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Thread: APA-AICP required continuing education proposal

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    APA-AICP required continuing education proposal

    All: I just received the electronic "Interact" from APA that lays out the proposed continuing education program/certification maintenance for AICP. This is a big deal and we all should provide feedback on it. I am very concerned about the additive cost it brings to each and every AICP member. There are also obvious employer implications as well. I am not sure our employers are going to pay for all of this required education. I am sure there are pros and cons here and I would like to read them.

    Mods: Not sure this is the right spot so feel free...............


    Certification Maintenance (From APA's Interact, December 6, 2006)

    The AICP Commission believes that planners should possess the knowledge and skills necessary to remain current in the practice of planning, demonstrate professional credibility through continuing education, and follow professional certification standards that are similar to those of other professional organizations, including planning organizations in other countries.

    To this end, the Commission is considering requiring certification maintenance through continuing education. APA chapter presidents and many AICP members support this initiative. The issue of requiring continuing education has been debated throughout the organization for many years. The report below lays out the proposed parameters of such a new program including how many credits will be required, how often members will have to report their credits, what would qualify for credits, and any exemptions that would be considered.

    Send Us Feedback
    It is critical now, that we hear from you and about this proposed program. In 2005, a survey of the AICP membership was conducted on the issue of continuing education. A good deal of this proposed program is based on initial feedback from the survey as well as conversations with members of the organization's leadership and research on other professional continuing education programs.

    Before a final decision is made about the introduction of new Certification Maintenance standards, the Commission would like to hear from members on your views of this proposed program. We are asking for your feedback to help us make a final decision.

    We strongly encourage your feedback as we develop the details of the Certification Maintenance program and as the AICP Commission makes its final decision on whether to introduce Certification Maintenance, and if so, how. Please send your comments to AICP-CM@planning.org. All comments must be received by Tuesday, January 9, 2007m in order to be considered.


    Click here to download a copy of the report that appears below (pdf)


    What is Certification Maintenance?
    Our communities are constantly changing and so too is the planning profession. New theories, new laws, new planning tools and techniques ó all are available to planners as we define and guide community change. The Commission of the American Institute of Certified Planners believes that planners, to be credible professionals, must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to remain current in the practice of planning. We believe that planners should demonstrate professional credibility through continuing education and should follow professional certification standards that are similar to those of other professional organizations, including planning organizations in other countries.

    What will Certification Maintenance mean to me?
    Certification Maintenance will mean that, in addition to maintaining AICP membership through dues payment and abiding by the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, AICP certified planners will also be required to maintain a minimum level of professional development training.

    Will Certification Maintenance and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) relate to one another?
    Certification Maintenance will establish the procedures for the new professional development requirements of AICP. CPD will no longer be used once Certification Maintenance is in place.

    How many credits will I be required to take to maintain my AICP certification?
    The Commission is proposing that AICP planners will be required to take at least 48 credits of eligible professional development activities in a two-year period. One credit is approximately equivalent to one contact hour of training. See below for how those credits may be earned.

    What if I am a retired AICP member? Will I still be required to participate in continuing education to maintain my certification?
    The Commission is proposing that retired members be exempt from the maintenance requirement. If you are a retired AICP member then you would be exempt from required continuing education to maintain your AICP certification. However, you would have to be recognized as a "retired" member as defined by APA: "You must have been an APA or AICP member continuously for 10 or more years, be 65 or older, and completely retired."

    Will there be requirements or restrictions on how my credits can be earned in a two-year reporting period?
    As envisioned now, half of the eligible credits will need to come from APA or APA-sponsored programs. The other half of the required credits may be from other registered educational providers. Up to 25 percent of the non-APA credits may be "self study" credits. There may be exemptions to who is required to register, such as local governments.

    What will qualify as APA programs?
    APA offers many educational programs throughout the year. These programs are geared towards the professional development of practicing planners and qualify for Certification Maintenance credits. Such APA programs include:

    APA Chapter Conferences and programs
    National Conference (sessions, workshops, symposia, mobile workshops)
    PTS Workshops
    AICP Symposia
    Tuesdays at APA
    APA and AICP Audio Conferences
    APA National Independent Study (e.g. APA audio tapes, CD-ROMs or online courses)
    APA CD-ROM training programs
    APA Division training sessions
    What will qualify as APA-sponsored programs?
    APA, its chapters, and divisions sometimes sponsor programs that are conducted by other organizations. Sponsorship means that APA or APA chapters or divisions have contributed to the development of the program or have supported it financially. They must fully endorse an APA-sponsored program.

    What are "self study" credits?
    It is proposed that self-study credits can be achieved by reading books or articles that support professional development. Two hours of reading time will qualify for one credit and a maximum of 12 credits may be reported as self study in a two-year reporting period. Self-study credits cannot be carried over to a next reporting cycle.

    Will I need to attain a minimum number of credits per year?
    No, as it is proposed now, you will not need to attain a minimum number of credits per year as long as you reach 48 credits in each two-year reporting period.

    Will there be any course requirements that must be met within a reporting period?
    The Commission is proposing a requirement of at least 1.5 credits be in current planning law and another 1.5 credits in planning ethics. The legal courses may be administered by other organizations. However, the ethics training must be conducted by an APA provider.

    How do I record my credits?
    There will be an on-line log system on the AICP web page you will be able to use similar to the current CPD program.

    If I am involved with leadership at APA, either locally at my chapter or nationally, will my leadership involvement count towards my Certification Maintenance credits?
    The Commission is proposing that if you are active with APA leadership, you will not be able to count the time spent in business meetings towards your credits. However, if there is professional development training sessions held for the leadership that would qualify for professional development, and then you could count those activities on your log.

    If I am a mentor to someone, or I have a mentor myself, can this mentoring time count towards certification maintenance?
    As we currently envision the program, mentoring will not be considered an eligible Certification Maintenance activity.

    If I am involved with volunteer activities outside of the organization, such as the Rotary Club, will I be able to count my time undertaking such volunteerism towards certification maintenance?
    As we currently envision the program, volunteer activities will not count towards certification maintenance.

    What if I am a teacher or professor? Can I use my teaching time to count towards my credits?
    If you are a paid teacher or professor, your work in teaching cannot qualify for credits. However, if you volunteer to teach a course which you prepare specifically for an event and are not paid for it, then you may use the qualifying credits towards your log. Certification Maintenance credit may be earned only once for teaching a particular course or seminar or for making a presentation of a professional paper. The amount of credit equals the length of the presentation in hours plus one hour for preparation.

    What if I gain more than the required 48 credits in a two-year reporting period?
    It is being proposed that if you gain more than 48 credits in a two-year reporting period, you will be able to carry over up to 24 of those extra credits to the next two-year reporting cycle. However, self-study credits cannot be carried over.

    When will the two-year reporting cycle begin?
    The goal is to get as much input as possible before the Winter Leadership meetings and have staff develop the program so the basics will be in place by The National Planning Conference in Philadelphia in April 2007. If the Certification Maintenance program is adopted after the review and consideration of the comments received by AICP members, the requirements will be officially instituted in January 2008.

    Will any of the credits I take in 2007 be counted towards the new reporting cycle that will start in January 2008?
    The Commission is proposing that credits gained starting with APA's national planning conference in Philadelphia in April 2007 can be counted towards the first reporting cycle, which will start in January 2008. This will provide a period of over two years and eight months to satisfy the initial 48-credit requirement.

    What if I have not completed my 48 required credits in a two-year reporting cycle?
    If you have not reached the required 48 credits within the two-year reporting period, you may have a four-month grace period to complete the credit requirement. However, each cycle will likely begin every two years starting in January 2008. Any credits needed for the preceding cycle received during those four months may not be used for credits in the current cycle.

    What happens if I have difficulty maintaining my certification due to personal reasons?
    There may be special instances in members' lives where personal reasons or hardship prevent participation in certification maintenance. Documentation may be required to grant the Certification Maintenance suspension. While various situations exist, the following list represents a guideline of situations in which a temporary suspension of Certification Maintenance training requirements may be granted:

    Parental leave. A suspension of six months may be granted for the birth of a child or child adoption.
    Military service leave. A suspension may be granted to participants on active duty and those on foreign assignments.
    Health. A suspension may be granted for reasons of ill health.
    Care leave. A suspension may be granted to members who need to stay at home to care for another person.
    Foreign Residency. A suspension may be granted to members living outside of the U.S. and Canada for a temporary period of time.
    Other reasons for suspension will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    If I have been granted a suspension due to an approved cause, will I still be considered an AICP member and will I still be expected to pay my APA, AICP, and Chapter dues?
    As is the case now, if you are granted a suspension, you will not be required to pay AICP dues during the suspension period. However, during this period, your membership will be suspended and you will not be able to use your AICP credential. You will remain a member of APA and will be required to pay APA dues. During the period of suspended membership, you will still be required to abide by the AICP Code of Ethics. You must reinstate your membership within four years and pay 20% of back dues owed since suspended status took effect. If you leave your membership in suspended status for more than four years, you will be required to retake the AICP exam and reenter the Institute following new member procedures.

    What if I become unemployed?
    If you become unemployed, your Certification Maintenance requirements may be waived during your period of unemployment. However, you will be required to apply for the APA/AICP unemployed member status and pay your AICP dues at the unemployed dues rates. You can continue to use your AICP credential as long as you maintain at least 25 percent credits such as through self study.

    Will I receive a CM certificate when I've completed each two-year reporting period?
    Yes. It can be downloaded from the web. AICP will not furnish paper certificates.

    How will I comply with the Certification Maintenance?
    We have developed two possible scenarios to give you an idea of how you may gain credits to fulfill the Certification Maintenance requirements. This provides just a guideline of how it would be possible to maintain your credits. Our investigation shows that chapter registration costs range from around $100 to $450, the national planning conference registration fee begins at $660. Some APA sponsored events are free and others have a small charge.

    Scenario I:

    Course offering
    Number of credits earned

    APA Chapter Conference
    15

    2 AICP audio conferences
    6

    Self guided reading/study
    12

    APA-sponsored program
    3

    Non-APA conferences
    12

    Total for 2-year reporting period
    48


    Scenario II:

    Course offering
    Number of credits earned

    APA National Conference
    36

    Self study
    12

    Total for 2-year reporting period
    48


    How do I know what programs will qualify for Certification Maintenance credit?
    As we currently envision the program, educational providers will be required to register with APA in order to become qualified providers of credits. This means that the provider and all their eligible educational offerings will be reviewed and, upon approval, will be entered into the online directory of approved credits to be accessed by all members. These courses will also be entered into APA's educational calendar so that members are aware of these approved programs.

    Must courses be registered in order to qualify for Certification Maintenance credit?
    As we currently envision the program, all providers will be required to register their courses in order for their credits to be eligible for Certification Maintenance. All registered courses will be posted on the online directory and on APA's educational calendar.

    Will there be a fee to become a registered provider?
    That depends. If the educational provider offers their training for free to AICP members, then they can qualify for registration without paying a fee to APA. If the educational provider offers their training for a fee, then they will be required to pay a fee to APA in order to become a registered provider.

    Why would APA charge a registration fee to providers?
    The new Certification Maintenance program will require administrative expenses. The Commission does not want to raise AICP dues for the purposes of covering the cost of the program. Therefore, requiring a registration fee from professional development providers is one fair way to raise some funds to cover the program costs. It also give us oversight to the programs being offered to help ensure that the quality of offerings is the best available .

    What if I am practicing planning outside of the United States?
    If you are a practicing planner outside the U.S., you will be exempt from the 50 percent APA or APA-sponsored requirement, but you will still be required to maintain your certification through professional development. If you are also a member of another planning organization that maintains a rigorous credential program (e.g. RTPI, CIP, PIA) and have to uphold Certification Maintenance for two organizations, you will be able to satisfy your AICP requirements through your host country's requirements as long as you maintain 48 credits over a two-year period.

    What if I drop out of the profession? What will happen to my certification status?
    If you stop working as a planner, you may maintain your AICP certification as long as you keep up with all the requirements, including the continuing education requirement. However, if you do not maintain your credits, do not suspend your membership, and do not use the four-month grace period, you will lose your AICP designation and will have to retake the AICP exam and follow new member procedures to reinstate your membership.

    What if I still haven't fulfilled my certification requirements beyond the four-month grace period?
    It is proposed that the online logging system will no longer be accessible to you after the four-month grace period is over. That means that you need to maintain external log details and prove that you have kept up with your Certification Maintenance requirements. However, if you do not do this within a four-year period, your AICP membership will be dropped entirely and you will be required to retake the AICP exam and follow new member procedures to reinstate your membership.

    How do I comment on this proposed program?
    We strongly encourage your feedback as we develop the details of the Certification Maintenance program and as the AICP Commission makes its final decision on whether to introduce Certification Maintenance, and if so, how. Please send your comments to AICP-CM@planning.org. All comments must be received by Tuesday, January 9, 2007, in order to be considered.

    What's next?
    Your comments will be forwarded to the AICP Commission for their review and consideration when they next meet in January 2007. Another report will be available to members for comment in February 2007. The comments of the second report will then be presented to the AICP Commission for their review and consideration at their meeting in April 2007. It is expected that a final decision on the Certification Maintenance program will be made in April 2007.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Those were my concerns as well. I sent an email with my comments, basically stating that while I support a requirement for continuing education, the 48 hours in two years is too much, particularly for those that would have to travel to obtain those, even with the 12 hours of "self study".

    I also don't like the fact that you have to rely on the training provider to register their course. I can see that being a problem because you may attend a training, but then the provider decides not to register.

    I say a much easier solution would be make the CPD thing a requirement. Leave it up the chapters and members to submit courses for approval.

  3. #3
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I just received the same message.
    Guess I won't be wasting any money on a frame for the 60-hour CPD certificate I received yesterday.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I support required CE since that will give AICP some additional legitimacy that it has lacked compared to other professional certifications in different disciplines.

    Three words: Training available locally.

    If you're going to require continuing ed, then you better make damn sure that people have adequate local opportunities to fulfill the credits. That means less money to Red China and more money toward professional development.

    I'll read through their proposal more and give my thoughts later on.

    "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 GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Better be really good for me to sit in my car for a 6 hrs round trip just to sit through a one day session for 6-8 hrs.
    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.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ah...yeah....

    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    I just received the same message.
    Guess I won't be wasting any money on a frame for the 60-hour CPD certificate I received yesterday.
    RJ, does your CPD certificate expire in 2009? If so, you should be covered until then....at least that's the stink I plan on making when I write in.....I think mine expires in 2008..... 48 hours in two years?? That is an increase in the number of hours required now.

    I also think that all CLE, NBI, Lorimar, ULI and other similar seminar providers be included in the list of approved credits
    Skilled Adoxographer

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    When I saw the message, I thought "there goes my AICP certification." My employer doesn't pay for out-of-state conferences, and all those that are in-state won't offer enough CE credits unless I attend EVERYTHING. Even then, there seems to be an unusual emphasis on watershed planning in continuing planning education in NE Ohio. Yeah, I might struggle to get the credits, but good luck broadening my horizons beyond the realm of riparian setbacks and floodplains.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus
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    This would be way too expensive $$$ for me to pay out of my own pocket.
    Last edited by JNA; 06 Dec 2006 at 10:16 PM.
    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)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    No dice....

    My employer already told me there wasn't enough money in the budget to pay for my membership so I guess I'm screwed.


    I totally agree with cololi's comments.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    What a bunch of crap. I'm in a fairly specialized field where it is hard for me to find any formal training. Much of what I have to do to learn new stuff is through networking or self reading of incredibly boring federal ligislation and regulation.

    I think this is set up to be a money grab by APA, to make you attend their training or conferences over others. Its dammed hard for me to get training that invovles extensive travel (few opportunities exist, or they are sanctioned by other groups such as TRB or ITE). Kind of reminds me why I quit the Transportation Planning section of the APA, a whole lot of nothing for your money.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I think this is set up to be a money grab by APA, to make you attend their training or conferences over others. Its dammed hard for me to get training that invovles extensive travel (few opportunities exist, or they are sanctioned by other groups such as TRB or ITE). Kind of reminds me why I quit the Transportation Planning section of the APA, a whole lot of nothing for your money.
    You said it perfectly.

    Off-topic:
    I wonder why I joined that section to begin with .




    Will there be a fee to become a registered provider?
    That depends. If the educational provider offers their training for free to AICP members, then they can qualify for registration without paying a fee to APA. If the educational provider offers their training for a fee, then they will be required to pay a fee to APA in order to become a registered provider.

    Why would APA charge a registration fee to providers?
    The new Certification Maintenance program will require administrative expenses. The Commission does not want to raise AICP dues for the purposes of covering the cost of the program. Therefore, requiring a registration fee from professional development providers is one fair way to raise some funds to cover the program costs. It also give us oversight to the programs being offered to help ensure that the quality of offerings is the best available .
    If they are going to require the mandatory education, the least they could do is lower the membership fees.


    Vote No.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    This makes me glad again I wish nothing to do with APA or AICP. Never mind for what I do ULI puts on MUCH better programs than APA
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  13. #13
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    We're having a discussion on this topic on our Chapter list-serv. With permission of the respondent, I've copied some of our comments below:

    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner's response to NNECAPA listserv
    I concur with the below comments. I am very supportive of mandatory continuing education for AICP members, but not the way currently proposed. Formalizing the current CPDP program would be the method I'd prefer to see promoted.

    Quote Originally posted by original reply to NNECAPA listserv
    I would like to comment on the proposed Certification Maintenance program currently being considered by the AICP Commission.

    I generally support the concept of requiring continuing as part of maintaining AICP status. I do NOT think that the current proposal is the way to do it.

    I believe that it has two critical flaws - the high number of required hours and the minimum number of required APA or APA sponsored programs.

    A minimum of 48 hours of continuing education in a two year period is too high. Devoting 48 hours to continuing education in a two year period is not always easy for a competent, busy planner to do for a variety of reasons. Finding the time in busy schedules or the money in tight employer budgets to devote to 48 hours of training could limit the number of individuals that can actually meet the requirement.

    Of bigger concern, in my opinion, is the requirement of a minimum number of APA or APA sponsored hours. No matter how small the number, any such requirement reduces the value of the Certification Maintenance program to that of a simple money making scheme. If the aim is to require education, than any valid provider of education programs should be acceptable.

    I can support the initiation of continuing education requirements but the specifics need to be changed before I can support the proposed Certification Maintenance program.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    """"Will there be requirements or restrictions on how my credits can be earned in a two-year reporting period?
    As envisioned now, half of the eligible credits will need to come from APA or APA-sponsored programs.""""


    Hmmmmmm......sounds like a $$ making scheme to me. This will basically exclude anyone who pays out of pocket.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    I suggest people send their comments to the AICP and your local chapter leadership. It seems that everyone is on the same page in terms of their concerns. The only way to possibly change this is to let them know how we all feel, particularly the local leadership who will be voting on this.

  16. #16
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    """"Will there be requirements or restrictions on how my credits can be earned in a two-year reporting period?
    As envisioned now, half of the eligible credits will need to come from APA or APA-sponsored programs.""""


    Hmmmmmm......sounds like a $$ making scheme to me. This will basically exclude anyone who pays out of pocket.
    Yeah, now that I've read over it I'm inclined to agree. I like NH's suggestion to formalize the CPD program rather than this current proposal.

    APA National is grossly overestimating the activity levels of local & state chapters in providing training opportunities. Also, in all of their ivory tower glory, they casually forgot that at least half of us are on taxpayer-funded, limited budgets. I'll be sending my thoughts on this to the Austin & San Antonio chapters, as well as TexasAPA.

    "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 GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  17. #17
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I'm concerned about this one too. Since the AICP designation is 'earned' by passing a test based on planning experience and an overall general knowledge of the discipline, what's to be gained by a mandate of 48 hours of non-specific training? Are we headed down the path of general practitioners and board specialties in arcane knowledge areas? Will we be any more marketable or credible as a result? I doubt it. Let your chapter and the national folks know how you feel about this one.

  18. #18
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I think that AICP is trying to get on par with other such designations, AIA, the bar exam, etc. Now, since I think that I might be one of the few being devils-advocate here, do not crucify me, but I do think that it is in some ways a good idea. To keep members active and at a certain level of competence is a good thing. Keeping up to date on planning issues and other technology is something that really should be required of someone with such a designation. Now is 48 hours a good number? Is the availability there for workshops? Both of those questions I think are up for grabs, and the finances of the whole thing is somewhat shady as well, but I think that it is a move in the right direction.

    Getting our profession more credibility is something that I personally don't think is a bad idea. The implementation of that idea has some flaws that need to be worked out though. At least we don't have to pass the AICP before we can practice. Just my thoughts.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I dont necessarily disagree with CE. In fact it is vital to any profession I think. 48 hours in 2 years is ALOT, first of all. So you are talking 6 8-hour conferences. And these cost money, big money. Half of them need to come from APA, we all know how much they cost.

    No mention of studying in a different (but related) field, or the pursuit of an advanced degree. If I'm enrolled in a Doctoral program in planning, should I have to sit through one of these BS conferences??

    .....and all kidding aside, we all know deep down that ALOT of these conferences, workshops, etc. are a waste of time and money. Think of everything you've ever been too....would YOU pay out of pocket to go???

  20. #20
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Another reply (also sent to APA) from our discussion on the NNECAPA list-serv:

    Greetings and thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed AICP Certification Maintenance Program,

    As someone who has long been a vocal advocate for a meaningful requirement for AICP continuing education, I greatly applaud the leadership of the AICP Commission for bringing this important issue forward. As a profession we have talked about it for far too long, and it is past time to take action and bring real credibility and meaning to the "AICP" credential.

    With this said however, I feel strongly that several aspects of the proposed "Certification Maintenance" present significant obstacles to many diligent and hardworking professionals - particularly those working in small communities and rural areas of our country. The program as proposed is heavily biased in favor of those working in larger jurisdictions and firms (who have the resources to afford sending staff to national conferences), and living in urban areas. For this initiative to be effective and supported by the membership, it needs to work for everybody. Otherwise it simply fuels the argument against having any requirement for AICP continuing education at all.

    A couple of specific points...

    48 hours in 2 Years is too much:

    Why the increased hours (from 20 to 24 hrs/year) in a shorter period (to
    2 yrs from 3)? It certainly isn't supported in the survey data where only 10% of the respondents agreed this was a desirable level. Taken in combination the increased hours in a shorter period become particularly onerous - particularly for those members working in small communities and rural areas who may only be able to attend a national conference (the easiest way to earn the most credits in one shot) once every four years (every other time it is offered on their particular coast).

    I also am left wondering how this compares with our allied professions who have similar requirements. In one unrelated example, my wife is a Nurse Practitioner who needs to have 120 hours pf continuing education in 5 years - and she is a health care provider who can write prescriptions!

    I have to ask what is wrong with the current CPDP (60 hours in 3 years), and why can't this simply be transformed into a required rather than voluntary program? It's simple, and more importantly, it's been working for the increasing number of members who are using it. As we like to say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Emphasis on APA Programs misses the mark:

    APA/AICP have worked very hard in recent years to expand their offerings for professional development, and should continue to make this a priority. But I think it is unrealistic to think that these offerings will be suitable, applicable and accessible to all who may be seeking educational opportunities - particularly when once considers the breadth of our profession. As the survey data illustrates, 78% of the respondents attended conferences or workshops sponsored by organizations other than APA/AICP.

    The feedback I am hearing is that many feel that this is simply an attempt for APA/AICP to corner a majority of the planning education marketplace (I'm not that cynical). Charging a modest fee to for-profit educators to offer credits may be appropriate, but reciprocity among the programs offered by allied professions should be granted where applicable.

    If APA/AICP's offerings are meaningful, accessible and affordable, then members will use them, but if they are not, this requirement makes a mockery of the meaning behind any form of mandatory continuing education and the program as a whole. I would urge the Commission to place a greater emphasis (and faith) in the suitability criteria and process used to review and endorse acceptable programs. As a community of professionals, we need to assume that members will accurately and honestly participate in the program (this certainly falls within our ethical responsibilities), and those who are found to have violated this trust should be sanctioned accordingly.

    Finally, this is an opportunity to make more effective use of the Chapters, and more importantly the PDO's, as a clearinghouse and filter for acceptable programs being offered in their respective areas. The Chapters are in the very best position to understand the unique needs of their members and make any necessary accommodations that will help them to succeed. I would encourage you to make this relationship more explicit, and to look to the current CPDP as a model to work from.

    Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to a continued dialogue.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I am certainly in support of a continuing education requirement. Is 48 hours too much? I suppose if I go to the state conference every year that is worth 24 hours (1 1/2 day conference). I do expect to get credit for the other training I get, whether that is attending the conference of another organization, or speaking at a conference, or taking a class either through a professional organization or university. I do not think it is right that the organization should be required to pay a fee for it to be accepted by APA. They won't, or they will ask me to pay it. Come on, how much trouble is it to provide a checklist to them and ask them to indicate whether it meets certain criteria?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  22. #22
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I'm sure that the local chapters do not want to see a big loss in membership as a result of this. The Michigan Chapter has several employees, whose jobs exist simply because we have a large number of folks who are in the APA and have to pay dues to the local organization.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    May 2002
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    Flint, Michigan
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    For what its worth, these are the comments that I sent to AICP:

    "1. Understand that I am strongly in favor of a CM program. As Iíve met people, the only real criticism that Iíve encountered is that there is no CM program, so I believe that we need this for professional reputation.

    2. The number of credits that are proposed (48 over two years) seem somewhat excessive. I have asked other staff members in my office what requirements their licenses come with, and I was surprised. In Michigan, Real Estate licenses require 18 hours over 3 years, Appraisal licenses require 28 hours over two years, and Physical Engineering licenses do not require any CM at all. Note that these are licenses, not certifications like AICP.

    3. The requirement that a retired AICP member be 65 is somewhat unfair, as an employee for a governmental agency in Michigan is eligible for retirement after 25 years of service and age 55.

    4. What is a registered educational provider? Does this mean that I can take a 3 credit class at an accredited university? Could this apply to MPOs that offer training, like the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG)?

    5. I donít mind mandatory credits in current planning law and planning ethics, but if 48 hours were required, then 1.5 hours of each seems like a token nod at these subjects. I would support more fully 36 required hours with 3 hours each of planning law and ethics.

    6. I donít mind if volunteer activities donít count for non-professional or civic groups, but what about volunteer time for governmental volunteer groups, like ZBAs? Iím on my cityís ZBA and its downtown design committee. How much of this time counts?

    7. I like the idea that time spent teaching counts. Are there any restrictions on the type of group? Does the presentation have to be to a governmental or educational crowd, or can I give a presentation on zoning law to the local Moose Lodge? What about if I give a presentation to a governmental group whose meeting I usually go to, but I donít comp those hours so that itís technically unpaid time?

    8. Under the example scenarios, Scenario 1 indicates that a Chapter Conference would earn the attendee 15 credits. Is that for the 2-year reporting period or for a year?"
    Maintaining enthusiasm in the face of crushing apathy.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    This is getting lambasted on the Va APA list

    I know my employer does not send folks to stuff and this would blow our budget. Lets see new computers or continuing ed? I just don't see how planners in small towns/communities or those who work in "non traditional" jobs could pull this off.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Our chapter has not begun discussing this yet. But I know that there is no way I would ever get close to getting 48 hours. Aside from the self-study (reading Planning magazine would probably satisfy those 12 hours), I would probably be lucky to do four hours. Because, basically, any training that cost money or involved travel would be out of the question. And I would be lucky to find that many hours locally. I have enough trouble just paying my dues and I make decent money. Entry-level planners who may have obtained their AICP would be hurt the most. I also think this would discourage more people from even considering obtaining certification.

    Futhermore, I work for a jurisdiction that has two to three hearings a week.. Actually, this week I went to four hearings. With that many conflicts, it can be very difficult to get away.

    If they require this, I believe that the dues need to be reduced to a nominal renewal fee, so that our limited resources, whether personal or governmental, could be devoted to training.

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