Even at this early stage, you're setting goals for your planning career. What do you want to accomplish in five years? Or ten? As an APA member, you can set your sights on an achievement that offers profound and positive career impact: certification by APA's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners.
"AICP" = "Qualified"
AICP certification is the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications. Earn the AICP credential and colleagues and employers will know that you have the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, and mastery of essential skills required to serve your community effectively.
Set yourself apart
Certified planners have verified their academic and professional achievements and passed a rigorous, comprehensive examination of their abilities. They 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.
AICP also encourages service. Many AICP members serve at-need communities by doing pro bono planning individually, in association with their chapters, or through APA's multi-faceted Community Assistance Program. Others mentor students and new graduates, assess AICP exam candidates' applications, and participate in accreditation reviews of academic planning programs.
Cultivate your career
Certification will upgrade your earnings. The most recent APA/AICP planners salary survey shows that certified planners earn more than noncertified planners, even when experience and responsibility are factored in.
The AICP credential is an assurance of quality — a professional pre-screen — for employers who want to attract the most highly qualified candidates for their open positions. "AICP" also puts certified planners on equal footing with the architects, engineers, and other credentialed professionals they work — and compete — with.
Aim even higher
Do you intend to focus on a particular type of planning? If you specialize in transportation planning or environmental planning, you could go on to earn Advanced Specialty Certification. The AICP Certified Transportation Planner (AICP CTP) and AICP Certified Environmental Planner (AICP CEP) credentials demonstrate the highest level of expertise and leadership.
Perhaps your interest lies elsewhere. Stay tuned — Advanced Specialty Certification in Urban Design is in the works.
Election to the College of Fellows of AICP publicly elevates individuals as model planners who have made significant contributions to planning and society throughout their careers. It is the highest honor AICP bestows on its members, and the proudest achievement of many successful planners.