The American Institute of Certified Planners is APA's professional institute and provides the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications. Certified planners pledge to uphold high standards of practice, ethics, and professional conduct, and to keep their skills sharp and up-to-date by continuously pursuing advanced professional education.
Value of Certification
The most recent APA/AICP Planners Salary Survey shows that certified planners earn more than noncertified planners, even when experience and responsibility are considered. It also opens more career opportunities, and can enhance a planner's professional credibility.
Planners with an AICP certification have the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, and mastery of essential skills required to serve communities effectively. Hiring a certified planner demonstrates your commitment to the highest standard of ethical practice.
"I'm an employer. I look for the AICP credential in our screening process to find the best and most qualified employees for our planning positions."
— Rodger Lentz, AICP; Director of Planning and Development Services, Wilson, North Carolina
5 Steps to Certification
Certified planners verify their academic and professional achievements by passing a rigorous, comprehensive examination. Learn about your eligibility, the application process, exam dates, registration, and preparation:
for AICP Members
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.
Certification Maintenance (CM) Providers are organizations approved by the AICP/APA to provide continuing education activities and events for CM credits to the 16,000 professional planners seeking professional development. Review our CM Provider Toolkit for details about this program.
Advanced Specialty Certification
AICP Advanced Specialty Certification recognizes certified planners for their in-depth knowledge, experience, and leadership skills in specialized areas of planning. The three advanced certifications are:
Election to Fellow is one of the highest honors that the American Institute of Certified Planners bestows upon a member. Fellowship is granted to planners who have been members of AICP and have achieved excellence in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research, public and community service, and leadership. Those chosen become members of the College of Fellows.
Ethics in Planning
The AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct helps AICP members negotiate tough ethical and moral dilemmas they sometimes face.
The Commissioners, elected by the members of AICP, are leaders of the profession, set standards for the practice of planning, maintain the code of ethics, advocate on behalf of the profession, and establish the qualifications for membership in the Institute.
AICP Candidate Pilot Program
Jumpstart your path to certification! The AICP Candidate Pilot Program offers qualified APA members the opportunity to take the AICP Certification Exam prior to earning professional planning experience.
Volunteer planning teams offer their time and expertise to people and places where additional resources are needed.