AICP Candidate Pilot Program

Paths to AICP

The AICP Candidate Pilot Program provides you with a path to start earlier — the criteria to become AICP are the same.

AICP Candidate Paths to AICP Certification

Put Your Career On the Fast Track

Distinguish yourself from your peers through the AICP Candidate Pilot Program. Demonstrate to potential employers a commitment to mastering planning skills and maintaining the highest standard of ethical practice.

About the AICP Candidate Pilot Program

  • Students and graduates of PAB accredited programs can:
    • Enroll in the program at any time
    • Register for the AICP Certification Exam starting in December or June after you graduate
    • Use the payment program for exam fees
    • Take the exam prior to earning professional planning experience

Realize the Career Advancement Benefits

  • Get a head start — Take the exam after earning your degree
  • Distinguish yourself — Use the AICP Candidate designation after passing the exam
  • Learn from the best — Get career advice and guidance from an AICP mentor
  • Make connections — Network with the planning community at local and national events
  • Lead the profession — Stand out as an AICP Certified Planner

AICP Candidate Pilot Program Details

Step One: Enroll in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program | $35

Qualified APA members may enroll in the program at any time during the year by:

  • Submitting education verification documents (graduates submit documents upon enrolling; students submit documentation after graduation);
  • Committing to the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct;
  • Paying a $35 fee; and
  • Beginning to track Certification Maintenance credits — 16 CM credits must be completed and tracked before applying for certification.

APA will verify program enrollment for graduate participants no later than four weeks after an enrollee completes these steps. Accepted enrollees are encouraged to review these exam prep tips. They also may begin earning Certification Maintenance credits and select mentors.

IMPORTANT: Although eligible members may enroll in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program at any time, since graduation is required to register for the exam, when you enroll may affect when you can take the AICP Certification Exam. Members who join the program as graduates must enroll by a deadline set for each exam cycle. Specific dates are posted below.

Program Enrollment for November 2021 Exam April 1 at 3:00 p.m. CT – October 4, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. CT
Program Enrollment for future exams Anytime

Enroll in the Program           Update Graduation Status


Step Two: Take the AICP Certification Exam and Become an AICP Candidate | $100

Requirements for Step Two depend on whether the AICP Candidate Pilot Program participant was a student or a graduate at the time he or she enrolled in the program.

Program participants must graduate to register for the exam. It could take APA up to four weeks to examine graduation verification documents. Participants should refer to the specific deadlines shown below.

Registering for the exam:

  1. Register for the exam by paying a $100 exam fee in December–April (for the May exam) or in June–October (for the November exam);
  2. Submit graduation verification documents (if applicable);
  3. Schedule an exam date with Prometric up to two days before the exam administration opens; and
  4. Review additional details about registering for the exam in the AICP Candidate Program Guide.

Exam Registration

November 2021 AICP Certification Exam Application Dates

Exam Registration Opens June 1, 2021, 9:00 a.m. CT
Exam Registration Closes October 29, 2021, 3:00 p.m. CT
Transfer Deadline October 29, 2021, 3:00 p.m. CT
Testing Window November 1-26, 2021


Program participants who have passed the AICP Certification Exam are eligible to submit their professional planning experience confirming they meet the experience requirements.

You will be required to enter professional planning employment information for each position needed to meet the experience requirements. A formal employment verification letter is no longer required. You will instead self-verify your experience.

Your submitted experience will be reviewed and you will be able to proceed to the next step after approved. Please allow up to 4 weeks to receive notice of your status.

Professional Planning Experience can be submitted at any time. However, for those intending to submit essays, the deadline is July 28, 2021.

Submit Professional Planning Experience

Step Four: Submit Planning Experience Essays/Expediated Essay Review | $375/$445

After your planning experience has been approved and you have tracked 16 CM credits, including 1.5 Ethics and 1.5 Law, you can submit your planning experience essays.

Planning experience essays demonstrate how the employment experience submitted meets the established criteria that define professional planning. Please use planning examples from only positions you included in your AICP application. Essays using examples from employment positions not included in your application will be denied. The essay review process is very thorough so please allow 8 weeks from submission to receive notice of your status.

Review the detailed essay guidance in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program Guide before writing your essays.

You will be invoiced for AICP initial dues after your essays are approved. AICP Certification will officially begin upon payment of these dues.

July 2021 AICP Certification Exam Essay Submissions

Expedited Essay Review Opens July 12, 2021, 9:00 a.m. CT
Expedited Essay Review Closes July 19, 2021, 3:00 p.m. CT
Regular Essay Opens July 19, 2021, 3:00 p.m. CT
Regular Essay Closes July 30, 2021 at 3:00pm CT

AICP Candidate Pilot Program Overview

AICP Candidate Pilot Program Fees

Program Fees
Step One: AICP Candidate Enrollment Fee $35
Step Two: AICP Candidate Exam Registration Fee $100
Step Three: AICP Candidate Work Experience $0
Step Four: AICP Candidate Essay Fee/Expediated Essay Review Fee $375/$445
**All fees are non-refundable.


For complete details, including enrolling in the program, signing up for a mentor, and registering for and taking the AICP Certification Exam, download the AICP Candidate Pilot Program Guide.

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