How I passed the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) even if I am not from the United States – Benefits of passing the AICP exam

( Put Your Name Here ) , AICP

One of the perks or benefits of passing the AICP exam is you can put the letters “AICP” after your name. People in the planning community will immediately know that you endured the preparation and passed the actual exam. People outside the planning community will ask about the meaning of AICP and it is still cool to tell them about the AICP exam and why it is important.

Having an AICP distinguishes yourself from other planners without AICP. It is not a license but a certification. It certifies that you passed and met the planning standards of the American Planning Association. There are jobs in the United States that prefer to hire AICP certified applicants than non-AICP passers. It is also said that AICP passers get higher income than non-passer.

That is if you are living or working in the US. I am not. I am living and working here in the Philippines.

I am already a licensed Urban (Environmental) Planner in the Philippines. I am working as the City Planning and Development Coordinator (City Planning Director / Head) in my City. What is in it for me to have an AICP?

First is the (modestly) bragging rights. Whenever I am invited as speaker in meetings, conferences, or conventions; it is nice to hear the word US Certified Planner (AICP) in my introduction. It looks good as part of my credentials in my resume. It is a good topic of conversation with colleagues. Hence, the reason I wrote this 3-part blog.

Second is the Planning updates that can be accessed in the APA website. There are numerous interesting topics that can be accessed in the website. It gives you a glimpse on how developed countries tackle problems through urban planning. It also gives you an idea that somehow there is commonality of challenges between developing and developed countries. The difference is how each country approach these challenges. There is a treasure of knowledge and ideas from the website.

Third and last is the access to the Certification Maintenance (CM) topics. These are up to date Planning topics and challenges discussion which has several themes. As an AICP passer, you are now required to earn CM to maintain your AICP. There are free CM on-line seminars, however most of them requires payment.

I am a City (Urban) Planner in a Developing Country earning a very modest income. I am a father of three kids and has limited financial capability. I cannot prioritize paying the CM on-line seminars with my existing salary.

On June 24, 2020, I received an email that my AICP membership has lapsed. I can no longer use the letters “AICP” after my name. I am saddened that I am in this situation. I am now in the process on reinstating my AICP membership with the least cost possible. Aside from financial issue, I also neglect to monitor my CM seminars and explore other ways to earn credits. Perhaps I’ll write a Blog Entry in the future on How I Reinstated my AICP.

Having an AICP is great if you are planning to work and live in the United States. Having an AICP gives you a lot of advantages if you are in the US. If you are outside the US, it gives you recognition and prestige that your skills and capabilities are at par with planners in other countries.

I took the exam as a personal challenge. I worked hard for it. I am planning to get it back.

The most important benefit for me is that I learned and proved that I can pass the AICP. I accomplished it even if I am not from the US.

If I can do it, So can you.

To Learn on How to Apply for the AICP exam: https://cityplanningcoordinator.blog/?p=325

To learn more on How I prepared and passed the AICP exam: https://cityplanningcoordinator.blog/?p=332

To Learn more about AICP Specific Benefits: https://www.planning.org/aicp/why/

Author: cityplanningcoordinator

A city planning and development coordinator (City Department Head) in a medium-size fast urbanizing city in the Philippines. A certified US Planner, a Philippine licensed Environmental Planner, and a Project Management Professional (PMP).

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