To become a certified planner, entitled to use the AICP designation, American Planning Association (APA) members must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass a written examination. The AICP Certification Exam is given twice each year, in May and November. The first step is to complete and submit an application and the exam fee by a specified deadline (typically 5 to 6 months in advance of the testing window). Once your application is accepted, you may register to take the exam. Information about the AICP process can be found at

Additional study materials and resources for the AICP Exam include:
Refer to APA’s 5-step process for Preparing for the Exam.

The Chapter President’s Council (CPC) AICP Exam Preparation Manual is available in PDF format to NCAC members, last updated in 2017.

The APA National Conference includes sessions each year devoted to review for the exam. This review covers much of the same content as the chapter’s exam prep workshop, though in a room with hundreds (instead of tens) of people. is an online resource that includes practice questions and exams with links to additional study resources for testing your knowledge before attempting the real thing. Cost: Free

Planetizen AICP Exam Preparation Class

 Exam prep materials from the online planning hub, Planetizen, featuring 8 class topics, each with a series of 20-30 minute lessons to help you organize your studies, 4 practice exams (170 questions each). 11+ hours of streaming video training, including 2 hours on ethics. Cost: $245

The Florida APA Chapter and Georgia APA Chapter also provide a collection of study guides and resources.

The AICP Candidate Pilot Program offers qualified APA members the opportunity to take the AICP Certification Exam prior to earning the prerequisite professional planning experience. This opportunity is open to students and graduates of Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) accredited degree programs as a way to jump start their professional career and spread out the costs of becoming AICP.

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 three advanced specialty certification exams for planners who wish to be certified as a Transportation Planner, Environmental Planner, and Urban Designer.