CM Eligibility Requirements

When you register, we ask how your activity meets our criteria for the content, delivery, and administration of events. We will base our reviews on the information you provide.

When asked to describe the event or activity (for multi-part events) please consider the following questions:

  1. How will the event offer a professionally relevant learning experience for a planner (e.g., for a planner at least four years beyond earning a two-year master's degree)?
  2. How does this event meet a specific-planning related training objective?
  3. What are the specific training objectives? What do you want attendees to learn from this event?

Law and Ethics Credits Criteria

Providers seeking ethics or law credit must justify that their event(s):


Activities submitted for CM ethics credit must focus on training planners on the standards of ethical behavior according to the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. While general ethics courses, local ethics laws, and ethics codes from other professions can introduce relevant issues as well, the AICP Code focuses on a system of moral principles specific to professional planners. This may be accomplished using a variety of formats and techniques, including those presented in the APA Ethics Toolkit.

As a rule of thumb, ethics sessions should elicit self-reflection from participants and prompt them to consider how they might react to a situation or scenario. Ethics scenarios are rarely "cut and dried," and the most effective ethics sessions challenge participants to view a situation from a variety of perspectives, taking into consideration several variables.

Because the Certification Maintenance program requires 1.5 credits of ethics per reporting period, when planning ethics session, consider offerings of at least 90 minutes. This consideration would be appreciated by AICP attendees, so that one session is all that is needed to meet the requirement.

If an ethics session includes breakout groups, to receive CM ethics credit, each breakout group must be facilitated by a presenter experienced with the code who is prepared to guide the group and speak authoritatively on the topic of ethics. Group size should remain relatively small, and therefore, facilitated breakout sessions may be difficult to conduct in very large groups. Given logistics, a session that includes breakout groups must subtract 15 minutes from the length of the session in calculating the CM credit. For example, in order for a session that includes breakout groups to deliver 1.5 CM credits, the session must last 105 minutes.

A session can qualify even if it focuses on aspirational principles (or other parts of code) rather than rules of conduct. Ethics sessions are not required to cover the code comprehensively (and probably shouldn’t try, unless they are a longer format) but should focus on some aspects of it and get into more depth.

To what extent does a session have to deal with specifically planning issues to qualify? It should have a significant focus on relevant examples of ethical behavior, based on the principles described in the Code of Ethics. Ethics training for elected or appointed officials is not eligible for CM credit.

Organizers should use the Ethics in Planning: A Toolkit for Conducting Ethics Sessions as a reference to craft a training that best meets the size, goals and learning styles of their audience.


Demonstrate that the content of the activity is related to planning law, such as environmental law, land use law, redevelopment law, administrative law, housing law, etc. Activities seeking law credit CM approval must be closely related to recently enacted planning laws or recent case decisions or trends in existing planning laws or case decisions. Please note that activities related to local-level regulations, policies and ordinances (including zoning), political movements, policy recommendations, and policy initiatives are not eligible for law credit. Training on law must constitute a majority of the content of the activity.

Standards of Delivery and Administration

Events must also meet standards of delivery and administration. Events qualifying for CM credit:

  • Are led by one or more subject matter experts. An expert is defined by APA as a professional who has made a contribution to the profession through practice, teaching, research, or publications; completed works that proclaim individuality and mastery of the principles of planning taught; and whose work demonstrates outstanding quality and professionalism.
  • Use learning methodologies and formats that are appropriate to the event's educational purpose or objectives.
  • Do not include any proprietary information. Materials used during the CM credit portion of the event must be solely for educational purposes.
  • Are a minimum of 30 minutes in duration.
  • Are timed in a manner that is consistent with the time for which the event was registered (i.e. an event lasting 75 minutes = 1.25 CM credits, an event lasting 90 minutes = 1.5 CM credits).
  • Include an announcement in which AICP members are notified that their attendance is required for the duration of the event in order to receive CM credit.
  • Remain unbiased and non-promotional in nature. 

Note: An organization’s services or products may be discussed prior to or after the completion of the CM credit portion of the event.

  • Include an attendance log and event evaluation.

Note: CM staff may occasionally conduct an audit within two years of a CM event.  Copies of registration and evaluations will be required.

Distance Education

Distance education events have additional criteria for approval.

Short, timed presentation sessions
These presentations are short, often 6 or 7 minutes, and are accompanied by a timed set of slides, often 20-25 slides. The format encourages presenters to be concise and creative, and to offer a perspective or insight on planning that may depart from a traditional presentation in panel session.

To obtain CM credit for these sessions and meet the CM Eligibility Criteria, the overall session must have a topical theme that provides continuity between individual presentations for each 30 minute section. The themes must be organized in 30, 60, 90, or 120 minute modules. An example of a theme might be "Retrofitting Suburbia" or "Public Engagement." A 90-minute session, for example, may have one to three themes.