|Application Window Opens||December 1, 2017, 9:00 a.m. CT|
|Early Bird Deadline||December 7, 2017, 11:59 p.m. CT|
|Final Application Deadline||December 28, 2017, 5:00 p.m. CT|
|Early Bird Notification||January 31, 2018|
|Final Notification||March 30, 2018|
|Exam Registration Deadline|
AICP Candidate Pilot Program Participants
|April 27, 2018, 5:00 p.m. CT|
|Registration and Transfer Deadline||April 27, 2018, 5:00 p.m. CT|
|Testing Window||May 14–28, 2018|
|Early Bird Resubmission Fee||$70|
|**All fees are non refundable**|
Register for the ExamAICP Candidate Exam Registration
|Application Window Opens||June 1, 2018, 9:00 a.m. CT|
|Early Bird Deadline||June 7, 2018, 11:59 p.m. CT|
|Final Application Deadline||June 28, 2018, 5:00 p.m. CT|
|Registration and Transfer Deadline||October 31, 2018, 5:00 p.m. CT|
|Testing Window||November 5–19, 2018|
Exam Application Overview
Make sure you are prepared to apply for the AICP Certification Exam. In this video, you'll learn about:
- Meeting eligibility requirements
- Documenting your education and experience
- Writing essays that meet criterion requirements
- Exam scoring and pass rates
- Finding other resources to prepare for the AICP Exam
How to Apply to Take the Exam
Here is all the information you'll need to apply for and take the AICP Certification Exam. Follow the step-by-step instructions below.
1. Bring your APA membership up to date
All AICP applicants must be current members of the American Planning Association. Please make sure that your APA and Chapter dues are up to date before you start your application.
If your chapter and national dues are not fully paid, you will not be permitted access to the online application.
2. Review the eligibility requirements for AICP membership
All AICP applicants must meet APA's eligibility requirements for AICP membership before submitting an application for the AICP exam.
3. Submit the online application and pay fees
Applications can be submitted only for the upcoming exam window. All applicants must complete and submit the online application along with verifications and pay the application fee by the application deadline posted above. You are strongly encouraged to apply early. Applications submitted on or near the deadline may take longer to process due to high volume. You can gather the information you will need to complete the application in the Exam Application Template.
Section 1: Describe and verify educational history
Enter university, graduation date, degree information and upload verification for each degree entered. Information on valid education verification can be found in the AICP Exam Guide.
Section 2: Describe and verify employment history
Enter professional planning employment information and upload an employment verification letter for each position entered. See sample employment verification letter for more information.
Section 3: Respond to eligibility criteria
Applicants for the AICP exam must write three essays demonstrating that their verified work experience meets APA's definition of professional planning experience. Please be sure to review the guidance and checklists provided in the AICP Exam Guide to ensure that your essays meet criterion requirements as defined by APA. See the Demonstrating Professional Planning Experience section and the Criterion Response Checklist in the AICP Exam Guide for full details.
Section 4: Read and verify you have read the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Section 5: Application summary and review
Review the components of your application prior to submission. You will not be permitted to change or edit the application once submitted.
Section 6: Submit application and fee
The application fee ($70) and exam fee ($425) are paid separately via the online form. The $70 application fee is due upon application submission and the $425 exam fee payment is due after application approval. Payment must be made online with a credit card. (Fees subject to change.)
4. Receive a notification e-mail
Due to the volume of applications and thoroughness of the review process, you will hear about the status of your application approximately 8–10 weeks from submission; however, this is a rough estimate and some applications will take longer to review than others.
If you apply during the Early-Bird Application Window you will be notified of application approval or denial by the Early-Bird Notification Deadline above. All other applicants will be notified of application approval or denial by the Final Notification Deadline.
Please note that applications submitted on or near the application deadline may take longer to process and review. Once your application is reviewed, your application status will be updated in My APA and you will receive an e-mail notifying you of your application approval or an emailed letter notifying you of your application denial.
5. Register for the Exam and Schedule with Prometric
Approved applicants must register for the exam and pay the $425 exam registration fee to receive an eligibility ID for the current exam window. The registration confirmation email will include information on where to retrieve your eligibility ID and instructions for scheduling the appointment to take the exam at a Prometric test center of the applicant's choice. Proper photo ID is required to enter the test center.
Check out resources that will help you prepare to take the exam, like the Outline of the AICP Certification Exam.
Exam Application Review
AICP Peer Reviewers and APA staff will collaborate in evaluating all exam application essays to determine whether they meet the required criteria for professional planning experience.
AICP Peer Reviewers have been AICP members for at least five years and demonstrated their commitment to the profession. Peer review ensures that AICP exam application reviews reflect the informed judgment of seasoned certified planners.
Eligible members who are interested in volunteering as AICP Peer Reviewers may learn more and apply here.
Contact AICP exam staff at AICPexam@planning.org.
Read our tips designed to give you a smooth exam application experience.
Before applying to take the exam, read the AICP Exam Guide. It is your complete guide to submitting a successful application. Most applicants who are denied are denied based on items explicitly addressed in the guide. And check out the Criterion Response Checklist. This is a great resource to make sure your responses meet the requirements.
It pays to apply early: If you apply during the early bird window and your application is denied, you can address the issues and re-apply in the same exam window. This opportunity is available only for early bird applicants, so make sure to apply by the early bird registration deadline.
The majority of applicants apply right before the registration deadline. The volume of applications received at this time means more applications to review and a longer wait time to receive your status. Testing centers fill up, and you may have difficulty finding one with availabilities. Apply early to avoid these stresses.
To ensure your verification letters will be accepted, provide your references with a copy of the sample job verification letter.
Acceptable ways to verify your educational experience include:
- Providing a notarized diploma(s)
- Providing an official transcript(s) from your university
- Providing a letter from the university confirming your degree and graduation date on letterhead.
A complete job history is not required. Focus on providing specific experience that meets the minimum eligibility requirements.
Internship experience can count toward professional planning experience as long as the internship was not part of course work for a grade and the work experience meets the criteria for professional planning experience listed in the AICP application.
Part-time professional planning experience can count toward professional planning experience. Simply prorate that experience into a full-time equivalent. Similarly, persons working full time, but devoting a portion of their time to another field, may also prorate that experience into a full-time equivalent.
When responding to the AICP professional planning criteria:
- Read the "dos and don'ts" guidance provided on pages 13–15, which describes each of the criteria that
your responses must meet to be accepted as professional planning experience, and use the Applicant
Response Checklist provided as an Appendix in this Guidebook to help make sure your responses meet
- Provide unique responses for each criterion.
- Use the word "I" and speak directly to your role and responsibilities related to the project work
described. Do not write about yourself in the third person.
- Move beyond a discussion of project details and outcomes to discuss your role, duties, and impact on the project outcome for the project(s) described.
- Do not include information that does not qualify as professional planning experience.
- Do not include information in the criterion responses that is not tied to the positions submitted as
verified work experience. The duties and projects included in the responses must be related to the
- Planning is a collaborative process, but make sure you do not speak entirely about what the team
accomplished. Exam reviewers need to be able to determine your individual role on the projects described.
Proofread your responses. Spelling and grammar errors can make it difficult for exam reviewers to evaluate the content of the responses. It may be helpful to have a co-worker review your material to have a second set of eyes for spelling and grammar errors. You can also use their review to ensure that you have provide clear and complete responses to the criteria,
Project managers or people with substantial experience in the field sometimes take for granted the application process. APA is concerned not only with the number of years of planning experience but also with making sure the experience meets the established professional planning criteria. Experienced applicants should take care in making sure their responses meet each established professional planning criterion. For example, managers or directors should use examples that demonstrate their planning experience, not their administrative or managerial responsibilities, when responding to Criteria 1 and 2.
When finalizing your criteria responses, review to ensure that a person who has not done the exact same type of planning work can understand the project examples and duties that you discuss. This is especially important if you have worked in a very specialized area of planning. Your reviewer may not be familiar with acronyms or specialty terminology, so review your responses for an appropriate level of clarity and explanation to ensure that someone versed in planning broadly will be comfortable that they understand your role and duties based on your description.