AICP certification is the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications. Earn the AICP credential 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.
"AICP is the seal of approval. It gives identity to the profession and it gives planners credibility."
— Sergio Rodriguez, FAICP; Former City Manager, Miami Beach, Florida
If you're just starting out and setting goals for your planning career, think about what you want to accomplish in five years, or 10. As an APA member, you can set your sights on certification — a professional achievement that offers profound and positive career impact.
Lead the Profession
Certified planners have verified their academic and professional achievements and passed a rigorous, comprehensive examination of their abilities. They pledge to uphold high standards of practice, ethics, and professional conduct, and to keep their skills sharp and up to date by continuously pursuing advanced professional education.
AICP also encourages service. Many AICP members serve at-need communities pro bono as individuals, with their chapters, or through APA's Community Assistance Program. Others mentor students and new professionals, assess AICP exam applications, and participate in accreditation reviews of academic planning programs.
"AICP members support the principles and standards of good planning. They work to make sound decisions for their communities."
— Ralph Becker, FAICP; Former Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah
Certified planners are held to a high standard of ethical practice, but ethical planning isn't always easy. The AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct helps planners negotiate the tough ethical and moral dilemmas they sometimes face on the job.
Cultivate Your Career
The most recent APA/AICP Planners Salary Survey shows that certified planners earn more than noncertified planners, even when experience and responsibility are considered. Certification also puts planners on equal footing with the architects, engineers, and other credentialed professionals with whom they work and compete.
The AICP credential is an assurance of quality — a professional pre-screen — for employers who want to attract the most highly qualified candidates for their open positions. Certified planners bring extra value to their employers and their communities.
"Certification definitely raised my status among co-workers who are mostly engineers, architects, and project / construction / facility managers. AICP has made me a better planner and thereby a more valuable employee."
— Amy Vandeveer, AICP; Community Planner, U.S. Air Force
"I'm an employer. I look for the AICP credential in our screening process to find the best and most qualified employees for our planning positions."
— Rodger Lentz, AICP; Director of Planning and Development Services, Wilson, North Carolina