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, and be a fully paid member of APA and AICP. 

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

Are you eligible?

If you are considering becoming AICP certified, you must be a current member of APA; be engaged currently or in the past in professional planning as defined by AICP; and have completed a combination of professional planning years of experience and education. Check out the AICP eligibility requirements and find out if your experience qualifies

Applying for the exam

The testing windows for the AICP Exam are every May and November, with applications typically due 5 to 6 months in advance. The exam is administered during a 12 day window during each of those months, meaning that there will be 24 days of testing available. Please visit APA's website for information on current exam dates and the application overview.

Exam scholarships

If you are applying or have been approved to take the AICP exam but have financial hardship, you may apply for the AICP Exam 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.

  • Fall Free AICP training.  If you are considering taking the fall exam, consider attending the APA-IL annual State Conference where we provide a free 4 hour training session. It is based on the 4 hour session that the PlanningPrep team annually presents at the National APA conference. Look at Step 3 of APA's five step approach for video presentations and PowerPoint slides of this training.

  • 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, Trevor 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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