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What does the AIA do for me? 

What does the AIA do for me? It’s a question that’s likely crossed the minds of many, tracing back to the inception of our organization. 

The AIA is

a Community to Belong To

Surveys consistently reveal that the most valued member benefit is the mere presence of the AIA—a community to belong to. Being part of the AIA signifies a commitment to a higher standard, distinguishing oneself from peers by adhering to a code of ethics, and pursuing continuing education beyond the basic requirements. This distinction is embodied in the initials following your name, recognized and esteemed by the industry, clients, and the public. It’s a legacy built over 167 years, unmatched in scope of service and breadth of impact. With humility, we assert that no other organization can rival our contributions.

The AIA is

Networking and Professional Development

The second most cited benefit is networking and professional development. Colorado, with its vast and stunning landscapes, presents both beauty and challenges in staying connected across distances and recognizing the built environment’s significance alongside the natural one. Understanding this, we provide a space for like-minded professionals to come together, bridging geographical divides and sharing experiences from the trenches.

During the pandemic, rather than retreating, our organization rose to the occasion. We emerged as one of the top chapter providers of continuing education in the nation. In response, our members actively participated in AIA Colorado events, recording more hours than ever before. Our Practice and Design Conference stands as a premier architecture event, consistently earning high praise. Distinguished jurors eagerly anticipate the opportunity to witness firsthand the innovative work showcased through our design awards.

Throughout the state, tours and social gatherings facilitate knowledge exchange and networking opportunities. From code classes to technical symposiums, from technology deep dives to risk management awareness sessions, we equip our industry professionals with the tools to navigate evolving landscapes. Our mentoring programs ensure a continuum of leadership across all career stages, fostering growth and development.

Volunteers drive our various initiatives, channeling their passion into meaningful contributions. We strive to cultivate a culture of inclusivity, offering avenues for engagement. If you don’t find what you’re seeking, we encourage and support new ideas, ensuring that everyone finds their place within our community.

The AIA is

Advocacy and Engagement

Thirdly, advocacy stands as a cornerstone of our organization. Embedded in our very DNA is the fundamental right to assemble and petition the government, as enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Lobbying on behalf of our profession is among our greatest responsibilities, and one we embrace without hesitation.

Of paramount importance is the ongoing renewal of the Architecture Practice Act currently underway in this 2024 legislative session. Allowing this law to sunset would abolish state regulation, permitting anyone to lay claim to the title of architect. Year after year, we diligently advocate for sound policies that safeguard our profession.

In 2021, we successfully eliminated the bureaucratically burdensome DORA form and secured a position for an architect on the State Energy Benchmarking Task Force. The previous year, we thwarted attempts by interior designers to encroach upon architecture services and safeguarded liability protections in design contracts. Building upon our successes, in 2022, we secured architect representation on both the Energy Code Advisory Board and the Crime Prevention through Safer Streets Grant Review Board. In 2023, we ensured architect inclusion on the Wildfire Resiliency Code Board.

Remaining vigilant, we monitor the evolving building code landscape and legislative agendas, addressing pressing issues such as housing, land use, and joining broader coalitions to combat rising costs of doing business, including liability exposure and escalating insurance premiums.

These aspects are the essential requirements for operating a firm in this state, and we are steadfast in our commitment to advocate for our members, fueled by their unwavering support. Every member’s participation strengthens our collective voice, amplifying our influence.

The AIA is

Keeping You In the Know

Utilizing the AIA transcript for credit recording, with accessibility for multi-state license renewal, proves to be an invaluable time-saving resource. The comprehensive array of vetted programs and content providers, alongside a searchable, personalized database of earned credits housed within a single platform, is unparalleled and irreplaceable outside of AIA membership. The potential loss of access to this repository alone underscores why it ranks as the fourth most cited member benefit.

The AIA is

Keeping Track of Your Business

Further down the list but still notable are our contract documents, career center, and compensation reports. With over a century of legal precedent, our members benefit from extensive protection well beyond the discounted price of these documents. Additionally, our job board and salary data remain indispensable resources for both job seekers and employers seeking talent within our industry.

The AIA is


While there are more benefits to delve into, the overarching message is clear. For the third consecutive year, we are repeatedly reaching an all-time high in membership numbers.

However, we acknowledge that some may choose not to renew their membership—it’s the nature of a voluntary organization. Ultimately, the decision lies with you, and if the AIA doesn’t align with the value you seek, there’s no harm done. We’ll be disappointed to see you go but remain open to welcoming you back should you choose to return. Members like you are the heart of our organization, but we recognize that membership isn’t for everyone, especially in every season of life. Like any family, disagreements may arise, but it’s this diversity of perspectives that strengthens us as a collective.

The AIA is

Working With You

For those embarking on this journey with us, there are both obligations and aspirations. We must fulfill the essential functions of an association empowered by its members to advocate for the architecture profession—protecting, connecting, promoting, and equipping those within our ranks. Moreover, we aspire to drive change in areas where society needs architects the most, embodying the Vitruvian virtues of “commodity, firmness, and delight,” alongside environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and fostering a sense of belonging. Our efforts in these areas complement, rather than replace, our foundational principles, ensuring we remain proactive and relevant.

© AIA Colorado 2024
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