What Is Certification Maintenance?
All professional planners who are members of APA's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), must engage in mandatory continuing education to maintain their certification.
The Certification Maintenance (CM) program links certified planners to training opportunities that keep them up to date on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. It also strengthens the value of certification, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to excellence to elected officials, community leaders, and employers.
AICP members must earn a total of 32 CM credits (1 contact hour = 1 CM credit) within their two-year reporting period. All AICP members have a four month-grace period, without penalty (reinstatement requirements waived during this period). During the four-month grace period, members are able to continue to earn and log credits to fulfill their reporting period through April 30.
A minimum of 1.5 CM credits must include the topic of ethics, and another 1.5 credits must be on the topic of current planning law. AICP members may carry over a maximum of 16 CM credits from one reporting period into the subsequent reporting period; however, any surplus ethics and planning law credits will be carried over to the next two-year reporting period as general CM credits, not law or ethics.
AICP members who do not meet CM requirements within four years will lose AICP certification and will be obliged to seek recertification in order to regain the AICP credential.
All professional development activities must be submitted for CM credit review by the provider and approved for CM credit to be eligible. AICP members must claim CM credit after participation by using their online CM log. The list of registered events is growing every day, so please bookmark the CM Activities webpage, and check back to see whether an event you attended has been added.
The CM requirement took effect January 1, 2008, following approval at an April 13, 2007, meeting of the AICP Commission. The vote affirmed a central principle of AICP membership: the importance of remaining current in the practice of planning and demonstrating professional credibility through continuing education.
CM was the result of several years of discussion among the Commission, APA chapter and division leaders, and members. Two draft proposals were posted for member comments. A month-long comment period began on December 6, 2006, and a second began on February 21, 2007.
The AICP Commission conducted four in-person working sessions over the course of 10 months to deliberate over the details of CM. Those sessions were held in July 2006, November 2006, January 2007, and April 2007. In addition, the Commission held several conference calls to discuss CM.
The participation of AICP members in the development of the CM program is a testament to the value members place on knowledge and expertise. Member comments — APA received more than 2,000 — were invaluable in shaping the program.
The Commission also studied the certification maintenance standards of other professional organizations.
APA received expert legal counsel on the second CM draft and with respect to comments received from members and professional development providers.