Strategic Plan of the American Institute of Certified Planners

In April of 2018 the AICP Commission adopted its latest Strategic Plan. The plan lays out strategies to promote the American Institute of Certified Planners as the professional planning credential most valued by the communities we serve, our members and those who employ us. Specific areas of focus include how AICP will:

  • Provide the best standards and guidance for planning practice and ethics.
  • Serve as a resource and promote research and innovation for all planners and related professionals.
  • Support education, growth, engagement, and excellence for planners at every career stage.
  • Promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice within planning education, practice, and the communities we serve.

AICP Strategic Plan

Approved by the AICP Commission, April 19, 2018

Goal 1

Integrity and Value
Advocate on behalf of all professional planners. Enhance and promote the integrity and value of the AICP credential to all planners, students, employers and the communities that planners serve.

  1. Value: Ensure the ongoing value of the AICP credential by regularly evaluating services provided to AICP members and identifying new opportunities to further enhance AICP's value.
  2. Advancing the Credential: Advocate AICP certification to students, emerging professionals, non-traditional planners, planning academics, allied professionals, underrepresented groups, employers and communities that planners serve.
  3. Emerging Professionals: Invest in the future of AICP by implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the AICP Candidate Pilot Program.
  4. Integrity: Promote and defend the integrity of professional planning practice and the AICP credential by developing initiatives that support AICP members in the workplace and with communities planners serve.
  5. Inclusiveness: Actively address barriers and increase opportunities for underrepresented peoples in the profession to become AICP certified.
  6. Affordability: Continue to assess the affordability of AICP membership at all career levels, including early and mid-career, retirees and for those applying for the AICP credential.
  7. Retention and Reinstatement: Regularly evaluate processes in place to retain and/or reinstate AICP members, including retired AICP members.

Goal 2

Certification and Professional Standards
Establish and maintain core competency standards and practices for all stages of AICP certification. Recognize and anticipate changes in the profession and the career-long skills and knowledge necessary to excel as a professional planner.

  1. Relevancy and Innovation: Keep the AICP credential relevant by promoting knowledge of innovative planning practices, emerging issues, planning trends, education and research and other best practices.
  2. Cohesiveness: Establish a continuum of certification that links education, AICP's certification application process, the Certification Examination, and Certification Maintenance in a cohesive system throughout each stage of certification.
  3. Core Competencies: Link the AICP core competency standards to current APA and AICP policies and programs to advance the planning profession and promote professional commitment.
  4. Application Process: Promote and communicate a clear and concise AICP certification application process that maintains education and experience qualification standards while minimizing application complexity and expense.
  5. Testing: Maintain the integrity and relevancy of the AICP Certification Examination.
  6. Exam Preparation: Prepare applicants for the AICP Certification Examination by promoting the availability of affordable and easily-accessible training and educational resources.
  7. Advanced Specialty Certification: Evaluate the future of the Advanced Specialty Certification program.

Goal 3

Ethical Principles and Practice
Set high standards for AICP member ethical and professional behavior as outlined in the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Promote the value of the Code to both employers and the communities planners serve.

  1. Code Evaluation: Regularly monitor the effectiveness of the code, as required by AICP's bylaws.
  2. Equity and Social Justice: Work to expand choice and opportunity for all persons by building capacity for diverse, inclusive, culturally-competent and equitable planning practices in existing and new AICP programs and initiatives.
  3. Alignment: Ensure any changes to the AICP Certification process are in alignment with the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
  4. Training: Enhance the quality and diversity of ethics training. Introduce the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional conduct to planning students by coordinating ethics training with academics and university planning programs.
  5. Promotion: Identify opportunities to enhance the value of AICP certification by promoting the importance of AICP's ethical standards to all practicing planners, employers and communities.

Goal 4

Professional Development
Foster AICP member commitment to the profession through continuous learning and career-long professional development.

  1. Certification Maintenance: Establish Certification Maintenance Program goals, objectives, performance criteria and metrics.
  2. Coordination: Ensure the professional development objectives of the AICP Commission are coordinated with the broader educational objectives of APA and its components.

Goal 5

Service, Commitment and Recognition
Recognize the commitment and good work of AICP members, with particular attention to their efforts that advance the profession and contribute to the success of others.

  1. Fostering Commitment: Continue to develop new ways to foster AICP member commitment to the planning profession.
  2. Recognition at All Career Levels: Develop new ways to recognize mid-career achievements of AICP members.
  3. Mentoring: Develop additional opportunities for AICP and FAICP members to mentor all planners at all stages of their careers.
  4. College of Fellows: Support the efforts of the College of Fellows to encourage continued leadership by Fellows through the adopted Engagement Strategy.
  5. Community Planning Assistance Teams: Enhance the Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) program through effective marketing and collaboration with other professional organizations.

Goal 6

Communication and Collaboration
Strengthen AICP's collaborative ties between APA leadership (APA Board, Divisions and Chapters), students, planning educators, and planning practitioners.

  1. APA Board Collaboration: As highlighted in the joint APA Board/AICP Commission "Roles and Responsibilities" agreement, continue evaluate possible overlap and gaps between APA and AICP programs and initiatives, ensuring their value and reducing redundancy.
  2. Academic and Certification Linkage: Continue to strengthen the links between what is taught and what is practiced by fostering increased collaboration between the academic planning community, practicing planners and the AICP certification process.
  3. Academic Engagement: Regularize direct engagement between AICP, APA, the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).
  4. International Accreditation: Collaborate with international planning organizations by sharing knowledge on professional certification and standards. Foster increased AICP international membership.

Goal 7

Ensure that all AICP programs and initiatives are clearly documented, cost effective, coordinated, and provide convenience to members.

  1. Documentation: Establish the AICP Policy/Operations Manual to further the continuity of AICP management documentation and formalize "institutional knowledge."
  2. Budgeting/Cost/Benefit: Assess costs vs. benefits of any major AICP certification structure changes.
  3. Metrics: Establish and track operational metrics to advance the Commission's objectives and programs.

Goal 8

Education and Research
Advance professional planning activities through setting and maintaining of education standards and providing input on research priorities.

  1. Content Development: Set and maintain professional education standards and guidelines for education, including Core Competencies, AICP Certification Examination content, and Certification Maintenance requirements that incorporate best practices and emerging trends.
  2. Academic Educational Standards: Work with the Planning Accreditation Board and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning to promote academic educational standards aligned with AICP standards. 
  3. Professional Ethics Education: Maintain standards for education pertaining to the Code of Ethics.
  4. Research: Identify research priorities particularly relating to identifying research gaps and emerging trends as they relate to the AICP core competencies and certification exam content.