AICP Certification Exam Selected Resources

Planners preparing for the AICP Certification Exam should study the content outline and make note of the topical areas in which they need additional information. The following list is designed to be a guide to identifying those resources that can help the planner fill in the gaps in their knowledge based on their review of the content outline.

The following list is not an exhaustive list of all appropriate readings for certified planners. It is also not the complete citation list for questions on the exam. Rather, the list should be used as a study guide that can help the planner fill in the gaps in their knowledge based on their review of the content outline.

Please note the following:

  • Many readings are available to borrow from any well-stocked planning office library or university library. Many of the books are available as e-books, as well.
  • Those choosing to purchase should consider purchases that not only help in preparing to take the exam but also serve as long-lasting references for professional practice.
  • Your APA Chapter Professional Development Officer will have other tips on resources you can use as well and may have access to a lending library of classic books.
  • This resource list was compiled in January 2022.

The following resources are useful for accessing multiple topics from the general to the specific. Once you have your list of topics, start looking here:

Below are some suggestions under each of the exam content areas. The specific suggestions are examples and are not meant to be the only resource on that particular topic. The best route to success is to look at the content areas, look for areas you should improve upon and then go back to the overall resource list, search those resources, and pick out some readings, books, podcasts, or videos that would be of most help to your situation.

Research and Assessment Methods (11%)

Fundamental Planning Knowledge (15%)

  • Hack, Gary, Eugenie L. Birch, Paul H. Sedway, and Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. 2009. Local Planning: Contemporary Principles and Practice. Washington, D.C.: ICMA. [The latest edition of what is commonly known as the "green book" (it is now yellow). Earlier editions also contain useful information.]
  • APA Policy Guide: Water. 2016. American Planning Association.



  • Rothstein, Richard (2017). The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. New York: Liveright.
  • García, Ivis, AICP, Ph.D., Andrea Garfinkel-Castro, and Deirdre Pfeiffer, AICP, Ph.D.. 2019. Planning with Diverse Communities. PAS Report 593. American Planning Association.



  • Brooks, Michael. 2002. Planning Theory for Practitioners. Chicago: APA Planners Press.

patterns of human settlement

  • Ewing, Reid and Shima Hamidi. 2017. Costs of Sprawl. Routledge Press.

Communication and Interaction (13%)


Plan and Policy Development (15%)

  • Mendenhall, Allyson, Claire Hempel, AICP CUD, Emily Risinger, and Stephanie Grigsby, AICP. 2017. Creating Planning Documents. PAS Report 589. American Planning Association.

Equity, Diversity, and inclusion

Plan Implementation (12%)

Administration and Management (6%)

Leadership (6%)

Areas of Practice (12%)

Look through the APA Research KnowledgeBase for curated resources on planning topics.

urban design

Historic Preservation



Land Use


Regional and multijurisdictional planning

Sustainability and resilience planning


AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (10%)


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