So You Want To Be a Certified Planner?

While planning seems more intuitive than technical to many the layperson, Los Angeles planner Clement Lau describes what it takes to stay at the top of the profession.

"'Any idiot can plan!' That is the response I have heard some critics and cynics give when asked what AICP stands for. For those of you who are curious, if you do a search for 'AICP' on Google, the first item listed is the 'Association of Independent Commercial Producers'. This is perhaps appropriate given that very few people outside the planning profession actually know what AICP means. But as all planners should know, AICP refers to the American Institute of Certified Planners, which is the American Planning Association (APA)'s professional institute charged with the certification of professional planners, ethics, professional development, planning education, and the standards of planning practice."

"In order for a planner to become certified, s/he needs to do much more than just pass a 150-question multiple-choice exam. Even before taking the exam, candidates must meet specified education and employment eligibility requirements. For example, an applicant may only apply to take the exam if s/he has obtained a graduate degree in planning from a program accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board and have two years of professional planning experience."

Clement Lau goes on to explain the continuing education demographics of the field, the professional ethics code, licensing associations, and the continuing education requirements (including Planetizen's self-paced online course). "It is obvious that not any idiot can plan."

Thanks to William Adams (

Full Story: Any Idiot Can Plan?


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