AICP certified planners carry a high mark of distinction because they are required to meet rigorous standards, maintain their expertise through continuing education, and serve community interests.
Taking the AICP exam is first step to become a certified planner. To qualify, one must be a current APA member, submit an online application meeting certain education and experience criteria, and pass an examination.
The AICP Certification page on the APA National website is the first place to start. This page maintains the most current information about the AICP Exam including:
- Important Registration and Exam Deadlines
- Upcoming Exam Information and How to Apply
- Exam Candidate Bulletin
- Eligibility Requirements
- Advice for Passing the Exam
- Resources and FAQ’s
For all the detail on the AICP Exam, see: http://www.planning.org/certification/
*** NOTE – The AICP Exam is expected to undergo a significant update in 2017. Many of the resources provided and suggested may need to be updated to reflect the exam changes. ***
Advanced Specialty Certification (ASC)
AICP planners with a specialized focus in Transportation, Urban Design, or Environmental Planning may want to consider pursuing an advanced certification in these fields. For more information on the ASC exams, click here.
AICP Exam Fee Scholarships
The AICP Exam Fee Scholarship program was established to offer assistance to individuals who may defer taking or are unable to take the AICP Exam because of the cost. APA-MA administers this scholarship on behalf of APA National. APA National and APA-MA encourage APA members with financial barriers to becoming AICP members apply for this scholarship.
Scholarship recipients pay reduced fees to AICP as follows:
- First time AICP applicants: $145 (combined $70 application and $75 exam fee, if approved)
- Previously approved AICP applicants: $75 (exam fee only)
- NEW! AICP Candidate Pilot Program Participants can apply for a scholarship. However, the fee will only be reduced from $100 to $75 (exam fee only).
- As of 01/2019, the National Standards Membership Committee is discussing a scholarship for AICP Candidates who are ready to apply for AICP certification.
To take advantage of this program, qualified individuals should complete the short application form and include a brief explanation of financial hardship (including financial hardship caused by a budget cutback in a firm or agency), which necessitates the request. The applications are reviewed on the criteria set forth by APA National and listed below:
- The applicant will be otherwise unlikely to take the exam without the reduced fee.
- The applicant's employer will not subsidize the exam fee.
- Members of minority populations should be given preference.
Please note that the awarding of a scholarship does not guarantee that a recipient will be approved to take the AICP Exam. The exam application will be evaluated like any other. The nomination/selection of scholarship recipients is strictly confidential.
There may be an opportunity to award additional scholarships during the November window. APA-MA will maintain a wait list and reserves the right to reopen the scholarship application in early fall.
Completed applications, and any questions, should be sent to Amanda Chisholm, APA-MA Professional Development Officer, at email@example.com on or before February 15th of any year. Applications are reviewed and selections made exclusively by the APA-MA Chapter.
Exam Prep Support from the APA-MA Chapter
AICP Exam Prep Course
The APA-MA Chapter prep class is always held in the spring (usually March – April). This intensive training is spread over 4 Monday nights (6p-9pm) and typically covers the following topic areas: Exam Overview and FAQ, Planning Administration, Ethics, Law, Public Participation, Land Use Planning, Advocacy Planning, Economic Development, and Transportation. There is a small cost which includes dinner each night and a CD of the most recent Chapter President’s Council Exam Study Guide.
SNEAPA Exam Prep
The PDOs of CT, RI, and MA host an AICP Exam Prep session at SNEAPA every year too where we review how to apply, how to study, and other best practices for passing the AICP exam. A presentation from the 2015 SNEAPA AICP Classroom can be accessed here.
AICP also holds an Annual AICP Exam Preparation session at its National Planning Conference. For more information, go to National APA.
As PDO, I am happy to try to connect people who are interested in studying together. Send an email to Amanda Chisholm, APA-MA Professional Development Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org, including when you’re taking the exam, where you live/work, and where you’d be willing to travel for a study group.
Chapter President’s Council 2015-2016 AICP Study Manual (CD)
The APA-MA Chapter has a limited number of copies of the Chapter President’s Council (CPC) 2015-2016 AICP Exam Study Manual (CD-ROM) available for distribution to MA Chapter members who are serious about taking the AICP exam. Please contact Amanda Chisholm, APA-MA Professional Development Officer, at email@example.com if interested.
Online Exam Prep Courses
APA AICP Prep 3.0 online course - http://www.planning.org/events/course/9026917/ - $249.00
Planetizen AICP Prep online course - http://www.planetizen.com/aicp-exam-prep - $245.00+ Please note, this course is not affiliated with or endorsed by the AICP, APA National, or APA-MA.
Planning Prep - www.planningprep.com – This website is a free resource developed by a consulting firm who presents the AICP Exam Prep training at the National Conference every year.
Exam Prep Material from other Chapters
The following chapters have additional training information which you may find useful:
http://www.floridaplanning.org/treasurecoast/aicp_links.pdf – Provides a detailed list of web links to study resources based on practical areas of study, and includes links to free practice questions. Last updated for 2015 exam cycle; all links may not be current.
http://www.apacolorado.org/study-materials – Contains Study Tips and links to some other Study materials, including practice tests.
http://planningpa.org/for-planners/professional-planners/aicp-exam-prep/ – Study materials include past AICP Exam Prep sessions as YouTube videos and free online materials from the PA Chapter and elsewhere.
http://wisconsinplanners.org/learn/aicp-professional-development/ – Includes links to exam review presentations, sample questions, and other online review materials.