AICP Certified Environmental Planner
(AICP CEP) Exam Outline

The AICP CEP Examination will consist of multiple choice and scenario-based questions on the subject matters listed below. The list is intended to be representative and not inclusive of all subject matter known to the field of environmental planning. Candidates should note that exam questions do not precisely follow the order listed below.

I. Natural Systems Analytic Framework [30%]

A. Aquatic systems (e.g., wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes)

B. Atmospheric systems (e.g., air quality, climate change)

C. Biotic systems (e.g., marine, riparian, upland habitat, species)

D. Terrestrial systems (e.g., steep slopes, soil types, geology)

E. Built environment impacts (e.g., pollution, habitat fragmentation)

F. Data collection and inventory methods (e.g., baseline)

G. Data management processing (e.g., GIS)

H. Ecological principles, components, and characteristics (e.g., population, systems communities)

I. Ecological restoration, preservation, and enhancement practices

J. Ecosystem services benefits (e.g., pollination, ground water recharge, cooling, open space)

K. Measurement parameters (e.g., population density, diversity, distribution, temperatures)

L. Methods of ranking habitat function and value

M. Physiographic boundaries (e.g., topography, geology, hydrology)

II. Integrating Environmental Planning into Community / Comprehensive Planning [30%]

A. Best practices for climate change adaptation strategies

B. Best practices for climate change mitigation strategies

C. Best environmental practices for infrastructure systems (e.g., co-location, bioswales)

D. Carrying capacity (resilience)

E. Effects of built environment on public health (e.g., obesity, diabetes, asthma)

F. Sources and effects of climate change (e.g., flooding, sea level rise, fires, smoke, food production, crop changes, droughts)

G. Effects of specific land uses, place types, and human activities on natural systems

H. Energy demand reduction methods (e.g., transportation, buildings, infrastructure)

I. Environmental assessment of project plans (e.g., environmental checklists)

J. Environmental justice principles (e.g., spatial and demographic distribution of benefits and burdens)

K. Methods for applying best available science to environmental practices and strategies

L. Green infrastructure types and practices (e.g., green roofs, bio-swales, urban tree canopy, reclaimed water)

M. Recycling practices including source reduction

N. Infrastructure systems (e.g., sewer water, solid waste, electricity)

O. Methods for greenhouse gas generation measurement

P. Methods of predicting localized climate change effects

Q. Methods of quantification impact of human activities on the natural systems

R. Scenario planning (quantitative and spatial)

S. Sustainable/renewable energy systems (e.g., solar, wind, district heating/cooling)

III. Performance Measurement [15%]

A. Best practices for development of benchmarks and performance measures for evaluating natural systems

B. Public health indicators (e.g., noise, obesity, physical activity, respiratory disease)

C. Social economic/race/ethnic equity indicators (e.g., excessive public health and environmental impacts on economically disadvantaged communities)

IV. Environmental Planning Practices [25%]

A. Environmental project management (e.g., applicable scientific realms, selecting experts, interpreting scientific knowledge)

B. Applicable legal and regulatory frameworks (e.g., NEPA, ESA, FEMA, state, regional, and local)

C. Effective public and stakeholder engagement methods and techniques

D. Funding resources (e.g., fee structures, public funding mechanisms, grant opportunities, public/private partnerships, NGOs/non-profits)

E. Environmental risk management strategies and methodologies (e.g., natural hazards, man-made)

F. Environmental models (e.g., air quality, integrated water management, habitat)

G. Integration strategies for rural and urban natural systems (e.g., watershed management, TDRs, green belts, mitigation strategies)

H. Operational cost estimation (e.g., monitoring cost, land management, public education, maintenance)

I. Effective methods and techniques for interagency coordination

J. Adaptive management practices (e.g., protocols to respond to unintended ecosystem consequences, changes, failures, and costs of responses)

K. Ecologically sensitive site and infrastructure design (e.g., low impact design and context sensitive design, pervious surfaces)

L. Land use regulations and incentives, emerging tools (e.g., environmental overlay zones, land banking, transfer of development rights, and purchase of development rights)

M. Institutional structures and governance (e.g., watershed councils, air districts, metropolitan and  basin planning organizations)

N. Visual resource analysis (e.g., ridgeline protection, viewshed)

O. Standards of ethical practice

P. Natural system assessment and mapping (e.g., wetland delineation, stream classification, vegetation mapping, habitat mapping)

Q. Resource management and extraction practices (e.g., forestry, mining, agriculture, fisheries, interbasin water transfer)