Executive Director for CLARB.  The California Governor’s salary is $206,000.00.  The Texas Governor’s salary is $150,000.00.  Yes, they have “perks”, but, still…I just don’t see ANY justification for the salary of the CLARB Executive Director’s annual income!

    I haven’t yet seen a CLARB annual Financial Statement…..but, I have seen here on LAND8 that CLARB’s travel expenses are very “extensive”…WHY?  And, I read in the CLARB by-laws, that CLARB holds an “Annual Meeting“….What is the COST for that Meeting & WHERE does it take place?  Have these Board Members ever heard of “Skype”?  In case the (11) CLARB Board Members & the CLARB Executive Director haven’t yet heard……the U.S. is in the middle of the worst national economic crisis since the Great Depression.  I think it would be “wise” of them to search for ways to CUT expenses and costs of doing business…..keeping in mind there are thousands of Landscape Architect trying to keep their heads above water.  Having to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars in an effort to PASS the L.A.R.E. is absolutely absurd!

    It just appears to ME….that CLARB (with the way they have the L.A.R.E. exam set up) is diluting the profession of Landscape Architecture. 

    And…WHY continually change the L.A.R.E. exam?  Why not just review it every 5 years…then, if changes are deemed necessary, revise the L.A.R.E., but, give NOTICE to everyone well in advance…..and give CREDIT to candidates who have previously “passed” specific sections of the test.  As everyone knows, once a candidate gets past all of the expenses of passing the L.A.R.E….then, they have to go through the costs of applying for a State LA License…and pay the annual fee. Then, of course, you have the annual expenses of the “continuing education courses” that every state now requires.  This is a HARDSHIP, especially on the young University graduates and LA’s just starting their design careers.

    There just seems to be too many QUESTIONS and not enough ANSWERS here about CLARB & the L.A.R.E…….I believe that the approximate 28,000 Landscape Architects here in the U.S. deserve “accountability & transparency” from CLARB – it’s Executive Director and the (11) Board Members!


    temp impact

    Seriously, all of what you have recently discovered is true. The only way to resolve this issue is through our professional community. ASLA and CLARB see that the way Landscape Architects and candidates get together is through ASLA. Which is why ASLA will not discuss these issues at the local or national level. And if they talk about it now, it’s too late for this round of candidates.

    They will wait another 5 to 7 years to restructure. And when they find that they have enough candidates in the middle of the process. They will again wait until the last minute to tell everyone that they are restructuring, and they will let more candidates fall through the cracks. This is their M.O.

    If you take a close look at everything they do, you will find that every last bit of their business is questionable.

    There are so many people frustrated with their process. There was even a petition online, signed by over 120 people, to stop CLARB from restructuring the way they did. I know additional people who were negatively affected by CLARB that didn’t know about the petition. CLARB has said that there could have been 1000 signatures on that petition and it wouldn’t change a thing. They have their reason for restructuring, and it’s justified.

    Just take a look at their online social accounts. Look at the answers they give to frustrated candidates. CLARB was busted lying on their own website about when practice exams would be available. Their response to frustrated candidates was “we are not in the business of educating candidates”. Well… if they aren’t in that business, then why are they now charging a fee for the practice exams…

    They are a joke, and should be treated like a joke until they ring out this corruption and dirty morals.


    Temp as an old warrior LA I admire your tenacity. Fight your fight, but don’t let it consume you. I understand $5,000 is real money, but don’t spend $20,000 in time and energy trying to make things right. I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but in the long run it will probably be easier to retake sections and lose the cash, as opposed to fighting CLARB. This will be just one of the many unjust things you will have to deal with as a landscape architect, so choose your battles wisely and study hard. 


    Kristen like I stated earlier. If you become a CLARB certified professional and you want them to maintain your records, the check writing will never end or at least not until you retire. So keep your head, stay focused, study hard, pass the exam and don’t let the bastards win. They could care less if you pass or not, because either way they’ve got your money. 


    Alrighty then…you would know better than I. Best of luck to you.


    I also noticed on-line today…..that there are several L.A.R.E. “boot camps” or “study sessions” that are available…..yeah, for a FEE.  The fees I saw were from $100.00 to $525.00. And, some of those fees ONLY cover specific portions of the L.A.R.E. exam……..someone is making a LOT of money!!!

    When I graduated (1977), I applied to take the U.N.E. (Uniform National Exam) for Landscape Architects….2-1/2 days of testing…..grading, design problems, construction detailing, professional practice, planting and multiple choice questions as well…it was very comprehensive.

    AND, I don’t recall ANY “U.N.E. exam review sessions” or sample tests of any kind that were available at the time.  We were pretty much on our own.

    The complexity and costs involved to prepare to take the L.A.R.E., the FEE for the test (and I realize it can take a couple of times to pass all sections)….travel expenses involved for the “boot camp” sites (hotels, food, rental car, etc.)…..same to take the L.A.R.E……this all seems pretty ridiculous.

    I feel for the young LA University graduates of today….and all of the LA’s who have not yet passed the L.A.R.E…..the entire process really does just look like a “money making scam” for a lot of people…..and many of these “people” are Landscape Architects……nice.

    I also noticed that there is an “Annual CLARB Meeting” scheduled this Fall in Minneapolis, Minnesota……WHY? I can only “assume” that all of the expenses for the (11) CLARB Board Members will be paid for by CLARB – and these Board Members are located all over the U.S.  And, this Annual Meeting is NOT free for students or Landscape Architects….a FEE and travel expenses will be involved.  I guess I’m not really understanding the “purpose” of this CLARB Annual Meeting. 

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Just how hard is it to get reciprocity without CLARB? I applied for it in 2000 and had no difficulty at all. I went from an easy state (ID) to a tougher state. I did have to do more time under a licensed LA before applying for reciprocity, but once I did that it was an application to the state (MA), some statements signed by LAs who knew me (form for them to fill out and sign as part of application), and an application fee.


    I don’t know if that is no longer the case. CLARB Council Record was around back then as well, but I looked at reciprocity requirements and saw nothing that I could not meet through direct application to the state.


    Has anyone seen a requirement for a CLARB record in order to get reciprocity in any state? I have not.


    I have never seen a Council Record mentioned in any job advertisement or anywhere else other than the CLARB website.


    I don’t know how hard it is to get reciprocity without CLARB certs, but it’s a breeze with it. I went from Ohio to New York and reciprocity took days. If I remember correctly I think it took me a little over 3 weeks to get registered. I filled out an abbreviated application, sent them the fee and requested my transcripts from my university and BOOM that was it. No additional time working under a RLA or anything.  Who has time for that? I worked with a person that went from Louisiana to New York who wasn’t certified and it took this LA forever to get registered. If I’m not mistaken I think it took over a year. This person had to go back and prove all of their work experience, get referrals and a letter from the state. When you get a certain age (as in my case) it can be difficult to go back and prove your work experience because the companies you worked for might not even exist anymore.

    I’m just about to begin the application process with Maryland and Virginia. I called the Maryland office for professional registration in March to find out how many of my previous employers or colleagues have to fill out this form called a RPE (Report of Professional Experience) that they were requesting. Needless to say I was not happy about having to go back to my old bosses (who are now my competitors) or former colleagues to ask them to fill out a report for me, especially since I didn’t have to jump through those hoops in New York. Then the state official asked me if I was CLARB certified and I told her yes. She said you don’t have to worry about the RPE forms, just send page 1 of your application and fee in, and have your school send us your transcripts. Then she said, but the only problem is the board doesn’t meet again until June. Then she said, “Oh, you don’t have to wait for the board to be in session, we can approve your application without them since you’re CLARB certified”. So membership has its privileges.

    I have seen jobs requesting CLARB certs, but not very many though. I imagine those are companies that do work in multi-state territories and want their staff registered in whatever state they are working in.

    If you get licensed in one state and don’t ever plan on leaving it, I wouldn’t bother with getting CLARB certified, but who knows what the future brings. As far as I’m concerned it just makes since for me to be certified. I do business (or at least I plan to) throughout the mid-Atlantic and I don’t have months to wait to get certified, nor do I want to be jumping through a bunch of hoops. So I guess I will continue to pay my $175 annual renewal fee until I’m registered in every state or I know that I won’t be moving ever again.


    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    The only reason I had to do more time under an LA is that the state that I was licensed in (ID) did not require any and Massachusetts required 2 years … which I was short on. Once I applied, it came through quickly, but it is a long time ago and I don’t remember exactly how much time.

    I can see that it would be worth $175 per year if you are looking to keep the option of quickly register in another state.

    temp impact

    Agreed. CLARB invented this crap by selling it as a way to keep records organized, including past employment. They sold it by saying things like, “If you were employed for 10 years with the same employer, and that employer dies, then CLARB will maintain proof that you worked for that employer.” As if we are a bunch of idiots that don’t know how to keep our own records… Or, it’s not like that information is all available on tax returns.

    People fail to realize that the only reason people have to register or pay for any of this is because CLARB says they must. Registration is a good thing. But the way CLARB goes about the process that’s all wrong.

    Let me open a non-profit and assign myself and all my Ivy League buddies as the heads of all the departments, and pay ourselves bloated salaries. Maybe we can throw some monies to the states to create a “license”. Then we can come up with the most convoluted and deceiving test possible. We can assign it a confusing grading scale that provides no feedback. Then we can charge for “practice material” and “study sessions” to teach something that all of these people learned at a 4-5 year university. Have the average candidate take the exam 3 times. Then “change”, even though the material is the same, lets reformat and discredit candidates. Then lets hide those candidates from each other and tease ‘um by telling them that there are “many others who are in your position (losing credit), but we are not obligated (and wont) to tell you who they are, for fear that a class action suit would be brought against us. Then once they finally pass we will keep records on these candidates and their work…?

    Genius idea. Completely morally and ethically corrupt.

    temp impact

    I truly appreciate the kind words of encouragement. You are correct. There are many unjust things in life. As the old saying goes “life is not fair”. Not that I think that all the time… I will finish. I will not get any money back. Money is the last thing that I wanted in return.

    What I had asked of CLARB and my Board was a chance to be heard, to show proof of my story (in front of their Boards). They rejected all of my requests.

    I requested that CLARB and the Board provide more notice.They refuse.

    For example, they knew before one year ahead of time that this restructuring would occur. They didn’t tell anyone because they knew if candidates hear they can lose money or credit then new candidates would wait until after the restructuring to register. Therefore CLARB would lose out on all of that money. They also knew that current candidates would desperately try to finish, they would make money on the exams, but lose the potential money gained from forcing candidates to retake certain sections.

    I requested that CLARB define the specifics(or potentials) of restructuring in the Candidate Handbook. They refuse.

    I requested that their be some kind of “grandfathering” for the 99 candidates in my exact position. Or that we be heard. They refused.

    I was missing D, that’s it. Whether you believe it or not (doesn’t matter to me) I never received communication from CLARB about the restructuring. The only forms of communication they used to communicate was email, Twitter, Facebook and their website. I have an email from them stating that THEY took me off their emailing list, I don’t have Facebook or Twitter. I took 1 of 2 available Section D during the transition and failed by 1 point. During the time of registration CLARB had nothing about the transition on their website. I couldn’t make the following Section D date, therefore the next Section D I could take was 1 year later (only 2 available per year). That was the year their “transition” occurred. Buy the time I went to register for the (year later) Section D I found out that the “transition” period was over.

    D was divided into 3&4. I requested that they let me take one Section as a equivalent. They refused.

    But, I am the reason they offered the $500 credit for the first December Exam (only). They offered this only to candidates in my position. So I took the opportunity. It was nice of them to give me $500 of my $5000 back…

    I move on. But, for the rest of my career, for the remainder of the meetings, alumni visits, ASLA events, etc. I (and the others) will tell this story.

    And until CLARB offers a “countdown clock until the next exam” on their website, candidates should know what can happen, because CLARB wont let them know. And if I were a professor right now or an employer. I would highly recommend to anyone who is considering getting their license, do it now. because in 2015-2016-2017 (sometime) this will happen all over again. And I wouldn’t want anyone that I cared about to have to got through this same bullshit (please excuse this one curse).

    This is how we are justified in saying that CLARB could care less about the profession and it’s people. ASLA too, since they refused to go public with these stories. They eclipsed my efforts too.

    But I will take your advice to heart. Thank you.


    I’ll also add that I graduated from an unaccredited BSLA program that no longer exists. No one from the State of New York even questioned my education and it was because I was CLARB certified.

    This is why I’m telling young LAs (who I image are as short sided as I was), to have CLARB maintain their records. Getting certified would have been so much easier for me if I would have let them maintain my records since day one. To get certified I had to track down my old bosses some of which were deceased or retired, prove my Continuing Education units were legitimate, get professional references, and have a letter from the State of Ohio drafted. It was a nightmare trying to prove you worked at a company that no longer existed because the owner had died. Can you imagine the head ache of retrieving all of this information for multiple states? 


    Craig…..some very good points here.  I’ve had some very similar circumstances throughout my LA career.

    At one time, I did hold a CLARB Certificate…….however, it was ONLY because,      I was getting multiple state LA licenses (believe I had 14 at one time).  Those licenses were necessary for me, as I had a major multi-family client who was developing nationwide & I was just following that developer to various states with my LA design services.

    However…..I am no longer designing outside of Texas.  So, personally, I see no valid reason to be “required” to pay CLARB a $175.00 fee per year.  And, I do not need a CLARB Certificate & don’t have one.  I think a vast majority of LA’s only practice in (1) state.  Oh yeah, now I get it….CLARB needs all those fees from ALL Registered LA’s……so they can pay their top executives unbelievable salaries……….I get it now.

    Yes, I am aware of the fact that CLARB is a “non-profit” organization…..but, I think that “concept” is a bit misleading.  When, say, 30%+ of a “non-profits” annual income goes towards executive’s salaries, benefits, etc…..just doesn’t seem right to me.

    But, you are right about the “convenience” of having a CLARB file…..and not having to dig up all of the information that is required for every State LA license you need.  So, yes, I can see where there are probably hundreds of LA’s who do need to have a CLARB Certificate.

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