Indiana State University Newsroom

Interior design professor receives architectural license

May 14, 2013

A copy of the architectural license that Azizi Arrington-Bey received earlier this spring rests on the wall at her uncle's house. He never garnered his own architectural license, in part indicating how difficult the series of exams can be.

It's also indicative of the NASA retiree's excitement for his niece to enter an elite group.

Arrington-Bey, Indiana State assistant professor of interior design, this spring passed the final of the seven-test exam to receive her architectural license. She is one of fewer than 300 African American women in the nation to hold such a licensure, said Mary Sterling, associate professor in the built environment department in Indiana State's College of Technology. Arrington-Bey needed to pass the final of the seven-part exam to earn her licensure.

"It's pretty exciting. I've always wanted to be a licensed architect since I was little," Arrington-Bey said. "My uncle, he is not a licensed architect, but he went to school for architecture and he worked at NASA as an architect. I pretty much wanted to do it forever, and he never passed all of his tests, so this is pretty exciting for him also."

With her licensure, Arrington-Bey is able to sign and seal her drawings, which can then be constructed. While others can draft blueprints, only licensed architects can sign and seal them, which are required for them to be used to construct buildings.

"To have one of our full-time faculty members be a licensed architect is very prestigious," Sterling said. "While we are not educating architects, to have a licensed architect teaching in the program is most unique. I consider us to be fortunate indeed to have Professor Arrington-Bey on staff as one of our faculty members."

Arrington-Bey's architecture background and experience can also lead her to teaching classes that would appeal to students outside of the interior design program.

"The built environment department is trying to have a multidisciplinary level of faculty who can be involved in many different aspects of the built environment, which is monumental," English said. "This is something that we're very proud of, not only just for Azizi earning her architectural license, which was very good, but the way she's worked out."

Arrington-Bey needed to do more than simply pass an exam. The Indiana State professor also fulfilled experience hours in four categories totaling a minimum of 5,600 hours, while working as a project manager under a licensed architect, which is needed before she could even take the various sections of the exam.

Arrington-Bey earned her architectural license in Florida. While the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards administers the same test and internship guidelines nationwide, individual states maintain their own criterion for licensure, Arrington-Bey said.

She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Florida, and she is originally from Ohio. She chose to get her license in Florida, as the state has more stringent requirements than Indiana or Ohio, so she would not have to take any additional tests to practice architecture in either Midwestern state, she said.

Arrington-Bey is excited about the new opportunities that will be available not only to her, but to Indiana State students as well.

"When I went to school, there were a couple professors who had their own practice on the side, but they were still teaching," Arrington-Bey said, "and that always opens up opportunities for the students, in terms of being involved in different projects and internship opportunities."

Photo: (ISU/Tony Campbell)Azizi Arrington-Bey (right), assistant professor of interior design at Indiana State University, works with a student in an interior design classroom.

Media Contact and Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or