To be AICP, or AICP Candidate, that is the question:

Updated: Mar 17

AICP Certification is the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications. Earn the AICP Certification and colleagues and employers will know that you have the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, and mastery of essential skills required to serve your community effectively.

You've heard of those 4 little letters - AICP - but did you know there's also a 9-letter counterpart? Aye, there's the rub...

The American Planning Association (APA) offers 2 ways to become AICP:

#1 - AICP Certification (Traditional Program)

You have a combination of experience & education, you're currently or previously engaged in professional planning, and you're a current APA national member.

#2 - The AICP Candidate Pilot Program - especially for current students at PAB schools or have graduated from a degree program accredited by the PAB, you are eligible to participate in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program. This program allows you to take the AICP Certification Exam upon graduation, prior to completing your professional planning experience.

The APA has offered this comparison chart so you compare the options and choose the right program for you!

2021 APA Exam Diversity Scholarships Available!

The American Planning Association is committed to providing opportunities for all to achieve excellence in planning by fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion in the organization and in the planning profession.

AICP scholarships help make the planning profession more diverse and accessible to those with financial need. Diversity is an inclusive concept which encompasses, but not is not limited to race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, sexuality, ability, educational attainment, spiritual beliefs, creed, culture, tribal affiliation, nationality, immigration status, political beliefs, and veteran status.

If you're planning on taking the AICP Exam in 2021 and have a need, please click here for more information on scholarships!

FREE! The Road AICP Webinar (CM | 1.5)

March 19 | 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET


Join the APA Webcast Consortium and the APA Women & Planning Division for this create webinar about the AICP process.

Do you have doubts about becoming AICP certified? Are you a student thinking about a career in planning wanting to learn more about the AICP certification process? Are you planning to take the upcoming AICP exam? This webinar is for you! The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the only nationwide verification of a planners’ expertise. In 2019, only 36% of APA members held the AICP certification. There are noticeable advantages to obtaining a professional certification like increased earning potential and competitive advantages in the job market. There are also barriers to entry for many qualified planners like annual dues and costs associated with continuing education. Join the APA Women & Planning Division for an informative panel discussion about the advantages & disadvantages of the AICP certification, how to apply for the exams, and some basic test tips for future test takers.


The American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter (APA-IL) is the premier authority on urban planning issues and professional development for Illinois' urban planners.


The APA-IL is the official membership association for practicing planners in the State of Illinois.  We strive to inform, educate, and connect our members to resources and tools that advance the practice of planning throughout the state.  We pride ourselves on "Creating Great Communities for All" in Illinois.  




American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter

c/o NIU Center for Governmental Studies
148 N. 3rd St.
DeKalb, IL 60115


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