Demonstrate Your Expertise
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.
"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
Get an Edge in the Job Market
Employers recognize — and reward — AICP Certification. On average, AICP-certified planners earn $16,000 more annually than non-certified planners.
AICP Certification is an assurance of quality — a professional pre-screen — for employers who want to attract the most highly qualified candidates for their open positions. The majority of planning employers say that AICP Certification is a factor when hiring planners.
"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
Show Your Commitment to Ethics
87% of planning employers report that it is important that staff demonstrate allegiance to a code of ethics. The AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct helps planners negotiate the tough ethical and moral dilemmas they sometimes face on the job, and 97% of AICP members say that AICP Certification meets or exceeds expectations for demonstrating their commitment to ethical standards of practice.
Grow Your Career
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 will open doors. In fact, four out of five AICP members attribute their career advancement to having earned AICP Certification.
Elevate Your Skills and Knowledge
Certified planners have verified their academic and professional achievements, submitted essays successfully demonstrating that their experience meets established criteria for professional planning practice, and passed a rigorous, comprehensive examination of their abilities. They pledge to uphold high standards of practice, and to keep their skills sharp and up to date by continuously pursuing advanced professional education through the Certification Maintenance program.
93% of AICP members say that the AICP Certification meets or exceeds their expectations for helping them remain professionally current, and a majority of planning employers agree that AICP-certified planners are up-to-date with changes and advances in the field.
Lead the Profession
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 Certification 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
Boost Your Professional Stature
Certification enhances your standing and reputation among coworkers, public officials, project collaborators, and the public.
In a recent survey, the majority of planning commissioners and elected officials agreed that certified professionals are more knowledgeable and skilled than non-certified professionals, and that certification is a sign of commitment to professionalism and professional ethics. Demonstrate the value you bring to your employer and the communities you serve by earning the AICP Certification.
Certification also puts planners on equal footing with the architects, engineers, and other credentialed professionals with whom they work and compete.
"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