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Thread: AICP or No AICP

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Richard Carson's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1997
    Location
    Vancouver, Washington
    Posts
    33

    AICP or No AICP

    Read one planner's discourse on why the AICP designation is not worth having. The author, Rich Carson, is a planner with 30 years professional experience and he say NO.

  2. #2

    AICP or No AICP

    Yes, you are right about one thing, if you are going to become an ass kissing, political hack, you don't want to have that AICP designation holding you back. AICP means that you are a planner, serious about being a planner, and that you are experienced and don't suck at it. No one is crying because you are not one of those Rich.

    If there is only one thing that my AICP designation does for me, separating guys like me from guys like you , then it's worth it to take the test.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,978

    AICP or No AICP

    It is true that planning departments - and by extension, planning, is being replaced by a more comprehensive approach that incorporates community development, economic development, architecture, engineering.... Maybe as a result we won't have quite so much of the repulsive and sterile development that has plagued us for the past few decades.

    How does AICP fit into this? Is a planner a specialized member of a team, like an engineer or an architect? That might be the traditional role of AICP; a specialist in land use and zoning. I say land use because that is perhaps the most distinct function of the planning profession. Face it, things like site planning are done by architects, engineers and others just as much as by planners.

    What I would like to suggest is a new role for planners. Planners need to become the "big picture" people -- not necessarily the managers, but the people who can bring all of the professions together. Maybe that means specializing in nothing, but having knowledge of everthing and how it all fits together.

    I gues what I am saying is that right now, if planner's work is done by non-planners, AICP does not have much distinction. What sets us apart? In the future, AICP may continue to be a designation for a specialty in land use. Or perhaps it will come to identify those professionals with the ability to think comprehensively and pull various disciplines together to enable a vision.

    I will become a member of AICP, just as I have obtained other certifications. I don't bother putting the initials behind my name. They don't hang on my wall. Frankly, they don't mean very much to me. Right now, thier only function is to open the door to a few of the jobs that list certification as a requirement.

  4. #4

    AICP or No AICP

    Wow. What civilized discourse. No room for a difference of opinion HERE, apparently. I haven't yet really given much thought to whether or not it's worth it , though I'm inclined to go for it next year for the reason Michael Stumpf indicated. However, the presence or absence of AICP after one's name is no indicator of whether or not someone is an ass kissing, political hack. It also does not necessarily demonstrate experience or "seriousness" about planning. It means that you are a planner who was a good standardized test-taker on a particular Saturday one May, and who assigned some importance to the designation for any one of a myriad of potential reasons.

    I've known just as many serious planners "who don't suck at it" - no wait, more - who are not AICP as those who are.

    You are entitled to take pride in earning your designation. But I'm really turned off by the arrogance it's apparently engendered.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    29

    AICP or No AICP

    I think this is a bit harsh. Rich is quite correct that planning has one heck of a lot to do with politics. I've dealt with communities within our jurisdiction that have internal politics you wouldn't believe and you'd damn well be able to understand them and work within them if you want to get anything accomplished.

    The very fact that elected officials make the final decisions on land use causes planning to be political. There's no way around it.

    As for AICP, the day my employer pays the dues, I'll take the test.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Richard Carson's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1997
    Location
    Vancouver, Washington
    Posts
    33

    AICP or No AICP

    Thanks. You have eloquently made my whole point. Having AICP behind your name may just disguise who you really are.

  7. #7

    Registered
    Nov 2001
    Location
    coffee county, ga
    Posts
    16

    AICP or No AICP

    Dear God, what are we to do?

    I am AICP with an MPA, which I am sure kills all the purists. However, I worked hard to get enough experience and pass the test. At the time, I was elated because it was a goal I had set eleven years before I passed. Now some time has passed and I can reflect more deeply.

    Frankly, I would rather have it than not have it. It demonstrates competence and expertise in several disciplines. I don't think planners are pigeon-holed in professional advancement by certification. It merely provides some employment security if prior advancement by an individual has been stifled by politics or some other misfortune.

    The certification is marketable by the individual who holds it. However, I think thatAPA & AICP are the cause for diminishing returns. If real professional planners would quit bellyaching and giving the old "I don't get no respect" routine, we'd probably get more respect. Let's respect ourselves first. Further, APA & AICP is reducing certification's credibility with watered down tests and a poor approach to professional development. It's all about money. What do I get for my dues today? An opportunity to let APA/AICP insiders make some extra dough.

    I have resented some of my past employers hiring computer programmers to run a GIS, or hospital administrators who write CDBG applications, and then call them planners.

    True, there are many certified and uncertifies planners who suck. I may be one of them. However, the best part about earning the AICP designation is that it ensures that all planners are at least created equal.

    I'd rather have.....

    a A.S.E. mechanic working on my car....
    a M.D., D.D.S., etc. workin' on the bod.....
    a P.E. building my road...
    a W.S.I. trying to save me from drowning....

    get the picture? It's consumer oriented.

  8. #8

    AICP or No AICP

    My employer will pay my APA & AICP dues and give me a 5% raise when I pass the exam. That is why I am taking the AICP. .

  9. #9

    AICP or No AICP

    As a new planner, I'm looking for a reason to put out the extra effort to get certified and get my MPA...thanks for the inspiration!

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