Experts Talk about the AICP CEP Credential

Ralph Willmer, FAICP

Ralph WillmerRalph Willmer is Senior Planning and Project Manager with Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin, Inc., in Watertown, Massachusetts. He participated in the development of the AICP Certified Environmental Planner examination.

APA: Who has the most to gain from earning the AICP CEP credential?
Willmer: This credential fills a definitive need for mid- and senior-level planners whose careers combine environmental issues with land-use and regional planning.

"The AICP CEP credential fills a definitive need for mid- and senior-level planners."


APA: What impresses you most about the exam?
Willmer: The AICP CEP exam is thorough. It requires environmental planners to draw not only on their knowledge but also on their experience and familiarity with natural systems, performance measures, best practices, and comprehensive planning. 

APA: Why take the exam in 2011?
Willmer: If you are eligible, I recommend you take the qualifying exam this year. Environmental planning is growing and expanding since communities need to prepare plans that simultaneously address climate change, environmental protection, and sustainability, along with redevelopment and growth issues.

APA: Why should a planner earn the AICP CEP credential?
Willmer: Unlike other certificates, this AICP specialty credential integrates environmental planning with comprehensive planning. This is critical since land-use and environmental issues are interconnected now more than ever.

Karen Wolf, AICP

Karen Wolf, AICPKaren Wolf is Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget in King County, Washington. She participated in development of the AICP Certified Environmental Planner examination.

APA: How will this new credential distinguish the planners who earn it?
Wolf: Those receiving their AICP CEP must pass a rigorous exam and back up their expertise with years of experience. For environmental planners, no other certificate is comparable or better shows your qualifications to employers.

APA: In your opinion, what is the key aspect of the AICP CEP credential?
Wolf: Environmental planners constantly face challenges involving tradeoffs among growth, development, and environmental protection. The AICP CEP credential emphasizes the importance of solutions that are comprehensive, sustainable, and long term.

"For environmental planners, no other certificate is comparable."


APA: What qualifications that are unique to environmental planning does this credential affirm?
Wolf: The AICP CEP credential recognizes the role environmental planners play bridging the gap between science and planning, working in both of these disciplines to find ways to accommodate growth while also protecting the environment.

APA: Why should a planner earn the AICP CEP credential?
Wolf: The AICP CEP credential is unique and definitely distinguishes those who receive it as advanced environmental planners.

Tom Daniels

Whit Blanton, AICPTom Daniels is Director of the Certificate in Land Preservation Program and City and Regional Planning Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He participated in development of the AICP Certified Environmental Planner examination.

APA: How was the AICP CEP exam developed?
Daniels: Well, it wasn't done quickly. APA collaborated with a nationally recognized firm to produce an advanced exam that is rigorous and thorough, covering all major areas of the environmental planning field.

"The AICP CEP mark is an independent verification of an environmental planner's advanced experience, knowledge, and qualifications."


APA: Why is environmental planning a good candidate for advanced specialty certification?
Daniels: What really affects the environment are a community's day-to-day decisions. Striking a balance between growth, development, and protecting the environment, and incorporating environmental concerns into the comprehensive planning process, is the approach AICP takes with the CEP credential.

APA: Will this new credential add value to agencies and firms that employ planners who earn it?
Daniels: I think so. Employers will benefit because the AICP CEP mark is an independent verification of an environmental planner's advanced experience, knowledge, and qualifications.

APA: Why should a planner earn the AICP CEP credential?
Daniels: For one thing, credibility is important. Earning this designation will validate the environmental planner's qualifications and experience. It also can help environmental planners succeed in today's much more competitive and difficult job market.

Nancy J. McKeever

Nancy McKeeverNancy J. McKeever is an Air Pollution Specialist in the Office of Climate Change of the California Air Resources Board. She participated in development of the AICP Certified Environmental Planner examination.

APA: Why offer an advanced certification in environmental planning now?
McKeever: Climate-related issues are exploding now — especially in California. Earning your AICP CEP credential is especially timely as cities, counties, and states use planning to find integrated ways to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change. 

APA: Does AICP CEP emphasize some aspects of environmental planning more than others?
McKeever: Not really. AICP CEP approaches environmental planning comprehensively. Environmental planners need a foot in every camp because climate and environmental questions are interrelated with land-use, transportation, economic, and policy issues.

"The AICP CEP credential tells employers you are a well qualified environmental planner and leader."


APA: What extras do AICP CEP credentialed planners bring to a project?
McKeever: Environmental planners work with many different subject experts and interdisciplinary teams. They need to be leaders who can think across and bridge many disciplines. Planners who obtain the AICP CEP credential show they have these skills and abilities.

APA: Why should a planner earn the AICP CEP credential?
McKeever: The AICP CEP credential can definitely make your resume pop out. It tells employers you are a well qualified environmental planner and leader.