Five Steps to Certification

1. Get Educated

AICP candidates must document a specific combination of education and professional experience. A planner's academic degree and program attended determine how much experience is required.

2. Gain Experience

At least two and as many as eight years of relevant professional planning experience are required, depending on educational qualifications. You must be able to provide independent verification — in writing—of your academic achievement and employment experience.

3. Apply for the AICP Exam

Once you have achieved the requisite education and experience, you may apply to take the AICP Comprehensive Planning Exam. APA offers online tools and staff support to help you complete the application and verify your education and employment history. Once your application is approved, you have three years (up to six attempts) to take and pass the exam without having to reapply.

4. Pass the Exam

The AICP Comprehensive Planning Exam is offered twice a year, in May and November. It's a challenging computerized test that deserves the designation "comprehensive." Preparation is essential, and APA is there to help with recommended readings, a prep session at the National Planning Conference, and more.

5. Become an AICP Member

Once you've passed the exam and paid AICP's salary-based dues, you'll be an AICP member! APA will send you a certificate for your wall, a pin for your lapel, and the go-ahead to proudly add "AICP" after your name.