American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the professional institute of the American Planning Association (APA).  AICP certification is the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications.

Why become AICP certified? 

The credential provides assurance to employers and colleagues that you have the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, ethical integrity, professional expertise and leadership skills to succeed in the profession.  

Steps to AICP certification

  1. Get educated and gain experience
  2. Apply for certification
  3. Submit your planning experience essays and take the exam 
  4. Maximize your AICP certification

To learn more about each step, visit the APA "Get Certified" page.

Students and new graduates: If you are currently enrolled in or have graduated from a degree program accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, 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 the required professional planning experience.  Learn More

AICP Certification Diversity Scholarship

The Certification Diversity Scholarship is intended to make AICP certification accessible to members from diverse backgrounds. The scholarship provides a discount on the essay submission and the exam fee. Each APA chapter offers at least one scholarship per testing cycle. For more information and deadlines, contact Wayne Beyea, Professional Development Officer.


The AICP Certification Exam was updated in May 2017. The update maintains the basic core knowledge structure of previous exams, but places greater emphasis on emerging trends and current practices. Here's what to expect:

  • Questions are more about concepts and experience instead of memorization.
  • Most of the old outline topics are incorporated into the new outline.
  • Do not expect a question on every outline example.
  • APA suggests studying with a  study buddy and to spend 4-6 months preparing
  • The current pass rate is 65-67%.
  • AICP Exam Informational Webinar (January 2021) - California Chapter

AICP Exam Preparation Resources

AICP Guide: Registering and Taking the Exam

AICP Certification Exam Outline

APA: Prepare for the Exam

APA Prep Workshop videos recorded in April 2021. This three-hour workshop is available in six parts:

NEW! APA Chapter Presidents Council Study Manual ($15)

Other Free Resources:

Online Courses:

Chapter Resources:

Study Support:

APA/MI can assist exam takers in forming study groups.  Additionally, APA/MI can connect exam takers with current AICP planners who are willing to provide one-on-one, mentor-like advice and insight about the test and their preparation recommendations.  Contact Wendy Rampson for more information. 

AICP Certification Maintenance Webcasts

The Planning Webcast Series, sponsored by MAP and other APA chapters and coordinated by the Ohio Chapter, provides AICP planners in participating chapters options for earning over 50 CM credits every year at no cost.  These webcasts are typically scheduled for Fridays from noon - 1 pm Eastern time.  Sessions are available for 1.5 CM credits if you view them live.  The Series also includes links to free 1.5 CM law and ethics Distance Education webcasts.  For the complete schedule, go to

The American Planning Association provides free On-Demand Education recordings at


For more information, contact Wayne Beyea, JD, AICP, MI/APA Professional Development Officer or Wendy Rampson, AICP, MAP Director of Programs and Outreach.