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Thread: AICP certification management

  1. #26
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    Unfortunately, this whole 'we're going to approve it before you can get credit for it' hasn't done anything for quality control or maintaining better-than-basic educational requirements. I've been looking at quite a few seminars, workshops, and webinars, and it has been hit-and-miss on whether I'd think I'd learn something. Granted, I've been primarily sticking with my interests, but some of the stuff that is getting out there and getting credits is not what I would consider appropriate for a planner with 2-4+ years experience (the minimum required to get AICP).

    We're all professionals, isn't the decision of whether something is appropriate for certification maintenance something we can handle? AICP has already sent the message that CM-eligible items will not be free, which is irritating, since my PE colleagues get credit for just about everything that is free.

  2. #27

    Leaving AICP

    My agency which is located on the east coast, only sent planners to Vegas who were doing presentation. I had a poster exhibit accepted, so I was Ok'd to go to Vegas. I did not go to Philadelphia. I did not get enough CM's at Vegas to even come close to maintaining my AICP. There are some courses and seminars being given by the local chapters here, but in my experience most are during the day and not very convenent to my location. It is extreamly difficult for me to justify taking off 1/2 a day and driving X miles to listen to seminar that has little to do with my job function, which has been the case so far. I did not attend the legal or ethics sessions at Vegas, there were other sessions going on there that were much more relavant to my job. The local university here that does have planning seminars and sessions has refused to pay APA's fees so they don't count. My sessions last year concerning CPTED which is function of my job were disallowed by APA. I have had my AICP for about 15 years and I am fully prepared to allow it to expire at the end of this year. I know a number of others who are going to let it expire also. APA's inflexable stance and their fees make this too difficult to even attempt.

    I have to add my voice to those of us that belive that this was a way to force people to attend the convention. I support having the convention in different parts of the country but my agency does not allow everyone to go every year.

  3. #28
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    Know the feeling

    I know that feeling of not able to find things that are appropriate for my job. I found a few things that I will have to pay for out of pocket just to get some credits (not job related, just inexpensive), but right now it is looking like I may not renew my AICP next time, since I likely won't have the credits.

    Perhaps they should have tried TESTING this idea before making it a mandatory requirement, or phase in the number of hours gradually. Part of the problem is that this was a big change that was forced on everyone at a very quick pace. Nobody has had chances to adapt to the changes, nobody knew the fee structure or how it would impact things, nobody knew how bad this would work, and nobody knew how unwilling AICP would be to programs approved by other related disciplines (eg. AIA, ASLA, ITE/TPCB, etc). Planning is a very applied discipline, and right now, I can't go to very many things that would be approved for Professional Transportation Planner certification and use it for AICP. That is truly asinine, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm.....

    Ok, I've been thinking about some of our reactions to the certification management requirements of AICP and a few thoughts:

    A recuring theme that I keep reading is that "my employer won't pay for _____." The architects, engineers, realtors, appraisers, financial managers, bankers, accountants, economic developers and a whole host of other professions numbering in the hundreds I'm sure, somehow managed to garner the credibility and have successfull programs.

    A certified accountant or architect or engineer or any other certified professional is either going to have their dues and required classes paid by an employer or negotiate a salary that will allow them to stay current in their chosen field. This is made easy for them due to the fact that most states have a requirement for these professions to be certified and be current in continuing education.

    In my opinion each chapter of the APA/AICP should have done an informal survey of each jurisdiction in each state to determine who pays for dues and education and who does not pay. Many state chapters already have AICP member e-mail lists that would have allowed this kind of survey to be fairly easy. Once jurisdictions or private firms were identified as NOT paying for AICP dues and/or continuing education, an AICP representative/chapter president could have contacted the appropriate people to make a case for certification and maintenance. Further, a policy could have been developed to exempt or delay an AICP member from certification maintenance upon receipt of proof that their employer wouldn't pay for continued education, on the condition that the employee not represent themselves as AICP while working for that employer or the employee be encouraged to negotiate a higher salary in exchange for the employees formal use of the AICP to the benefit of the employer.

    I think AICP telegraphed the potential for a mandatory certification management the day they started doing the old voluntary continuing education program. So for the last eight or so years, if you were AICP and didn't negotiate payment of AICP dues and more recently payment for certification classes, or negotiate a higher salary that would allow you to keep AICP, that's your fault, not AICP.
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  5. #30
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The question is not whether there should be a continuing education program for AICP, but how it should be administered. The objection with the process that was put in place is that it has significant cost implications for members - many of whom are already pinched by APA's and AICP's costs of membership. These problems are further compunded by AICP's insistance on charging education providers if their programs are going to be counted toward meeting CM requirements. Just like planners, many of these organizations run on shoestring budgets.

    It may be nice to think that an employer will pay the cost of professional memberships and attendance at conferences or educational programs, but the reality is that very few actually do. Most planners are employed by public agencies that undego brutal budget scrutiny. Planners (or public employees in general) have to struggle to negotiate decent pay, health care, and other benefits. Conferences are perceived as a perk and have largely been cut out of many budgets. And in the current economic climate we are likely to see more cuts, going much deeper than training. Look at the laid off planner support thread.

    Apa/AICP has shown little sensitivity to the plight of the typical planner. If they had, they would have created a program that:
    1. accepted credit earned through any credible training program, regardless of provider, without imposing a fee on that provider.
    2. allowed planners to earn a majority of their credits through planning activities that have no cost, such as writing, speaking, teaching, or volunteer work in planning.
    3. required, at most, attendance at one state or regional planning conference.

    AICP has put me in the position of deciding whether to pay for continued certification or deprive my family - no home remodeling or no vacation or no visiting the parents at Christmas. Am I resentful? Hell yes. In the end my value as a planner does not hinge on four letter, but on twenty years of experience and my accomplishments.

    Anyone want to propose a session on alternatives to AICP for the next conference?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #31
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    One more to add...

    In reality I think both of you (Cardinal and The One) are right. There are issues of employers not paying, and there are administrative issues. I think lots of people welcomed the CONCEPT of certification maintenance, but the administration and costs from that have made it prohibitively expensive for most, and the lack of content (likely due to the expense to providers) has made it prohibitive for others to be able to justify the current crop of CM-approved items.

    I also think that there are issues with the current crop of approved items and their applicability back to our positions. There is nothing that I have found thus far that I could pay for and bring it back to the job such that I can get my employer to pay for it. There are some items (Planetizen's Google Earth web seminar) that are questionable in the first place, as well. I am a department manager, and I can approve professional development items, and I even have the budget for it. However, I cannot approve something 'because I can get AICP credit for it'. I have found lots of things I want to go to that would help me in my current position. None of them are approved for AICP, but all of them are approved for Professional Transportation Planners, Engineers, and a few others. I guess you could say that the current crop of approved items are out in left field, and I'm the pitcher. I can do things that apply to the bases and short-stop, but I can't do things that apply only to the outfielders.

    I still like the idea of us - the professional planners - making a decision if something should be used for professional development. That sort of system needs to be backed up with some paper trail (such as a certificate from a provider and attendance records being kept by a provider - not very difficult to provide). We should also be open to audits - if AICP wants to question our use of something for CM, we should be able to defend it (if something IS appropriate, the defense would not be difficult at all). Granted, it allows more of a chance for abuse, but it is much more accessible to all.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yeah....

    I also don't see why AICP couldn't just make a statement that if AIA, CLE, ASLA, CEcD, APA, PE, CFM, IACET or AICP (others too) certify a course, it will count towards AICP certification maintenance, including law and ethics. I REALLY don't get why that can't be considered???? Not doing something like this just adds to the argument that they are only looking for conference attendees and money from an elaborate system of verification. Here's an idea, how about a partnership with AIA on this training stuff or do the two organizations even talk any more??
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    I also don't see why AICP couldn't just make a statement that if AIA, CLE, ASLA, CEcD, APA, PE, CFM, IACET or AICP (others too) certify a course, it will count towards AICP certification maintenance, including law and ethics. I REALLY don't get why that can't be considered???? Not doing something like this just adds to the argument that they are only looking for conference attendees and money from an elaborate system of verification. Here's an idea, how about a partnership with AIA on this training stuff or do the two organizations even talk any more??
    I'm guessing, but I think it has something to do with making more money through CM fees at the expense of making less money on membership fees. I've heard a number of people that are either not taking the AICP to stay out of this, or those (even one further up the thread) that are going to let their memberships expire this year or next year, since they won't have credits or don't want to mess with this system.

    ...at least I didn't say "that would make too much sense!"

    I wonder if we can even get to membership data. We can't, to my knowledge, get minutes to the APA or AICP commission hearings (I haven't tried emailing anyone, but they are not available on the web). For an organization that pushes for public involvement and accessibility, they sure maintain a high degree of secrecy within the business dealings.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    .... or the employee be encouraged to negotiate a higher salary in exchange for the employees formal use of the AICP to the benefit of the employer.

    So for the last eight or so years, if you were AICP and didn't negotiate payment of AICP dues and more recently payment for certification classes, or negotiate a higher salary that would allow you to keep AICP, that's your fault, not AICP.
    Salary is a fixed amount, there is no provision at all in the personnel rules for professional certification salary bonus.

    AICP never was or has been a requirement of employment or advancement.
    Never was encouraged either. It seems to me that they almost could care less if at all.

    I still payed out of my own pocket for membership (for 10 yrs) and conferences.

    I am still on the fence about it.

  10. #35
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by rohneas1 View post
    I wonder if we can even get to membership data. We can't, to my knowledge, get minutes to the APA or AICP commission hearings (I haven't tried emailing anyone, but they are not available on the web). For an organization that pushes for public involvement and accessibility, they sure maintain a high degree of secrecy within the business dealings.
    Read the Code of Ethics... their lack of transparency shouldn't be all that surprising given that the Executive Director is also the Ethics Officer (checks & balances? save it for something quaint like the Constitution). Not to mention that when the Code of Ethics was originally placed on the APA website, it was in a restricted members-only section.

    "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)

  11. #36
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Shhhh. You people aren't getting it. You can claim CM credits without having to attend training. There are too many AICP members for them to check everyone. Shhhh.

    Now, when is my tee time at the Blue Monster during APA Florida in Miami?
    Annoyingly insensitive

  12. #37
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    I've let my frustration known to our friends in Chicago on many occasions over this. They are not very responsive. When you ask direct questions you do not get direct answers, just some canned talking-point off of a shelf that does not adress your original point. I, like Rohnas1 work in transportation and there is very I can find that is specifically related to transportation planning tht is offered for AICP credits. If I am having a problem finding this, in a region of 5 million that has specialized in transportation issues for nearly half of this country's known existence. How the heck can other Transportation Planners keep up?

    I've also found that There are hardly any sessions in my area on anything. They bring up tuesday night at the APA, yet to attend I need to take off two days and attend a night session in the middle of the week in Chicago. I would also need to get a hotel room and not get a weekend rate for one hour of credit. We're talking about a $400 minimum expense plus two vacation days to hear about a bike path someone is planning by the Des Plaines River, hardly worth it. You can read about things these days and send authors e-mails if you're really interested in a topic for more information or to ask questions.

    I re-upped in June. I am going to give it a year of trying to keep it. I figure after the year, they will see the negative impacts of the system are hurting their membership or make substantial changes. If not, I'm done. I can get the Michigan Professional Community Planner certification (PCP) or join the new Certified Transportation Planners organization.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  13. #38
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    I agree that I have no option to "negotiate" training funds. With the cuts in local government here, I count myself lucky just to have a job. Even when things were great financially, anyone who tried to get more money was helped out the door because there were always more planners waiting in the wings. I'm one of the many who objected to the required credits, but APA didn't listen to its members then and still doesn't listen. A reciprocity with AIA would be great, but APA's lack of interest does seem to support the money-making argument.

    That said, we've found some ways to get our AICP's the minimum credit as cheap as possible (other than RichmondJake's option - lol). I searched "ethics" credit on the CM website and found a free online one that covers all of the required ethics credits. We've paid for several $180 CD's from APA, and while that is a lot it can be used by every planner here and is much cheaper than sending a few of us to a conference.

    Thanks to our wonderful Florida legislators, there are frequent state-wide sessions explaining the new legislation and how to respond. Those are usually at low costs and the benefit can be clearly demonstrated, so we send the AICPs to bring back the info and get the credits. I keep hoping this will go away but see no signs of that.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Solar, can ya help us out and post a link to this free ethics training online? I would be ever so greatful. I've found the training interface to be pretty difficult to operate. Does anyone else feel this way or am I just an old crumudgeon?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Shhhh. You people aren't getting it. You can claim CM credits without having to attend training. There are too many AICP members for them to check everyone. Shhhh.
    I'll let the darn letters disappear before I stoop to the low of lying on something like this. I refuse to lower my standards to that of the APA's and AICP's level just to keep 4 $%#ing letters after my name.

    I attended training courses (and the like) for well over 50 hours in the past year. At least the 50 that I've counted are things that all my engineering colleagues are using for the PE (professional engineer) version of certification maintenance. Absolutely none of it is available for AICP because a large part of it is put on by our state DOT, and they do not have the budget to pay the CM fees for the one or two AICP transportation planners that attend. Why is it that Engineers and Professional Transportation Planners get credit for these things, but AICP doesn't? I understand (and generally support) the requirement for law and ethics, but for the other 29 hours, I should be able to pull from the 50 that I've already done.

    Oh, and you're quite ballsy to post this on a public forum. Presuming the AICP commissioners are reading this... Okay, they're probably not, otherwise the complaints would have stopped months ago

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Solar, can ya help us out and post a link to this free ethics training online? I would be ever so greatful. I've found the training interface to be pretty difficult to operate. Does anyone else feel this way or am I just an old crumudgeon?
    You are not a crumudgeon.

    Their interface is slow and terribly annoying. My personal favorite is how it shows web training through the state that it is based in, rather than in a non-state category.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 31 Jul 2008 at 1:41 PM. Reason: double reply

  16. #41
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Solar, can ya help us out and post a link to this free ethics training online? I would be ever so greatful. I've found the training interface to be pretty difficult to operate. Does anyone else feel this way or am I just an old crumudgeon?

    No problem. It was put on by a law firm in California called Richards, Watson & Gershon. Some of the info was very California-specific but other info was helpful for any location. Here's a link to the website registration: http://www.vodium.com/login.asp?lib=pn100571_rwg

    I also think the interface is difficult to maneuver around, and it took me some time to find this. I just went to the webinar and it looks like it is still available for viewing.

  17. #42
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    One More to Add...

    Here's another set of items to add to the growing list of problems with the current system.

    I just got a flier for the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana planning conference, but it lacks any CM hours. The flier says that it has been submitted and we have to wait for the final program for final hours. This conference is an hour away (in Louisville), so it is very convenient, and the price is fair. However, 2 months out (when it is a great time to get it on my schedule and make hotel reservations), they don't know how much, if anything, will be approved.

    So the question is, do I register (likely using my own cash and vacation time, although I'd try to get work to pay for it), or do I wait, potentially being stuck driving from a hotel that is far away from the conference center?

    This could be avoided by eliminating the pre-approval process.

    Oh, and SolarStar, thanks for posting the link - I'm watching it now.
    Last edited by rohneas1; 10 Aug 2008 at 9:13 AM. Reason: Added last line of text.

  18. #43
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    The Michigan APA is in the same boat, they can put in their agenda that they have applied for lets say 14 credits, but they cannot tell you which seminars they will get accepted. They also don't give any information about if any of the classes would be running in cocurrance meaning that you would not have the opportunity to get all the credits. They want you to register early as possible, but you don't get enough information to tell whether or not you will just be wasting your money. As a transportation planner I don't have the same needs as a typical planner, so if I outlay $600 at a minimum for a three day conference, I want to know I am getting something of value in return. CEU credits in themselves are not valuable if they don't allow you to be more effective in what you do.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  19. #44
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    How much of a problem is APA having with AICP CM and the AICP exam?

    Well, I think this may answer that question:

    http://www.planning.org/Jobsonline/a...htm?AdID=37865

    "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)

  20. #45
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    HEY DAN

    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    How much of a problem is APA having with AICP CM and the AICP exam?

    Well, I think this may answer that question:

    http://www.planning.org/Jobsonline/a...htm?AdID=37865
    Dan, how about this for a job? Think about it....you could use Cyburbia as a sounding board for some of the issues and become a hero to planners everywhere by fixing a strange system Three full day's a week with some travel mixed in.....the other two day's could be spent working at the local dirty book store (please don't ban me...just a joke)

    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  21. #46
    Cyburbian
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    Oh nice!

    Suburb Repairman ... that's unreal! I bet there are all types of agreements to be signed regarding confidentiality associated with this position!

    -Gatr

  22. #47
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    AICP has apparently expanded the ways to earn CM credits (including those that are not registered with AICP for CM)....

    http://www.planning.org/cm/programchanges.htm

    http://www.planning.org/cm/howtoearntable.htm
    "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

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner View post
    AICP has apparently expanded the ways to earn CM credits (including those that are not registered with AICP for CM)....

    http://www.planning.org/cm/programchanges.htm

    http://www.planning.org/cm/howtoearntable.htm
    Thanks for posting this. I had just checked this yesterday or the day before, and the page has been updated since then.

    It appears that they are moving in the correct direction. It sounds like we can actually attend things that aren't pre-approved (based on the third row of the table). This is definitely a step in the correct direction. They need to take the 8-hour limit and shove it, though, as that is not very much for those that fall outside of mainstream planning concentrations.

    Knowing what we've seen of this mess so far, I'm sure the AICP is going to do something to take two steps back now that they've taken a step forward.

  24. #49
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    The Michigan Chapter has been patiently waiting approval of some 16 credits for their annual conference. I logged onto the AICP site to see what has been approved and there were six hours approved. You could only get a maximum of three hours because the courses would run concurrently.

    I called the Michigan Chapter for some advice and was told AICP has not yet approved all of the courses, just the course for the first day! The conference is now less than a month away and I'm calculating that if I stay in a cheap hotel and get some cheap transport, I should be able to do this for $800. $800 is way too much to spend to get 3 hours of credit (approximately $267 per hour). There could of course be more available, but I can't count on it.

    I could also go for a day registration, but I may lose out on the possibility of grabbing even more credits. I just hope the other ten would not be concurrent, but who knows if they would even be approved. If the other ten are not concurrent, I could get 13 hours, so each hour would be a more affordable $61.50.

    I'm trying to be a good boy and follow the rules. It may end up I quit this just due to the beauracracy and cost and go for the CTP instead.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  25. #50
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    The Michigan Chapter has been patiently waiting approval of some 16 credits for their annual conference. I logged onto the AICP site to see what has been approved and there were six hours approved. You could only get a maximum of three hours because the courses would run concurrently.

    I called the Michigan Chapter for some advice and was told AICP has not yet approved all of the courses, just the course for the first day! The conference is now less than a month away and I'm calculating that if I stay in a cheap hotel and get some cheap transport, I should be able to do this for $800. $800 is way too much to spend to get 3 hours of credit (approximately $267 per hour). There could of course be more available, but I can't count on it.

    I could also go for a day registration, but I may lose out on the possibility of grabbing even more credits. I just hope the other ten would not be concurrent, but who knows if they would even be approved. If the other ten are not concurrent, I could get 13 hours, so each hour would be a more affordable $61.50.

    I'm trying to be a good boy and follow the rules. It may end up I quit this just due to the beauracracy and cost and go for the CTP instead.
    I wouldn't worry too much - it's normal for APA to be a little behind on getting CM approvals. Last year, the CM system began just before the MAP conference, but I was able to get CM credits for all of the sessions I attended. I think if you register for the whole conference, you'll get credits for everything. See ya there.
    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.)

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