Pass the Exam
Steps to Passing the AICP Exam
Earning your AICP by passing the exam is a multi-stage process, but one that can be completed in less than a year. Here are the basic steps:
- Apply to take the exam. Applying is almost like an essay exam in itself, so allow plenty of time for this step. Typically the application periods are in January and June. The application will ask you to describe your education and how the work you do meets the qualifying criteria for taking the exam. You will be asked to submit documentation of your education and work history. You need to pay an exam fee.
- Study. Chapter Review Sessions happen every year. Watch your email for details. While studying for the exam is not absolutely essential, most planners find that spending a few hours each week for the 2-6 months prior to their exam date brings a sense of confidence and helps brush up rusty knowledge and skills. Below you will find links to many resources to help you prepare to take the exam. The Chapter and APA national provide exam prep sessions.
- Pass the exam. The exam is offered at many locations around the state at commercial testing centers. The exam is administered on a computer. You will answer 170 multiple-choice questions in 3.5 hours. The exam is offered twice a year--in May and November.
- Submit your AICP dues. AICP will notify you that you passed the exam. Then, once you pay your dues, you can begin to place those four letters after your name: AICP.
Chapter Exam Prep Assistance
The Chapter offers an AICP Exam Prep session at least once a year, usually in March or April. Videos of the 2021 Prep Sessions are available here (About AICP Certification) and here (Preparing for the AICP Exam).
We are happy to share with you a few study resources that our PDO Liz Callin has recently pulled together.
AICP Candidate Pilot Program
Recently, AICP launched a new program that allow planning students to apply for and take the exam after they complete their planning degree. Then the new professional planner gains work experience after passing the exam. Once the necessary work experience is achieved and documented (and AICP dues paid), the planner earns the credential. The advantage to the planner is taking the exam while all that juicy planning knowledge (history, law, theory, statistics, etc.) is still fresh.
AICP on the APA National website is your go-to resource for information about AICP and earning the credential.
Additional Study Resources
AICP Exam Review Materials
- Exam Content Outline
- Smart Growth
- Policy Guides
- Planning History Timeline (interactive)
- Planning and Law Division: Foundational Land Use Law Decisions
- Selected Readings
- Exam Review YouTube Series
- PAS Reports (free to APA members)
- Planning Magazine (in case you recycled all of your old issues)
AICP Exam Review Video Series – Planning Webcast
- Public Participation
- Functional Areas of Planning
- Exam Overview and Spatial Planning
- Quantitative Methods
- Plan Making and Implementation
AICP Exam Administration
- AICP Exam Application Information
- AICP Exam Fee Scholarship – Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you interested in being considered (one per year is available)