2016 Annual Report: AICP

In 2016, AICP took several significant and long-anticipated steps in service to all APA members. By year end, AICP leaders and members working together had defined an alternative path to certification, updated the certification exam, simplified the ethics code, and improved the Certification Maintenance program for AICP members and education providers.

AICP Candidate Pilot Program

The AICP Commission approved the AICP Candidate Pilot Program after considering input from APA leaders and more than 1,000 members. By resequencing eligibility requirements, the program realigns the path to certification without affecting the integrity of the AICP credential. The program aims to encourage more young planners to pursue certification very early in their careers.

The AICP Candidate Pilot Program will launch in November 2017. The Commission will evaluate the program as it progresses to ensure that it meets the needs of APA members and employers.

AICP Candidate Pilot Program

AICP Certification Exam

Early-Bird Applications

Applicants submitted within the first seven days of an application period get first review and early response. If the application is denied, the applicant may revise and resubmit the application for the same exam window.

APA originally offered this option to encourage early applications and alleviate processing bottlenecks in the last days of the application period. We quickly found that denied applicants really appreciate the ability to immediately revise and reapply—a process that otherwise delays reapplication by six months. Since early application was introduced, it has become a very popular choice. In fact, early birds have increased by almost 300 percent and now make up almost half of all new exam applicants.

If necessary, early-bird applicants can revise their applications and reapply for the same AICP exam.

Nearly 570 members sat for the May 2016 AICP Exam, with a pass rate of 69 percent. In November, 618 members sat for the exam and 65 percent passed.

Beginning in May 2017, testers will take an updated AICP Certification Exam — the first comprehensive update since 2007. A task force of planning experts that included AICP exam committee members reviewed all 800-plus questions in the question pool to ensure their relevance to current practice. 

AICP's 2016 job analysis survey evaluated the tasks and knowledge related to work performed by planners and gathered data about emerging planning trends. The survey results shaped the updated exam, which emphasizes the comprehensive nature of planners' work and tests candidates' knowledge of contemporary planning practice, including innovative techniques, trends, and emerging issues. The exam also queries their understanding of the essential role the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct in certified planning practice.

AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

AICP's Ethics Committee reviewed the Code in 2016 and recommended changes that the Commission approved. The approved Code revisions:

  • Simplify and shorten complaint procedures;
  • Make procedures less adversarial and complaints more likely to be settled;
  • Expand the role of the Ethics Committee and Ethics Officer;
  • Specify potential disciplinary actions; and
  • Improve communications among the AICP Ethics Committee, Commission, and members.

Certification Maintenance

For CM Providers: Simple New Choices

AICP made it easier and simpler for educational providers to offer high-quality professional development to AICP members. Put simply, AICP now reviews and pre-qualifies providers for a specified period and no longer assesses individual events. We also vastly simplified the provider fee structure.

AICP is committed to providing high-quality education to its members. Thanks to continuous outreach and AICP member referrals, by the end of 2016 more than 300 CM providers were registered to offer AICP members professional training opportunities that fulfill their CM requirements.

For AICP Members: A New Way to Earn CM Credits

AICP members may now earn CM credits for volunteering their planning expertise and other pro bono planning services. The AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct acknowledges such service among the "Principles to Which We Aspire" and links volunteer efforts to AICP members' ethical obligations to serve vulnerable communities and advance social justice. Members may use the self-report option to log CM credits for pro bono planning service.

AICP members at the 2016 Community Assistance Workshop in Phoenix.

Advanced Specialty Certification

Twenty-seven AICP members earned Advanced Specialty Certification in 2016: seven as Certified Environmental Planners, eight as Certified Transportation Planners, and 12 as Certified Urban Designers.

AICP College of Fellows

The AICP College of Fellows inducted a new class of 61 outstanding AICP planners during the 2016 National Planning Conference in Phoenix. Newly inducted Fellow Rhonda Phillips gave an eloquent speech on behalf of her class during the induction ceremony. AICP is accepting nominations for the 2018 Class of Fellows through October 13, 2017.

APA recognizes all Fellows' contributions and achievements in Fellows of AICP News.

The AICP College of Fellows Class of 2016 was inducted at the National Planning Conference in Phoenix.

AICP Candidate flow chart by Felicia Braunstein

Early-bird infographic by Susan Lee Deegan

Community Assistance Workshop photo by Ryan Scherzinger

AICP Fellows photo by Joe Szurszewski