Aicp Application Essays

May 2018

Application Window OpensDecember 1, 2017, 9:00 a.m. CT
Early Bird DeadlineDecember 7, 2017, 11:59 p.m. CT
Final Application DeadlineDecember 28, 2017, 5:00 p.m. CT
Early Bird NotificationJanuary 31, 2018
Final NotificationMarch 30, 2018
Exam Registration Deadline
AICP Candidate Pilot Program Participants
April 27, 2018, 5:00 p.m. CT
Registration and Transfer DeadlineApril 27, 2018, 5:00 p.m. CT
Testing WindowMay 14–28, 2018

Exam Fees

Application Fee$70
Early Bird Resubmission Fee$70
Registration Fee$425
Transfer Fee$100
**All fees are non refundable**

Register for the ExamAICP Candidate Exam Registration

November 2018

Application Window OpensJune 1, 2018, 9:00 a.m. CT
Early Bird DeadlineJune 7, 2018, 11:59 p.m. CT
Final Application DeadlineJune 28, 2018, 5:00 p.m. CT
Registration and Transfer DeadlineOctober 31, 2018, 5:00 p.m. CT
Testing WindowNovember 5–19, 2018

Exam Application Overview

Make sure you are prepared to apply for the AICP Certification Exam. In this video, you'll learn about:

  • Meeting eligibility requirements
  • Documenting your education and experience
  • Writing essays that meet criterion requirements
  • Exam scoring and pass rates
  • Finding other resources to prepare for the AICP Exam

How to Apply to Take the Exam

Here is all the information you'll need to apply for and take the AICP Certification Exam. Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

1. Bring your APA membership up to date

All AICP applicants must be current members of the American Planning Association. Please make sure that your APA and Chapter dues are up to date before you start your application.

If your chapter and national dues are not fully paid, you will not be permitted access to the online application.

2. Review the eligibility requirements for AICP membership

All AICP applicants must meet APA's eligibility requirements for AICP membership before submitting an application for the AICP exam.

3. Submit the online application and pay fees

Applications can be submitted only for the upcoming exam window. All applicants must complete and submit the online application along with verifications and pay the application fee by the application deadline posted above. You are strongly encouraged to apply early. Applications submitted on or near the deadline may take longer to process due to high volume. You can gather the information you will need to complete the application in the Exam Application Template.

Section 1: Describe and verify educational history

Enter university, graduation date, degree information and upload verification for each degree entered. Information on valid education verification can be found in the AICP Exam Guide.

Section 2: Describe and verify employment history

Enter professional planning employment information and upload an employment verification letter for each position entered. See sample employment verification letter for more information.

Section 3: Respond to eligibility criteria

Applicants for the AICP exam must write three essays demonstrating that their verified work experience meets APA's definition of professional planning experience. Please be sure to review the guidance and checklists provided in the AICP Exam Guide to ensure that your essays meet criterion requirements as defined by APA. See the Demonstrating Professional Planning Experience section and the Criterion Response Checklist in the AICP Exam Guide for full details.

Section 4: Read and verify you have read the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Section 5: Application summary and review

Review the components of your application prior to submission. You will not be permitted to change or edit the application once submitted.

Section 6: Submit application and fee

The application fee ($70) and exam fee ($425) are paid separately via the online form. The $70 application fee is due upon application submission and the $425 exam fee payment is due after application approval. Payment must be made online with a credit card. (Fees subject to change.)

4. Receive a notification e-mail

Due to the volume of applications and thoroughness of the review process, you will hear about the status of your application approximately 8–10 weeks from submission; however, this is a rough estimate and some applications will take longer to review than others.

If you apply during the Early-Bird Application Window you will be notified of application approval or denial by the Early-Bird Notification Deadline above. All other applicants will be notified of application approval or denial by the Final Notification Deadline.

Please note that applications submitted on or near the application deadline may take longer to process and review. Once your application is reviewed, your application status will be updated in My APA and you will receive an e-mail notifying you of your application approval or an emailed letter notifying you of your application denial.

5. Register for the Exam and Schedule with Prometric

Approved applicants must register for the exam and pay the $425 exam registration fee to receive an eligibility ID for the current exam window. The registration confirmation email will include information on where to retrieve your eligibility ID and instructions for scheduling the appointment to take the exam at a Prometric test center of the applicant's choice. Proper photo ID is required to enter the test center.

Check out resources that will help you prepare to take the exam, like the Outline of the AICP Certification Exam.

Exam Application Review

AICP Peer Reviewers and APA staff will collaborate in evaluating all exam application essays to determine whether they meet the required criteria for professional planning experience.

AICP Peer Reviewers have been AICP members for at least five years and demonstrated their commitment to the profession. Peer review ensures that AICP exam application reviews reflect the informed judgment of seasoned certified planners.

Eligible members who are interested in volunteering as AICP Peer Reviewers may learn more and apply here.


Contact AICP exam staff at

In particular:

Persons with non-traditional professional-level planning experience are encouraged to apply if they can demonstrate how their experience meets the four criteria for professional planning experience listed in the AICP application.

You can't sit for the exam unless your application has been approved for, among other things, professional planning experience, and separately verified by employer(s).

The following is buried in the FAQs on

The following should help clarify AICP's four professional planning experience criteria. We understand that the planning field is very diverse and given to a wide range of job descriptions. Therefore, you must fit your particular experience to the four criteria and provide concrete examples with substantive support. Your responses to each of the four criteria should be between 250 and 500 words in length.

Please note: This summary serves only to offer additional information and does not replace the instructions for Demonstrating Professional Planning Experience.

CRITERION 1: Applying a planning process appropriate to the situation

Were you directly involved in two or more of the following planning process techniques:

Public Opinion Surveys (evaluated community services, needs, and desires)?
Technical Interviews (gathered information from community experts)?
Inventory and Surveys (land uses, conflicts, traffic patterns, etc.)?
Citizens Participation (presented plans, conducted "vision" workshops, prepared plan summary handouts)?
Official Representatives Meetings (group or one-on-one meetings with public and private officials)?
Draft Plan/Project Review (grassroots/informal feedback from public)?
Public Hearings (formal feedback with elected officials and public for project/plan approval)?
CRITERION 2: Employing an appropriately comprehensive point of view

Have you:

Worked on a project, say for downtown development, where you had to review several factors such as: traffic patterns, environmental concerns, economic impact, residential concerns, demographic considerations? or
Worked on a project such as a proposed transportation system where considerations such as traffic patterns, highway/rail construction, commercial/residential proximity, pollution concerns, noise abatement, cost projections, community input, etc. were investigated?
CRITERION 3: Involving a professional level of responsibility and resourcefulness

Have you done one or more of the following:

Supervised a project?
Presented a proposal/plan before a decision making body?
Provided significant input in one or more facets of a project (i.e., conducted research, managed staff, given technical expertise in areas such as computer application, strategy development, impact analysis, etc.)?
CRITERION 4: Influencing public decision making in the public interest

Have you, for example:

Presented planning proposals before an elected/appointed body such as the city council, planning commission/board, citizens' advisory board, state/federal officials?
Worked on a project, in a significant capacity, that was later presented to such a body?
Recommended strategies based on research of past/current laws/ordinances or zoning proposals, etc.?


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