In Oregon there exists a secret society that has all but trademarked a common word and all it's iterations. The only way you can claim to be an architect, do architectural drawings, or practice architecture is to be a 4-year schooled and trained, passed the exam, and certified professional. The idea is to protect the public from folks who do the same thing but are not board certified architects.
I suppose this is rather smart as it would be akin to separating attorneys from legal professionals. However it seems the public is not so trained in the difference. To the general public, anyone who designs a house is an architect. Time and again we have been referred to as architects, asked if we do architectural work, or had our work referred to as architecture. While we are flattered, please be aware that we are not trained or certified as architects per se. However, the State of Oregon cannot keep other individuals from drawing houses and submitting them for permits. (Nevada, however, can and does).
So to be clear, we are not architects. What are we then? We have always referred to ourselves as design professionals. What's the difference? We have training and experience, but we are not certified by a board. We are limited to designing homes of a particular size, but this has been a threshold higher than we care to reach. The main difference is that we cost way less.
If you are looking for a custom designed 8,000sf house, please contract the services of an architect. If you are looking for a cute little stock plan for an 1800sf home, look no further than Istockhouseplans. We have a diverse portfolio of homes and would be happy to help you with your next project.