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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    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    There are reasons to do it and reasons not to. I don’t think anyone is telling anyone else what they should or should not do. The whole idea of discussion is to share our experiences and let people make their own decisions for themselves.


    I think Craig is not only saying that it keeps the record for him, but he gave a great example of his personal experience where he saved weeks in getting reciprocity because he did not need to wait for the board to convene … whether he keeps good records or not.


    I’m not going to get a CLARB record because most of what I do does not require an LA license, even in Practice Act states. I don’t think that waiting a month or two for the process to work its course will matter to me if I move to another state. Most Practice Acts pretty much say that only an LA can do x, y, or z with the exception that everyone else can as well. If I dealt with more municipal projects or some other type where a licensed LA is required by law or by developers of such projects I would consider it.

    Jason T. Radice

    While I agree a council record is very handy to have, it is just too expensive for the average LA to keep. When you add in the fees for the license, the application for the license, ASLA, etc. They charge BOTH to keep the record, AND to actually use it! In this day and age where mass data storage is cheap and simple, there is no good reason why it should cost anywhere near that much to keep a few files on a hard drive. I can understand paying to use the info, as someone has to physically access the record and transmit it, but don’t charge confiscatory for both. It should be a cheap service for the LA community. We just don’t get paid enough.  

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Is there a reason that another organization can’t be put together to serve the same purpose as the Council Record??


    Excellent point Jason, it is extremely expensive for a struggling start-up outfit in a down economy. When I moved to metro-NYC I thought I was going to put an end to my nomadic LA lifestyle. Especially once I went out on my own, but then came the Great Recession/Depression and I had to rethink my game plan.

    Things had gotten so bad in NY that LAs were doing design work for wages. I gave proposals to people with $3 million homes that wanted discounts on design fees and I refuse to lower my fee one penny. Fortunately there are people who are still willing to pay a decent fee for design services, but there are just so many in a geographical area.  So now I’m in your neck of the woods trying to get registered in Maryland and Virginia, while my projects that pay the bills are in NY. Needless to say I spend a lot of time on the NJ Turnpike.

    The painful part is I let my CLARB cert lapse because I thought I was going to work exclusively in NY for the remainder of my career. So when I decided to expand into VA and MD I actually was going to get registered without CLARB, but after seeing the application and all of the Reports of Professional Experience (RPE) and Experience Verification forms for both states along with the other hoops, I just couldn’t see myself going through the time and the hassle again. So I sent CLARB another check to be reactivated. The reactivation fee can be between $250 and $750 depending on how long the lapse has been. Here’s the kicker after paying to be reactivated I need to send them another $215 for each state to get them to transmit my records. The fee for comity in VA: $125 and reciprocity in MD: $118. Sometimes I have to laugh to keep from crying. The only thing that keeps me sane is the fact that all I need is to sell one small job to recover all of these costs.   

    Thanks for letting me vent. 


    Thanks Andrew, I appreciate you breaking it down for some folks.

    I’ll go ever further by saying that it’s not about keeping good records. I keep meticulous records. If it were as simple as keeping good records we would all be finished with CLARB once we got registered. But the problem each state has their own applications with their own verification of experience and professional reference forms. How it works (at least in the states I’ve dealt with) the applicant send a partially completed form to the former employer or RLA that they want a professional reference or proof of experience from, they fill out their section and they are then required to send it directly to the state or they can send it to the applicant in a sealed envelope with the endorsers signature across the flap. The applicant never gets to even see the completed form unless the persons giving the reference are kind enough to send you a copy. So if someone thinks that there are these universal reference and experience verification forms that one keeps in their records and just prints them out and sends them to any state in which they are applying for reciprocity, they better think again. The forms I used to get reciprocity in NY aren’t going to do me any good in MD and VA, even if I actually ever possessed them.

    Please see attached.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I now recall having to get two LAs to send something to me in a sealed envelope that I had to send in with my application to the state. That was a bit awkward and it would be more awkward 10 or 20 years later … if they still existed.


    It can be quite awkward. I actually had to go to an old boss whom I had won a design job over for a visitor’s center for experience verification. He was a good sport about it because I helped him work through my unfinished projects that I was managing long after I had left the company.

    I just hope that some of the young professionals now understand that they would be wise to look at life beyond being a LARE Candidate. 

    temp impact

    That’s an idea. But, from what I gather, the problem is that CLARB will never allow another organization provide the same service. CLARB is the end-all be-all.

    Tosh K

    Maybe, but aren’t they all members of the licensure boards of 48 states plus few other jurisdictions?  Shouldn’t that tell us something?  And they do get a fair amount of volunteer time to help cover some of the costs.

    In my experience they’ve been fine – I chose to take the ABCDE format in the last cycle it was offered, fully understanding the risks (from mailers, the website, and the CLARB reps on the phone – they suggested against it, but I figured the risk gave me incentive to pass); took ABD one week and then took the C+E 6 mths after that.  As I recall passing A or B counted as 1 or 2, so 0 risk there.  The tougher one was to get by D+C and D+E.  Cost of exams was under $2k, and thankfully the exam locations were within a 2 hrs driving distance, though I did burn a couple of vacation days to take them.

    CLARB helped keep all my records in one place (letters of recommendation, transcripts, exam scores) and was a breeze to get registered.  Mine’s expired at the moment, but I figured a couple hours of billable time to keep record active each year is worth a potential need for reciprocity in the future.


    Now getting back to you temp. I was really going to blow you off because I was tired of trying to get someone who had already made up their mind on something to step back and look at things from a different angle. But then I realized that this thread isn’t about you (or me for that matter); it should be about putting out thoughtful information and letting others make up their own mind.

    Just to clarify things, I was never talking about LARE Candidates being CLARB certified and I think I made that pretty clear. I’m so far removed from the LARE Exam process I would be a fool to debate you on the subject, but after 24 years in the business I do have a little knowledge on the issues that affect RLAs.

    I think where things went south is when I said that you have a lot to learn and that you haven’t even passed the friggin’ exam yet, but let’s be honest here. Is this not the truth? I understand you being a little sensitive about things. Perhaps if I were in your shoes right now I’d be a little touchy as well. So I will overlook your strange attempt to “lighten” up things with your reference to my “Momma” and I will apologize for being a little harsh in my delivery of the truth. I’m still working on how to write in a sweeter manner, but it’s still a work in progress.  

    “You talk about fighting CLARB. I never mentioned fighting CLARB. I am saddened by this situation, not angry.”

    I have to admit I do find sadness alone is a rather odd emotion for someone who just lost a ton of time and got beat for 5 grand to top things off. I can’t tell you how to feel, but if it were me I’d be a little pissed. And that’s an emotion that I would harness to put up a limited fight against CLARB and to study with a renewed purpose to pass the LARE.

    As I stated before, ten years down the road your time spent as a LARE Candidate will probably start to become a little hazy. Once you start clocking the big bucks you might not even remember just how much CLARB sucks as you send them your check for your annual renewal.

    Best of luck to you and I mean that. 

    Jason T. Radice

    Wow. Usually don’t see spam on here.


    Dear Temp Impact,

    Where do I begin?

    When notification of the exam transition came out last summer , I was a little taken aback at

    1) The short notice and

    2) how Section D was assimilated into the new Sections 3 and 4.

    And then as I looked into it closer and realized that I could potentially lose credit for tests I have already PAID for and PASSED. I was outraged. CLARB expertly dodged all of my questions and aggravations  as well, on Facebook, and from my direct emails. I, as well as some other colleagues contacted our local ASLA president, who basically saw nothing wrong with this (which tells me he must be associated with CLARB somehow; what the hell?). I also contacted my state board (Texas) who said they could do nothing, as CLARB is its own entity. Scary.

    Long story short, I got nowhere. Due to my state’s rolling clock deadline, I now have only 2 more chances to take and pass Section 4 (Grading / Drainage), and it also includes the old section D (Construction Materials & Methods), which I took and passed in 2008. But of course, now I will basically be taking –AND PAYING FOR– that section again. I can’t overstate how angry that makes me. When I signed up for that test, NOWHERE did it ever say that I could potentially lose credit for it, because CLARB could change things at their own whim. You have basically summed it up perfectly: there is zero accountability here.

    To Anthony – I know it’s “hard to believe”.. but trust me, and others on here.. CLARB has and IS taking credit away from people. I’m about to spend $500 in the next couple of days to take Section 4 ( I took it as Section E two years ago and failed). I just have to muster up the courage and balls to pay CLARB  this huge amount of money without throwing up. If I could help it, I would never give CLARB another dime. But guess WHAT?? They’ve got me by the balls. B/c I need to be licensed. Or the last 15 years of my working life are a waste, and I’ll need to find another career. Thanks CLARB.  Oh and not to mention the $150 I have to pay to reinstate my CLARB record. Don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness and meaninglessness of a “CLARB Record”  What a joke.

    I could on and on. I will be a part of any petition, protest.. anything to make this madness end.


    MLCC you’re preaching to the choir. If you would read my previous post, you might develop a different point of view. But I realize it can be hard to see beyond ones nose when in the thick of things.

    No I don’t find it hard to believe that CLARB is taking credit away from people. Do you really think that your class of LARE Candidates are the first ones to take a reaming?

    I offer you the same advice that seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. 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. They know you’re already too deep into it to turn back now.


    To MLCC…….if there is any way I might be able to be of help to you on the SECTION 4 of the L.A.R.E. exam……I’d be happy to help – if I can.  I’m not familiar with the L.A.R.E. exam….like you are.  When I took the exam many years ago, it was call the U.N.E……a lot has changed.

    However, the basics of Landscape Architecture, I believe, still apply.

    Hey, noticed you’re an AGGIE (like me)…….regardless, I would like to see you PASS the L.A.R.E. and get those expenses behind you.

    I recently mentored an LA University Grad on the East Coast…….he just needed to pass the “Grading Design” portion of the the L.A.R.E. exam.  I worked with him….and got him up to speed on the “process”…..and he was then easily able to PASS the L.A.R.E…..and is now an RLA in (2) different states.

    Let me know, OK?

    Best Regards,

    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner – Plano, Tx.


    Dear J. Robert,


    First of all, I’m from Plano! Grew up there, and graduated from PSHS in ’88. (Now I live and work in Houston).

    Secondly, your message is so wonderful and sweet, I already feel hopeful!!  This is such a generous and great offer.. absolutely I would love for you to mentor me, I would be so grateful.

    So logistically, how did you do with the east coast guy? Did you just do it long distance/ email / phone/ etc?

    It’s especially generous for you to offer because in my post I sound like a miserable, bitter person, and I’m not! I’m a happy 43 year old, have a great job, married and two beautiful young  kids. 🙂 I just get full of anxiety when I realize that I’ve got 2 more shots to fully pass and become licensed, and so if I don’t, what will I do long term? Will my LA degree be a waste.? Will my career be a waste, etc…. It’s very unnerving. And then when you factor in the costs.. well… it just becomes overwhelming, and you can see why someone would lose it. So, thanks for already talking me of the ledge, lol.

    So…… how shall we do this? Would you rather chat thru  email/ phone? I look forward to talking with you

    Thanks again Bob! 🙂

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