Certification Maintenance Exemptions

AICP members in certain life and career situations may be eligible for an exemption from AICP dues and some or all Certification Maintenance (CM) requirements.

Exemption Types

Exemptions while keeping AICP membership active include unemployed (periodic, part-time, in transition), life members, retired, foreign practice, and COVID Extreme Hardship (temporary).

Exemptions to temporarily inactivate AICP membership include parental leave, military service leave, health, care leave, foreign residency, and other.

If you anticipate needing a CM exemption, apply as soon as possible. It may take up to two weeks to receive approval for an exemption request. If you are already aware of what type of exemption to apply for, please proceed to the How to Apply for a CM Exemption section.

Exemptions to Keep Your AICP Membership Active
The following exemptions may be granted to AICP members who wish to remain active and continue to use their AICP credential during the period in which the exemption applies. APA, AICP, and chapter membership dues must be kept current for these exemption types.

Unemployed/ In Transition

Most Certification Maintenance requirements may be waived if you are unemployed or in a transition period.

Under this exemption, you must earn 4 CM credits per quarter of the calendar year you were employed including law and ethics credits.

  • Calculate the number of credits required within the last quarter of your reporting period with assistance of AICP staff.
  • These CM credits must be reported before the end of your current two-year CM reporting period.
  • Under this exemption, you may continue to use the AICP credential as long as AICP and APA dues are paid.
  • You must submit a new exemption application for each two-year reporting period.
  • Tip: If you become employed more than 3 months, start earning the minimum credits required — don't wait until the end of your reporting period.
  • Tip: Members who are unemployed or in transition may apply to pay dues at a reduced rate or in monthly installments.

Below are subcategories of the Unemployed/ In Transition CM Exemption:

  • Full or Nearly Full Unemployment: If you are completely unemployed for the entire two-year reporting period or employed for less than a quarter of a calendar year (full-time or part-time), you will be required to earn 0 CM credits (waiving the CM ethics and CM law credit requirements).
  • Periodic Employment: If you are unemployed for any portion (more than 1 quarter of the year) of your current two-year reporting period, you will be required to complete the CM credit requirements for the portion that you are/were employed.

    Example 1: If you were employed full-time for the first year of your reporting period, and half of your second year of your reporting period, your CM credits due for this reporting period would be 24 CM credits (4 CM credits x 6 quarters); including 1.5 credits towards ethics and 1.5 credits for law.

    Example 2: If you work on a project full-time for three months and are unemployed for the rest of the reporting period, your CM credit required would be 4 CM credits; including 1.5 credits towards ethics and 1.5 credits for law.

  • Part-Time Employment: If you are in transition or working part-time, your requirements will be calculated proportionate to the number of hours worked.

    Example 1: If you work an average of 20 hours per week for the entire reporting period, then your CM requirements for the reporting period would be 16 CM credits (20 hours / 40 hours x 8 quarters x 4 CM); including 1.5 credits towards ethics and 1.5 credits for law.

    Example 2: If you work on a project part-time (20 hours per week) for six months and are unemployed for the rest of the two-year reporting period, your CM credits required would total 4 CM credits (20 hours / 40 hours x 2 quarters x 4 CM); including 1.5 credits towards ethics and 1.5 credits for law.

Life Members

Life Members are partially or completely exempt from Certification Maintenance requirements. An AICP member qualifies if they are a current and continuous APA member for 25 or more years, and are 65 or older. Life Members have two exemption options:

Option 1: You have the option to meet half the CM credit required (16 CM credits) including 1.5 credits each of ethics and law.

OR

Option 2: If you are a Life Member who meets the Retired Member criteria, then you qualify for a full exemption from CM requirements.

To request the Life Member exemption, please complete the Life Membership Application.

Retired Members

Retired Members are exempt from Certification Maintenance requirements. An AICP member qualifies if they are a current and continuous APA member for 10 or more years; are 65 or older; and are completely retired — excluding part-time non-planning related or nonprofessional work. Planners practicing part time or who were retired and return to the workforce must meet the full obligations of Certification Maintenance unless granted one of the exemptions below.

To request the Retired CM exemption, please complete the Retired Membership Application.

Foreign Practice

Planners practicing entirely outside the U.S. will be exempt from taking registered CM courses, although they will still be required to maintain certification through the creation of a Personal Professional Development Plan.

Members who are unable to engage in professional development activities while working abroad have the option of applying for a foreign residency exemption resulting in inactive membership status described below.

Please note, this exemption type requires a new exemption application and updated Personal Professional Development Plan for each reporting period.

COVID Extreme Hardship (Temporary)

This exemption offers all AICP members affected by COVID-19 the flexibility to keep your AICP membership by reducing your CM requirements by 4 CM for every quarter of a year that you were affected by COVID-19. Factors that may determine extreme hardship may include: 

  • Members who are unable to pay basic and reasonable living expenses.
  • Members experiencing homelessness.
  • Members who have experienced the death of an immediate family member.
  • Members with a physical or mental health situation affecting them.
  • Members who are the primary caregiver for an immediate family member, including parents and children (such as homeschooling).
  • Members who are still employed but are temporarily financially burdened.
  • Members who work in hazard planning and are temporarily experiencing high volumes of work.

Under this partial exemption, you must earn 4 CM credits per quarter of the calendar year you were not affected by COVID-19, including law and ethics credits.

  • Calculate the number of credits required within the last quarter of your reporting period with the assistance of AICP staff.
  • These CM credits must be reported before the end of your current two-year CM reporting period.
  • Under this exemption, you may continue to use the AICP credential as long as AICP and APA dues are paid.
  • Tip: Make sure you continue to earn and log credits for the period that you were not affected by COVID-19 — don't wait until the end of your reporting period.
  • Tip: If you were unemployed due to COVID-19, the Unemployed/In Transition CM exemption may be more applicable.

Below are examples of how to calculate your CM requirements with the COVID Extreme Hardship CM Exemption:

Example 1: If you were not affected by COVID-19 for the first year of your reporting period, and half of your second year of your reporting period, your CM credits due for this reporting period would be 24 CM credits (4 CM credits x 6 quarters); including 1.5 credits towards ethics and 1.5 credits for law.

Example 2: If you were not affected by COVID-19 for the first year of your reporting period, and the first quarter of your second year of your reporting period, your CM credits due for this reporting period would be 20 CM credits (4 CM credits x 5 quarters); including 1.5 credits towards ethics and 1.5 credits for law.

Apply for COVID Exemption

Exemptions to Temporarily Inactivate Your AICP Membership

The exemptions below may be granted to AICP members who wish to be in a temporary inactivate membership status. Under this status, AICP membership will be inactivated. The maximum consecutive number of years a member may claim an inactive status is four.

AICP members who wish to apply for inactive status:

  • Must do so prior to the expiration of their membership.
  • Must cease using the AICP credential during the period in which their membership is inactive.
  • Must continue to abide by the AICP Code of Ethics.
  • Must reinstate their AICP membership within four years of the effective date of their last AICP membership dues status and pay 20 percent of back AICP dues owed.
  • Will not be required to pay AICP dues during the period in which their membership is inactive.
  • Will not have access to the online CM log.
  • May continue to remain members of APA and their chapter. To learn about reduced APA membership dues rates please contact customer service or to request the unemployed/in-transition rate, please complete the Unemployed/ In Transition Application.

Parental Leave

An inactive membership status of up to four consecutive years may be granted for the birth or adoption of a child.

Military Service Leave

An inactive membership status of up to four consecutive years may be granted to members on active duty who are deployed overseas for either Temporary Duty (TDY) or Permanent Change of Station (PCS), or to members of the Armed Forces Reserve or National Guard who have been mobilized or deployed.

Health

An inactive membership status of up to four consecutive years may be granted for reasons of ill health.

Care leave

An inactive membership status of up to four consecutive years may be granted to members who need to stay at home to care for another person.

Foreign Residency

An inactive membership status of up to four consecutive years may be granted to members living outside of the U.S. Members living abroad may also wish to engage in developing a Professional Development Plan to maintain AICP membership during their time abroad.

Other

Other reasons (up to four consecutive years) for inactive membership.


How to Apply for a CM Exemption

You must be an active member of AICP to qualify for these exemptions, which means that your AICP, APA, and chapter dues must be paid and up to date.

The last day to apply for an exemption from CM during a reporting period is December 31.

Exemption Application Deadline for 2019–2020 Reporting Period: December 31, 2020

Apply for Exemption

Apply for the COVID Extreme Hardship Temporary CM Exemption


AICP Certification Reinstatement

Details on How to Reinstate Your AICP Membership from Inactive Status

Definition of effective date: The effective date will be the next quarterly paid thru date after the change is approved. Paid thru dates happen on four dates in each year, corresponding to membership periods: March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.

For example, if a member is approved for an inactive exemption in February, the effective date of the change would be March 31. Back dues will be calculated from the member's own paid thru date. For example, if a member's paid thru date is June 30 then back dues would start accumulating as of July 1.

To learn more about reinstating, please visit the AICP Reinstatement web page.

If you have additional questions, contact us using our customer service form.