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 Professional Development 

AICP Certification.

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) offers the United States’ only nationally recognized professional planning certification. Initial certification involves passing the AICP Exam, offered twice annually at more than 300 testing centers across the United States and Canada.

To become a certified planner and use the AICP designation, one must submit an application, pass an examination, and be a fully paid member of APA and AICP. AICP has streamlined the online application and registration process.

For an overview of how to become a certified planner, check out the “Interested in AICP – How to Become a Certified Planner” presentation here.

AICP Exam Schedule.

The AICP Exam is given twice a year in May and November. Be prepared to make the deadlines. Complete information may be found on the National APA website.


The normal calendar for the May exam is:

• Early Applications accepted beginning in December
• Early Bird Deadline: Mid December
• Application deadline: Early January

The normal calendar for the November exam is:
• Early Applications accepted beginning in June
• Early Bird Deadline: Mid June
• Application deadline: End July

Specific dates and information may be found here. Please check back often for complete details as they become available.

AICP Training Opportunities/Prep Sessions.

New study programs are currently in the planning stages. The San Diego and Los Angeles Sections usually offer a study prep session prior to the May exam.

Check the other section websites for their training events:

California APA
Orange Section
Inland Empire Section
Los Angeles Section
San Diego Section
Sacramento Sections

AICP Exam Study Materials.

The Chapter Presidents Council publishes a study manual that is available through the Chapter office. More information and a link to the order form can be found on the AICP Exam page of the CALAPA website.  The Orange Section has CD copies of the Chapter Presidents Council Study Manual that are available for loan. Please contact your local AICP coordinator, Starla Barker, AICP at

APA Chapter President’s Council (CPC) Manual, $12.50
Order and Credit Card Authorization Form

National APA also has preparation materials available in a CD-ROM self-study course through the Planners Books Service. You can obtain more information regarding this course through the National APA website here.

AICP’s official exam preparation guide will help members organize their studies. The manual is an annotated outline of the topics likely to be covered on the exam. Sections cover functional topics and planning processes. A list of references for each topic area is included. The CD-ROM contains three sets of study questions. This interactive feature provides good practice for the exam; your members answer a set of questions and receive a score. While these questions do not constitute a sample exam, they will familiarize them with the different types of questions they are likely to encounter in the actual exam.

Selected Readings.

APA has compiled a list of suggested books and study materials, which can be found here. Many of the books listed are available on APA’s website under the AICP Exam Prep category. Special pricing is available for APA members.

Other Resources.

Potential study materials are identified below.  A more detailed listing of study materials and resources can be found here.

in the OCAPA Planning Library of the Resources section.

The Practice of Local Government Planning (commonly referred to as the “Green Bible”) courses and materials

Lee Slusser’s Notes Lee Slusser, AICP is the 2007 Chair of the Pennsylvania APA Professional Development Committee

Florida Chapter of APA – Treasure Coast Section, AICP Study Group – AICP Exam 2014 Study Links – Harry Bittaker

Presentations and Study Guides
Planning History and Law Presentation
Plan Making and Implementation Presentation
Public Participation and Social Justice Presentation

AICP Exam Questions.

Applicants can refer all exam related questions to For additional questions regarding the AICP Exam, please don’t hesitate to contact your local AICP coordinator, Starla Barker, AICP at

Advanced Specialty Certification Exams.

APA accepts applications for the Advanced Specialty Certification exams in conjunction with the May AICP exam. The ASC exams are only given in May.

Be in the vanguard of certified professional planners! Earn an Advanced Special Certification in environmental or transportation planning and demonstrate to your peers, employer, and colleagues in related professions that you are both an expert and leader in your chosen specialization.

Additional information on ASC that includes eligibility criteria, application instructions, an Exam Candidate Bulletin, a suggested reading list to help you prepare for either the AICP CEP or AICP CTP exam, and testimonials from some of the experts who helped APA develop the criteria and exams for both credentials is located on the National APA website.

Also, you can sign up to receive email alerts from APA about Advanced Specialty Certification in the months ahead.

AICP Exam Results.

All applicants receive their unofficial test scores at the testing center. Official test scores are mailed between the middle of the following month to early the next. i.e. mid December to early January or mid June to early July.

Post-Exam Information: Everything you need is here.

Reduced Fee Scholarships for the AICP Exam.

This program was put into place to offer assistance to those individuals who may defer taking or are unable to take the AICP exam because of the high cost.
For additional information, please click here.

If you are NOT already a member of AICP or FAICP, AND you meet the minimum educational and experience qualifications required to take the AICP Exam, AND you are experiencing real financial hardship…consider applying for one of the APA California AICP Exam Reduced Fee Scholarships.

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