Demonstrate Your Expertise

AICP certification is the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications. Earn the AICP credential and colleagues and employers will know that you have the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, and mastery of essential skills required to serve your community effectively.

Get an Edge in the Job Market

Employers recognize — and reward — the AICP credential. On average, AICP-certified planners earn $16,000 more annually than noncertified planners.

The AICP credential is an assurance of quality — a professional pre-screen — for employers who want to attract the most highly qualified candidates for their open positions. The majority of planning employers say that AICP certification is a factor when hiring planners.

Show Your Commitment to Ethics

87% of planning employers report that it is important that staff demonstrate allegiance to a code of ethics. The AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conducthelps planners negotiate the tough ethical and moral dilemmas they sometimes face on the job, and 97% of AICP members say that the AICP credential meets or exceeds expectations for demonstrating their commitment to ethical standards of practice.

"I have found that explaining to the elected [officials] what the AICP credential means and describing our ethical responsibilities garners their respect. It’s a shorthand to remind them that the actions of the staff, most notably staff report recommendations, are taken very seriously by staff, as is required by the credential."

—Margo Wheeler, FAICP; Planning Faculty, Northern Arizona University

Grow Your Career

If you're just starting out and setting goals for your planning career, think about what you want to accomplish in five years, or 10. As an APA member, you can set your sights on certification — a professional achievement that will open doors. In fact, four out of five AICP members attribute their career advancement to having earned AICP certification.

Elevate Your Skills and Knowledge

Certified planners have verified their academic and professional achievements and passed a rigorous, comprehensive examination of their abilities. They pledge to uphold high standards of practice, and to keep their skills sharp and up to date by continuously pursuing advanced professional education through the Certification Maintenance program.

93% of AICP members say that the AICP credential meets or exceeds their expectations for helping them remain professionally current, and a majority of planning employers agree that AICP-certified planners are up-to-date with changes and advances in the field.

Lead the Profession

AICP also encourages service. Many AICP members serve at-need communities pro bono as individuals, with their chapters, or through APA's Community Assistance Program. Others mentor students and new professionals, assess AICP exam applications, and participate in accreditation reviews of academic planning programs.

Boost Your Professional Stature

Certification enhances your standing and reputation among coworkers, public officials, project collaborators, and the public. 

In a recent survey, the majority of planning commissioners and elected officials agreed that certified professionals are more knowledgeable and skilled than noncertified professionals, and that certification is a sign of commitment to professionalism and professional ethics. Demonstrate the value you bring to your employer and the communities you serve by earning the AICP certification.

Certification also puts planners on equal footing with the architects, engineers, and other credentialed professionals with whom they work and compete.

Strengthen Your Organization

Whether you work in the public or private sector, your organization will benefit from hiring AICP-certified planners and encouraging AICP certification among your staff. As the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications, the AICP credential assures clients, colleagues, and communities that your employees have the necessary expertise, knowledge, and commitment to ethics.

Plan for Your Organization’s Future

Succession planning is an important part of your organization’s future. Hiring AICP-certified planners, and supporting your current staff in earning the AICP credential, elevates your teams and prepares them for current and future planning challenges.

93 percent of AICP members say that the AICP credential meets or exceeds their expectations for helping them remain professionally current with changes and advances in the field.

Supporting professional development also helps with retention and loyalty, saving your organization from costly turnover. Employees who feel they cannot develop in the company and fulfill their career goals are 12 times more likely to leave the company.