Message from PDO

A Message from APA-MA’s Professional Development Officer (PDO)

Greetings Fellow Planners,

The Professional Development Officer (PDO) has several responsibilities within the American Planning Association (APA), American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and specifically on behalf of the APA Massachusetts Chapter (APA-MA) and its membership. This is an elected position with a seat on the Executive Committee of the APA-MA Board. These responsibilities include:

  • Lead the Chapter’s efforts to support AICP Certification Maintenance.
  • Publicize and encourage participation in the Certification Maintenance Program.
  • Administer the Chapter’s CM Provider account.
  • Encourage and assist qualified planners to become AICP members.
  • Coordinate the Chapter’s annual AICP Exam Prep class.
  • Review Chapter college/university planning programs as part of the Planning Accreditation Board process.
  • Provide information, arrange seminars, and otherwise further professional development of planners in the Chapter area.
  • Certification Maintenance (CM): All AICP members must earn 32 CM credits every two years. The credits must include 1 CM each in: Law, Ethics, Sustainability & Resilience and Equity.

It is important for planning professionals to be well-rounded and have an up-to-date toolbox.  Keeping your skill set sharpened is a terrific way to make sure you’re always a step up on the learning curve - whether in your current position or when the next big opportunity comes along.

The PDO can help members ensure you meet these requirements. CM earning opportunities are promoted primarily through the Chapter’s Events email (usually biweekly). Be sure to add to your safe sender list! Your personal account profile on the APA website is where you check your status and log new credits.

Programs Qualifying for CM Credits: If you are planning or sponsoring a session, conference, or other event that you would like to have eligible for CM credits, contact the PDO regarding the procedures for partnering with APA-MA for credits and vetting of program eligibility for CM. Please first fill out the form for partnership, on this page, and review the section titled Alternative Approach on this page. We can be most effective in marketing your event when you contact us early, even if you’re just in pre-planning stages! Note that, organizations without a prior relationship with the Chapter may require Board approval.

Chapter CM Events: Are you a Chapter member with an idea for a CE event?  Let us know! We continue to need your help to set up quality programs.  We are encouraging all members to contribute any ideas for speakers and topics to bring educational programs for the Chapter.

AICP Applications and Testing: If you are planning to take the AICP exam, you can reach out to the PDO to make sure you in turn are notified about resources and opportunities for applying for preparing for the exam. The AICP Get Certified! page has many resources. The AICP Guide Part 1: Certification Application should always be your first visit! Followed by AICP Guide Part 2: Taking the Exam.

AICP Testing Scholarships: Taking the AICP test can be expensive. APA now offers scholarships to members who cannot otherwise take the test based on the cost. You can find more information on obtaining 1 of 2 scholarships available to Massachusetts members here.

Test Preparation Course: Massachusetts offers an annual exam preparation class in the spring. Look for an email from APA-MA in early January or let the PDO know you are interested.

I look forward to working with all of you on these matters on an ongoing basis.



Bill Nemser, AICP