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AICP

AICP is the American Planning Association's professional institute, providing recognized leadership nationwide in the certification of professional planners, ethics, professional development, planning education, and the standards of planning practice. Certified planners use their skills to find solutions to community problems and carry the community toward its desired long-term goals. Taking the AICP exam is the first step to becoming a certified planner. To qualify, one must be a current APA member, submit an online application meeting certain education and experience criteria, and pass an examination. Individuals applying to take the AICP Certification exam must demonstrate that they have engaged in professional planning experience that qualifies them for AICP certification.
A complete description of the AICP process and requirements is found on the APA National website at: https://www.planning.org/aicp/

Considering AICP Certification?

So you have decided to be a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Congratulations! Taking the AICP exam is first step to become a certified planner. To qualify one must:

  • Be a current APA member; and
  • Submit an online application (must meet certain education and experience criteria); and
  • Pass the AICP examination.

Several combinations of education and experience may be qualifying. For example, a planner with a bachelor's degree from a PAB-accredited program may qualify with three years of professional experience. A planner with a graduate degree in Planning from a PAB-accredited program may qualify with two years of professional experience. Other academic disciplines and professional experience may also be qualifying.


The application process also requires you to provide written responses to four qualifying criteria in terms of your professional planning experience. Letters from supervisors are required to verify your experience. It is critical all potential candidates read the Exam Candidate Bulletin for a complete orientation to the exam. AICP certification carries a high mark of distinction for good reason. After certification AICP members are required to abide by the Code of Ethics at all times, serve community interests, and participate in continuing education.

Scholarships for reduced examination fees 

If you are uncertain whether you meet the requirements to qualify for the exam, you are strongly encouraged to apply by the Early Bird deadline. APA National will give you feedback on your application if you do not qualify, and this may give you a chance to revise your application and resubmit again for the same testing window.

Financial Assistance
APA National recognizes that a $495 application fee may be an obstacle to some members who wish to apply to take the exam. On behalf of National, the California Chapter administers a scholarship program which evaluates members’ financial assistance needs through a confidential process.
Please visit APA California to find the AICP Exam Scholarship Application or click here. We encourage you to pursue this scholarship if any of the criteria in the application apply to you.

AICP Eam Preparation Workshops 

Your Central Coast Section Professional Development Officer will meet you in small groups or one-on-one free of charge to help you prepare for the AICP exam.  AICP Preparation workshop topics include:

  • Benefits of AICP
  • Requirements and Eligibility
  • How to Apply
  • Fees
  • Study Tips
  • Exam Preparation Resources
  • Taking the Exam
  • Exam Scoring

Email Lilly Rudolph at lrudolph (at) rinconconsultants.com to set up an appointment.

AICP Certification Maintenance (CM) Program
Did you attend the national or state conference? Have you attended any local training sessions or utilized a free online course? Don't forget to log in your CM credits. Find free or low cost APA California Chapter continuting education credits here. For other location please visit the APA Activities by Provider database.

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