The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the American Planning Association’s professional institute, providing recognized leadership nationwide in the certification of professional planners, ethics, professional development, planning education, and the standards of planning practice.

To become a certified planner entitled to use the AICP designation, APA members must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass a written examination. The AICP exam is given twice a year, in May and November. The first step is to complete and submit an application and the exam fee by a specified deadline. Once your application is accepted, you may register to take the exam. Information about AICP can be found at

NCAC-APA will award one scholarship to a chapter member to take the May 2016 AICP exam at the reduced cost of $145.  To apply, send a letter of interest and explanation of financial hardship (including financial hardship caused by a budget cutback in a firm or agency) to by January 22nd. The criteria for the scholarship award are as follows: members of minorities are given preference; the applicant(s) selected will be otherwise unlikely to take the exam without the reduced fee; the applicant’s employer will not subsidize the exam fee.

The National Capital Area Chapter typically holds one AICP exam prep session per year in the fall ahead of the November exam. Additional study materials and resources for the AICP Exam include:

  • AICP Exam Candidate Bulletin is a comprehensive guide to taking the AICP exam, from the application process to how the exam is scored.

  • The Chapter President’s Council AICP Exam Preparation Manuals are available in pdf format from past years for NCAC members. For more information, contact Andrea Lytle Peet at

  • APA National Conference includes sessions each year devoted to a review for the exam. This review covers much of the same content as our local chapter review, though in a room with hundreds of people. AICP will be holding an exam prep session at the 2015 APA National Planning Conference in Seattle. This session is worthwhile attending if you plan to go anyway, but should not be the sole reason to go to an APA conference.

  • AICP Study Preparation Materials and Information include a study guide, CD-ROMs, and other resources to prepare for the exam. Detailed information about these resources are available at the APA website.

Advanced Specialty Certification enables AICP–credentialed planners to be recognized for their knowledge, experience, and leadership skills in specialized areas of planning.  AICP currently offers two advanced specialty certification exams for planners who wish to be certified in Transportation and Environmental Planning.

AICP Commission is the group of certified planners elected to represent fellow AICP members. Election to Fellow in AICP is one of the highest honors that the American Institute of Certified Planners bestows upon a member. It’s a recognition of the achievements of the planner as an individual as a model planner who has made significant contributions to planning and society.