American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the professional institute of the American Planning Association (APA).  AICP certification is the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications.

Why become AICP certified? 

The credential provides assurance to employers and colleagues that you have the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, ethical integrity, professional expertise and leadership skills to succeed in the profession.  

Steps to AICP certification

  1. Get educated
  2. Gain experience
  3. Apply for the AICP Certification Exam
  4. Prepare for the AICP Certification Exam
  5. Become an AICP member

To learn more about each step, visit the APA "Get Certified" page.

Students and new graduates: If you are currently enrolled in or have graduated from a degree program accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, you are eligible to participate in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program. This program allows you to take the AICP Certification Exam upon graduation, prior to completing the required professional planning experience.  Learn More


The AICP Certification Exam was updated in May 2017. The update maintains the basic core knowledge structure of previous exams, but places greater emphasis on emerging trends and current practices.. Here's what to expect:

  • Questions are more about concepts and experience instead of memorization.
  • Most of the old outline topics are incorporated into the new outline.
  • Do not expect a question on every outline example.
  • APA suggests studying with a  study buddy and to spend 4-6 months preparing
  • The current pass rate is 65-67%.
  • Webinar: New AICP Exam Demystified for Testers

AICP Exam Preparation Resources

Free Resources:

Online Courses:

Chapter Resources:

Study Support

APA/MI can assist exam takers in forming study groups.  Additionally, APA/MI can connect exam takers with current AICP planners who are willing to provide one-on-one, mentor-like advice and insight about the test and their preparation recommendations.  Contact Wendy Rampson for more information.  

For more information, Lynee Wells, AICP, MI/APA Professional Development Officer or Wendy Rampson, AICP, MAP Director of Programs and Outreach.