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AICP Exam Prep

APA-PA’s Professional Development Committee (PDC) has developed a summary of the benefits of becoming a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), eligibility requirements to take the AICP exam, the basics of the application process, study materials, and testing tips. Please click here for this helpful starting point to becoming an AICP.


Taking the AICP Exam

The testing windows for the AICP Exam are every May and November, with applications typically due 5 to 6 months in advance. The most current information is available at: http://www.planning.org/certification/. For questions regarding the AICP Exam, please email aicpexam@planning.org.

For a first person perspective on applying and studying for the exam, check out the thoughts of Megan Lehman, AICP.


Studying for the AICP Exam

The PA Chapter’s Professional Development Committee (PDC) offers several different forms of help to those studying for the AICP Exam. These include a spring in-person prep session (typically held in February or March), free online materials, and study manuals available to borrow or purchase, as well as links to additional websites for further guidance. 

As a complement to the Certification Maintenance (CM) focused Chapters, Divisions, and Universities webinar series, several webinars focused on AICP exam prep were conducted in 2012 and 2013. Experienced instructors from the Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina chapters presented these sessions.

Recordings of 7 individuals sessions, all including “AICP Exam Review Series” as part of their title, are available on the Planning Webcast  YouTube Channel.

Past prep session presentations are available: 


Free Online Materials

The PA Chapter and its PDC have developed a set of study notes to help planners who are preparing to take the AICP Exam. The notes are based on several sources and address case law, theory, planning processes, public participation techniques, urban design, housing, budgeting, growth management techniques, zoning, subdivision/land development ordinances, transportation planning, recreation planning, economic development, environmental issues, quantitative analysis techniques, and demographics. The notes are a comprehensive starting point for someone preparing for the AICP Exam, and were compiled over several years by Lee Slusser and Dave McFarland, and were last updated in 2007. Many thanks to those who contributed to these notes. 


Other Online Study Materials 


APA AICP Exam Study Manual

The APA AICP Exam Study Manual is available to borrow from the PA Chapter of APA.  The manual contains a hard copy text and a CD with questions . PA Chapter members $10.00. Non-members $20.00. The manual may be borrowed for a three week period. To borrow the manual, complete and return the AICP Exam Study Manual Agreement and Order Form with payment. Questions, contact the Chapter office at info@planningpa.org or 717-671-4510.

APA is in the process of updating their study manual. A web-based version is planned for release in early 2014.


Study Materials from Other States