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Thread: AICP certification management

  1. #1
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    AICP certification management

    I just read an email from the director of the Bloustein Online Continuing Education Program (BOCEP) at Rutgers about the cost to education providers of AICP's Certification Maintenance program to certify their programs. To quote Leo Vasquez:

    APA/AICP plans to charge continuing education providers a $95 annual enrollment fee, plus $50 per credit per class. This doesn't sound like much. But when you add it up, the Certification Maintenance program could wind up costing the (Bloustein) Professional Development Institute $28,000 per year. That would mean raising our fees substantially to make up for these costs.

    The biggest impact would be on BOCEP courses. Because our courses had been approved for 14 credits under the old continuing education program, CM would increase our costs per course by $700. Because we average 10 to 12 students per class, we would have to increase our fees by at least $70 per person. But it could be more. Whenever an educational provider raises prices, the provider expects that some people who would otherwise take the course won't. So, to make up for the lost revenue, the provider increases the prices even more.

    Participating in the CM program would cost Leading from the Middle about $1,800 per course, or about $120 per person.
    To maintain your certification, you must take classes approved by AICP's Certification Maintenance program. The cost of AICP approval significantly raises the costs of classes. Who gets stuck with the cost? We do.

    Some amount of payment is fair. APA/AICP is using staff time to review applications, and I agree that we should help cover some reasonable costs. But Certification Maintenance should not use this program to make revenue. (If one small continuing education provider has to pay $28,000 per year, imagine how much APA/AICP could make from dozens of other providers. APA divisions and chapters will be forced to pay the same fees as everyone else in 2008.)
    So, that means that the cost of attending your state, regional or (ostensibly) national conference will go up, too.

    I agree that having the AICP after your name should mean more than the fact that you passed a test, but this is getting ridiculous. It will become an incentive to pass on AICP for some, especially planners who must pay for their own continuing education.

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  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmm.....

    Most of the seminar classes I attend only provide 6-12 credits and are one to two day events. The NBI, CLE and Lorman seminars are attended by up to 100 people, so the extra $170 could translate into $1.70 or so....per attendee, so I don't think those groups will be affected. Plus, I think they most likely already pay big $ for AIA, bar association, realtor and other related costs that must surely be higher than AICP? It would be nice to see a comparison with other organizations that require continuing education.

    A program that only has a dozen or so attendees seems inefficient to me If these are college classes that provide credit or classes that provide credit towards completion of some other program....like economic development, why would every course have to be approved for AICP credit? I attended the introductory IEDC course in January and there were nearly 100 attendees. I don't think the extra $8? per person for the week long course would have changed my mind on attending.....but then again, I didn't pay for it out of pocket.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by DecaturHawk View post
    I agree that having the AICP after your name should mean more than the fact that you passed a test, but this is getting ridiculous. It will become an incentive to pass on AICP for some, especially planners who must pay for their own continuing education.
    Since my fair community does not pay for any of it, maybe I could work out a deal for more days off
    - say one day of conference for one more day of vacation/comp time.
    I know it is not = in amount of $$ but at least it is a possible deal ?
    Oddball
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    i can see the other 49 states in the Union complaining about this, but NJ??

    They actually license their planners, so this should be a good thing, no?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    ...A program that only has a dozen or so attendees seems inefficient to me If these are college classes that provide credit or classes that provide credit towards completion of some other program....like economic development, why would every course have to be approved for AICP credit? I attended the introductory IEDC course in January and there were nearly 100 attendees. I don't think the extra $8? per person for the week long course would have changed my mind on attending.....but then again, I didn't pay for it out of pocket.
    I think differently. I would much rather attend a class with only 10-15 people. I don't care to be in a lecture hall with 100 others. I want direct contact with the instructor. There is also something different between a specilized course with a few attendees and a large introductory program like the Economic Development Basic Course. I expect to learn much more in a specialized program and I expect it to be at an advanced level, targeted to people like myself, with many years of experience.

    I raised objections when the initial certification maintenance proposal contained language about charging education providers to be certified. I was afraid AICP/APA would view this as another money-making opportunity. Frankly, I do not see what is so complicated about reviewing a course's content and determining that it is worthy of continuing maintenance credit. Most of these courses are far superior to the quality of many presentations at APA national or state conferneces. Unfortunately, planners are unlikely to find out. Charging these outrageous fees will mean that many of these programs (prviding the best continuing education for planners) will not be able to offer credits, or if they do, will have to substantially raise their costs. Let's remember that planners do not earn the same salaries as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and others with continuing education requirements. Still, we have to pay APA dues, AICP dues, and education costs that APA/AICP now wants to cause to increase! Not all of our employers pay for these things, and among those who do, tight budgets don't readily allow for more.

    It is time (as my tagline has long suggested) that APA/AICP realize that they need to be more efficient in providing services, and that they need to do all they can to reduce the price we planners have to pay to be involved in our profession or to seek and maintain certification.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Fees

    Some courses that are currently accredited must remain small. This isn't just a question of course charges having to go up, but a question of whether smaller organizations that currently can offer credit will be able to continue to do so, if what Leo reports actually comes to pass.

    AIA accreditation is not nearly this expensive. They have an annual fee that is based on the type of organzation you are and how many regions you conduct trainings in.

    I don't see how non-profit institutes will be able to continue to extend AICP credit if paying these fees per contact hour is the only way.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Today's the day to start logging CM credits on the APA website: http://www.planning.org/cm/foraicpmembers.htm

    It's not running just yet. Right now it's 8:35 am central time. Maybe I'm a little early. Hopefully I can do it over my lunch hour.

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    Prometric Lost Exam!!!!

    Beware guys,

    Prometric testing service just told my wife that she has to retake the whole exam since they lost it!!!!

    She completed her exam and then waiting to review and they told her that it is gone!!!!

    Be aware!!!!

    Sam

  9. #9
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am considering getting my AICP certification. One of my concerns is I live in a rural state that is more or less far removed from big population centers, and I wonder if I will be able to find continuing education to maintain AICP certification once I am AICP. My employer allots limited resources for us to attend conferences and I might be able to go to one conference every other year or so.

    It makes more sense for me to attend the Western Planners or Montana Association of Planners conferences, as they have more relevance to my continuing education than attending the Big Show (APA). I am concerned the almighty APA will not consider these regional conferences as worthy of continuing education credits. I can really only go to the Big Show when it is reasonably close to Montana (Denver, Vegas, Portland, Seattle, SF, etc.)

    Any thoughts from planners in a similiar situation?
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    I am concerned the almighty APA will not consider these regional conferences as worthy of continuing education credits. I can really only go to the Big Show when it is reasonably close to Montana (Denver, Vegas, Portland, Seattle, SF, etc.)

    Any thoughts from planners in a similiar situation?
    Have no fear, AICP has been accrediting most State chapter conference programs. Not all, but most. However, due to the cost of gaining the accreditations, your cost to attend those conferences will probably increase. Good luck.
    SOME say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate
    To know that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    Robert Frost (1874–1963) (From Harper’s Magazine, December 1920.)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well.....

    I'm 1/3 of the way to meeting CM requirements and I don't need to until January 2010. Vegas will get me most of the rest of the way. Glad I'm the boss
    Skilled Adoxographer

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    CM sucks. Many of us saw it coming. It is about money and not about professional education or being better planners.

    Issue: I need to be more conversant in flood hazard management; perhaps to become certified in the field. Only a small portion of the Flood Plain Managers' organization is AICP--not enough to justify paying the AICP bribe for the hours of study.Very limited budget in my current job. Do I go the CM route? Or do I learn something that will really help me in my job?

    --a charter AICP member

    BTW, how much does it cost the CM program to run full page ads in Planning Magazine?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Where do I start? The whole CM is a badly planned money grab by APA. It a way to force more people to attend the over priced national conference,where you can get most the year's CM credits. For those who work in jurisdictions and/or employers who cannot or will not pay for the CE classes or to attend the national conference, you are out of luck. For those working in rural, sparsely populated, or poor areas, you are also out of luck. I am blessed to work for somebody who can and is willing to pay for this. My previous employer could not because of financial constraints. Further, I didn't make enough to pay for classes or conferences.

    While I agree with the idea behind CM, its execution speaks to APA root problems. APA tends to focus on large cities, not rural area where the acutal planning need is. While I am a member of STaR, APA's support of it has been tepid and half-hearted at best. An illustration of APA's problem is PAS. While it good idea, it is so over priced, that those who acutally need the service cannot afford it.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    An illustration of APA's problem is PAS. While it good idea, it is so over priced, that those who acutally need the service cannot afford it.
    That's why you have cyburbia

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    The costs do seem to be out of reason. I work for a large law firm that employs thre planners. The firm sometimes puts on "Continuing Legal Education" programs in house that are approved by the Florida Bar. Some of them are useful to planners. I think that the firm will participate, but getting the Bar to deal with the AICP paperwork and then pay that much for Bar provided credits may be a stretch.

    It might cost an organization a considerable amount of time just to get the approval (or nonapproval). Has anyone out there attempted to get a program approved? How difficult was the process?

  16. #16
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Richi View post
    The costs do seem to be out of reason. I work for a large law firm that employs thre planners. The firm sometimes puts on "Continuing Legal Education" programs in house that are approved by the Florida Bar. Some of them are useful to planners. I think that the firm will participate, but getting the Bar to deal with the AICP paperwork and then pay that much for Bar provided credits may be a stretch.

    It might cost an organization a considerable amount of time just to get the approval (or nonapproval). Has anyone out there attempted to get a program approved? How difficult was the process?
    We've done them several times down here in Texas. It's pretty easy. From what I understand, your law firm does not have to work through the Bar to get it approved for AICP--they can apply themselves. The firm could probably open it up and charge others to attend the training.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    NYMetro's Letter regarding CM

    Sorry for the length...but this isn't posted online. Send your emails to APA if you support it. Hopefully they will get the message soon.




    March 27, 2008

    Mr. Graham Billingsley, President, AICP
    Ms. Sue Schwartz, Past President, AICP
    Mr. Paul Farmer, Executive Director, APA
    American Planning Association
    122 S. Michigan Street
    Chicago, IL 60603

    Re: AICP Certification Maintenance - Comments of New York Metro Chapter

    Dear Graham, Sue and Paul:

    I am writing to transmit the concerns of the Executive Committee of the New York Metro Chapter about the adopted Certification Maintenance Program (CM). These concerns were expressed in a unanimous resolution passed by the Executive Committee on March 17, 2008. The resolution and this letter reflect our own experience with the requirements and the administrative implementation of the program, as well as member comment on the operations of the program so far.

    While most NY Metro Chapter members support some form of mandatory certification maintenance, there is an overwhelming and growing number that opposes the format approved by the AICP Commission. We understand that the program’s administrators have indicated that some fine tuning to the program over time might be considered. However, we strongly advise that the AICP Commission act quickly to take a step back from the implementation of the current program and that it evaluate the carefully considered comments about the impacts of implementation on both members and CM providers. There is every reason for concern that the program, as currently outlined and administered, will create harm to AICP and its members.

    Please note that the Chapter has registered detailed objections on several prior occasions (see our letter to you dated March 20, 2007). Despite our objections to the program, the Chapter has become an approved provider, obtained CM approvals for four events so far this year and has gained experience attempting to make the program work. We want to make this program work but our experience has only heightened our concerns.

    We agree with the concerns expressed in the Planetizen editorial. This article presents a number of reasonable alternatives based on the experiences of other CM and continuing education programs. We believe that these concerns and resulting petitions should be discussed openly at AICP and APA in an appropriate forum as soon as possible. Further, our own experience and feedback from our members in the last months raises at least two additional concerns:

    One concern has to do with the requirement by which educational providers must register with National APA/AICP in order to become qualified CM providers. This fails to recognize the fact that these organizations currently provide a service to planners by providing courses and workshops that meet the diverse educational needs of Chapter members. In particular, the fee structure and other rules are forcing a reduction in the number of quality professional offerings to our members. NY Metro has had many experiences with our long-time collaborative organizations in the last months in which they want to offer AICP CM credits but cannot do so because they are not accepted providers. We have sent you a list of these organizations, and we have asked them to apply to you for acceptance; but this is an unwieldy and unfortunate requirement. These third-party educational providers should be encouraged to continue offering programs to planners rather than being asked to incur a financial and administrative burden. The New York Metro Chapter believes that requiring National APA registration and approval sends the wrong message to these important educational providers/partners and may ultimately act as a disincentive to their continued collaboration and participation with our chapter. We recommend that the Commission not require that “Other Providers” meet the currently onerous requirements. This should be reviewed as quickly as possible.

    At the same time, we have also observed that there is a serious issue concerning the quality of APA CM programs. For instance, we recently sponsored the APA web cast on “Design Guidelines for Small Towns and Rural Communities.” In addition to the poor quality of the recording, the AICP Certification Maintenance program content was very basic and presented simple planning principles. On the other hand, we have learned that the Long Island Planning Federation sponsors a series of courses that have been turned down for credits. A quick review of the manual used for these sessions reveals far more sophistication and depth than the APA CM-certified web cast event. Yet, any AICP members taking this Long Island seminar will earn nothing toward CM, even though the program was approved for Code Enforcement Officers continuing education credits, and attorney CLE credits. You may review the manual designed for this program online at: http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/Planning...n2007color.pdf.

    A second concern is about the costs that members will incur in order to keep up their AICP membership under the current CM requirements. As noted in the Planetizen editorial, provider costs will have to be passed down to the members in registration fees, etc. In addition, most employers, particularly in the government sector, do not reimburse staff for conference fees or costs of continuing education credits; they do not provide bonuses, pay increases or other monetary reimbursements to members of AICP; they do not allow attendance at these events during work hours or pay for membership fees in professional organizations. These costs are all borne by the individual planners, and under the current CM plan, many planners expect that the cost of maintaining AICP membership will be too financially burdensome to bear, particularly for the many planners who do not have these fees offset by their employer. We are concerned that the effect of the new structure will be to reduce diversity in a profession already hard-pressed to meet society's standards in this regard. As the economic penalties of maintaining certification take hold, those remaining with the AICP after their names will be increasingly those with the luxury of time and money to obtain CM credits—a more exclusive club and fewer competitors with whom they have to share the profession.

    NY Metro takes pride in the quality of its educational offerings and in the scope and diversity of its collaborations with major organizations in the city and region. We want to continue to serve all our members in the most effective and cost-efficient way possible. It seems only prudent that AICP take a step back, be more responsive to objections and criticism, and revise its program before more damage is done to the profession.

    Thank you for your careful consideration of this matter.

    Sincerely,



    Ethel Sheffer, AICP
    President
    New York Metro Chapter
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  18. #18
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by tsc View post
    Sorry for the length...but this isn't posted online. Send your emails to APA if you support it. Hopefully they will get the message soon.
    The letter covers the same type of complaints we have had....the state college here, FSU, with a planning program, has not been able to find a way to offer classes and pay for the designation so that we can get the credits for them. The 'webonars' have been simplistic and agenda driven at best.....

    I would say that a similar letter should be online for us to sign electronically and send to APA...however, they have been completely unresponsive to anything so far. They act like the Russian Central Command, their arrogance is very disheartening.
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  19. #19
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Here's a FREE way to get your Planning Law CM requirement. I'll be there (in spirit--it cuts into cocktail hour),

    http://www.floridaplanning.org/calen...sp?EventID=597

    Now I just need a way to get those ethics CMs.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  20. #20
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    Google Earth Training Certified?

    I have to wonder where AICP gets off telling us that Google Earth Training offered by PlaNetizen is okay but that other resources are not. To me, a class on using mainstream software is not acceptable to use for AICP Certification Maintenance.

    In case I sound derogatory toward PlaNetizen/Urban Insight, I don't mean to be - the problem isn't them, the problem is the management of the AICP-CM system and the perception that it is only there to make money, not to serve those of us that are certified planners. I would imagine that they would offer the class regardless of whether they can get it certified or not.

    @tsc: by chance has AICP responded to your letter? If so, can you post it?

    Andrew Rohne, AICP... for a little while longer.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I would not be surprised if she does not get a response, I've tried on several occasions to contact them, only to get replies that don't answer my questions directly, or ignored completely.

    This frustrates me to no end. I have a lot invested in my AICP yet I can't get an answer. Sometimes I feel like taking a day off and heading to Chicago just so I can talk with someone face-to-face. My luck it would be on some bizarre holiday and the office is closed.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Sometimes I feel like taking a day off and heading to Chicago just so I can talk with someone face-to-face. My luck it would be on some bizarre holiday and the office is closed.
    I know that feeling. I fully intend to drop by the Windy City this October to take the Professional Transportation Planner exam and release my bonds from the APA and AICP. Unfortunately, the exam is on a Saturday, so I won't be able to drop by and tell them what they are doing to the credibility of AICP.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    I recently signed up for a Lorman training on subdivision law. The brochure said it was approved for continuing education credits for, among others, the State Bar and AIA. For AICP it said to call the company's Wisconsin number. It turns out they won't apply for AICP credits unless an attendee asks them to because it is so expensive. It seems to me that if the legal and architectural professions can make this work in a cost-effective way, APA ought to be ablt to do it too.

    I got my credits. And the seminar sucked, but that's another matter.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus
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    I am surprised someone has not invoked that classic Bushism of

    "AICP you're doing heck of a job."
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  25. #25
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    I recently signed up for a Lorman training on subdivision law. The brochure said it was approved for continuing education credits for, among others, the State Bar and AIA. For AICP it said to call the company's Wisconsin number. It turns out they won't apply for AICP credits unless an attendee asks them to because it is so expensive. It seems to me that if the legal and architectural professions can make this work in a cost-effective way, APA ought to be ablt to do it too.

    I got my credits. And the seminar sucked, but that's another matter.
    Sorry the seminar was so bad. Too bad you didn't go to the Lorman seminar on subdivision law last month in Helena. I was one of the instructors. Dude, I rocked hard!!
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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