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Ready to get AICP Certified? We're here to help!

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) offers the only nationally recognized professional planning certification. To become a certified planner and use the AICP designation, the process includes submitting an application, passing an examination, gaining experience, and be a fully paid member of APA and AICP. 

Questions regarding any part of this process can be directed to APA National or call 312-431-9100. You can also reach the APA-IL Professional Development Officer at

Are you eligible?

If you are considering becoming AICP certified, please go through APA National's online Eligibility Pre-Check. This resource allows you to self-assess and prepare for each step on the path to earning your AICP Certification.

Applying for the exam

The testing windows for the AICP Exam are every May and November, with exam registration about 1 month prior. Please visit APA's website for information on certification cycles.

Certification Diversity Scholarships

If you are registering to take the AICP exam but have delayed certification due to financial hardship, you may apply for the AICP Certification Diversity Scholarship. Please submit your name, APA membership ID, and explanation of hardship to the APA-IL Professional Development Officer, at

Key study tips to prepare for the exam:

  • Use the APA website as much as possible.  The APA’s "five step approach" for preparing for the exam is good advice. Step 1's resources from other state chapters is excellent information.

  • Study at least three months out.  Everyone learns differently, but we suggest that you begin studying earlier rather than later.

  • Is a free online study tool created by a group of Illinois planners back in 2002. It’s free and can be a great way to focus on areas of questions you may need help with.

  • Study Groups. This is one of the best things the APA-IL can do to help you. When planners throughout Illinois contact us about forming an online or in-person study group, APA-IL's PDO links everyone together. The feedback we have received is that this is a good way for many to study. Please email us if you would like to be part of a study group.

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Value of AICP




Exam Prep

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CM Credits

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