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Thread: How do they calculate years of planning experience required for AICP exam?

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    How do they calculate years of planning experience required for AICP exam?

    Hi,

    I have masters in planning. I am trying to see if I have enough experience to apply for November 2009 exam. I am not sure how exactly APA calculates the 2 years requirement for those with masters degree. I have to include experience from 2-3 employers. I have like 6 to 14 months of experience from all these employers. After combining all I may have 2 years of experience. Does anyone know how they calculate? Do they calculate days or months?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by iplan View post
    Hi,

    I have masters in planning. I am trying to see if I have enough experience to apply for November 2009 exam. I am not sure how exactly APA calculates the 2 years requirement for those with masters degree. I have to include experience from 2-3 employers. I have like 6 to 14 months of experience from all these employers. After combining all I may have 2 years of experience. Does anyone know how they calculate? Do they calculate days or months?

    Thanks
    I think you answered your question. They count by years. On the application it asks for start dates and go from there. Remember, for each employer you list, you need a letter verifying you were indeed employed there for the dates that you stated in the application and what exactly you did there and have them send it out, not you. You may need to due the leg work like actually typing the letter and handing it to your former employer, but check APA's website, they have clearly defined guidelines on what they consider work experience.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Are these full time positions or a combination of full time positions with internships? If you graduated from a PAB accredited MUP program you have to have 2 years of full time experience AND the experience needs to meet the 4 criteria that define planning experience. If your school is not PAB accredited, you need 3 years of experience. AICP also lists several areas (design, GIS, landscape architecture) which do NOT count towards this experience. This experience will count against you on your application and employer verficiation.

    You can include internships in your application, but they will only count towards professional planning experience if they meet all 4 criteria (just like the full time positions). However, internship experience is pro-rated as a percentage of the work week (see AICP website for more details). I have about 2 full years of internship experience, but AICP made it very clear that they would scrutinize the internships even harder. I decided to wait until I had enough experience at my full time job (3 years for a PAB accredited BUP) to submit the application.

    You can prepare your application online and save it. I did this last June and submitted in July. Fortunately, AICP lets you submit your application at the very earliest at the beginning of the month for your anniversary date. For example, if you started work on February 28th, 2007, you can submit the application on February 1st, 2009.

    Bottom line, I don't think 14 months is enough time. I imagine you can take the exam with less than 2 years of experience if you worked a full time job + internship simultaneously or two full time jobs (40 hours each) simultaneously.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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    Thanks a lot for advice.
    I joined a company in the third week of a month and left on 2nd week of the month. Do they still calculate these incomplete months? I have 14 months with one company, part-time 1 year experience which will be I guess 6 months when you count, and hopefully by July I will have 4 months. So its barely 2 years depending on how they count the months I joined and left the employers. I do have some international experience before joining masters degree in planning as well. I may be able to take out a month or two from there.

    Also, If they think I'm ineligible do they refund the fee?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Yes the refund the money, but my question is, what do you get out of joining AICP? If it were me, sounds like you have a lot of work and we don't really know what you have done in that line of work. I guess what's in it for you other than a $400 price tag to take the test, and dues around 300 each year?
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  6. #6
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    Can you include the beginning and end dates (including year) for each position? AICP allows you to round up to the nearest month when submitting the application. Again, if your 2 year anniversary is sometime in the middle of this month you can submit the online application as early as 3/1/2009. However, AICP will not give you credit for days of the month you haven't worked at the job. There is a built-in calculator in the online application that ensures you have the minimum days, months, and years of experience to meet the professonal experience requirement, but I don't recall it differentiating between full and part-time jobs. AICP staff determine whether you meet the criteria for a part-time job/internship.

    The following is from the AICP FAQ site:

    Prorated and Part-Time Experience
    Prorated and part time are interchangeable terms. AICP requires that you convert your part-time or prorated planning work into a full time equivalent based on what is considered full time in your area.

    For prorated/part-time to full-time conversion:

    IF 40 hrs per week is full time in your area
    THEN 20 hrs per week over 6 months
    EQUALS 3 months full time equivalent planning experience

    For dual positions part-time to full-time conversions:

    IF 40 hrs per week is considered full time and your job is (e.g. Architect/planner)
    AND 50 percent of your time over 1 year is spent on planning projects
    THEN 20 hrs per week over 1 year
    EQUALS 6 months full time equivalent planning experience

    The conversion examples listed above may be used in any combination of percent or fraction of time to arrive at the full-time equivalent. Keep in mind that the objective is the total years of professional planning experience AICP requires based on your level of education.


    I am assuming as of March 2009 you have 14 months of full time experience + 12 months of part-time experience? Doing the calculations you will have 14 + 6 months = 20 months of full time equvalent experience as of this month, and 22 months of experience by July. I "think" I know why mentioned July since that is usually the deadline for the November AICP exam, and I was in a similiar position a year ago Unfortunately, it would still be 2 months short of the 2 year requirement, which means you would have to apply during the following application window for the May 2010 exam. When you DO submit, your employer needs to verify, among other things, that you worked at least 20 hours per week.

    Again, the time worked is only part of the equation. All positions, including internships, need to meet all 4 criteria. It is very hard for internships to do everything required for an AICP candidate. I spoke with some planners on cyburbia that included internship experience in their application. Most of them said AICP gave them credit since they were doing full time work as intern, not just filing maps or answering questions at the front counter.

    As Raf mentioned the verficiation letters from all of your employers need to be sent directly to AICP in DC. Usually you can just write the letters yourself (which is an abridged version of your online application), have the employers sign the letters and have them mail it to DC. The wait time to hear back on your application status is officially 6 weeks. In reality, it can take anywhere from 10-12 weeks. If your application is denied, AICP will state in writing as to why your application is not apporved, at which time you have 48 hours to fax an appeal to the decision.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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    It sure helps!

    First job: August 15, 2006 to August 11, 2007 : 20 hrs/week
    Second job: September 18, 2007 to 15 December, 2008: 40 hrs/week
    Third job: March 01, 2009 to Hopefully at least to July1,2009 40 hrs / week

    Unfortunately I cannot put my full time internship of 3 months as I took credit for it.

    As, for raf's question why do i need to get AICP, well, why not. I know with this AICP CM, it going to be a headache. But I am not opposed to giving exams, taking training, and certifications. One thing, with these activities you always end up learning something or the other. After graduate school, I have realized now I really have to put some effort in picking up a book. With exams and certification, at least I'll make a point of preparing / reading for something.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I don't think AICP cares if you earned credit for the course, but you should probably give them a call just in case. Which jobs were internships and which jobs were full time?
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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    I did not include internship at all because I got 3 credits for it and it shows in my transcript as well. I think they don't let you count if you have gotten credits out of it.

    other wise it was
    May 22, 2006 to July22, 200

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    First Job: 6 months equivalent full time experience
    Second Job: 15 months full time experience
    Third Job: 4 months full time experience (by July)
    Total: 25 months full time experience (by July)

    Theoretically you could apply as early as June. Was the first job an internship or just a part-time position? Are you 200% sure that EACH of these jobs meet all 4 planning criteria? We don't know what you did in each of those jobs. That's what Raf was concerned with. AICP told me they discourage several jobs on an application because it becomes harder to weigh each job against the 4 criteria and weigh each job against the other.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Jeesh, I am glad I am a charter member. How do you get an employment verification letter from a dead supervisor? A now-defunct organization? But I do have fun with employment applications that want all those details.

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    The first job was required assistantship in planning program. I know this kind of experience qualifies because on of my colleague also put similar experience for her AICP eligibility. I am 200 % sure about my two other (19 months) jobs that they meet all 4 planning criteria. I'm only concerned about the part time assistantship (6 months). But I decided I'll take my chances and submit the application anyway because even if I'm not eligible I will get refund. In this process I will at least have my paperwork done from my previous employers. One of my supervisor has left the job and I have to track her down to get her letter.Anyway, I'll see how it goes. If all goes well and I have the job till Jan 2010 then I can apply for May as well without the part time job experience.

    But thanks a lot for all your replies! helps a lot!

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Why must it be sent directly to APA? I am trying to get all my hens in a line by contacting people early, and working to get things ready now, but I don't need to send it until July...

    Should I be telling my past employer to hold on to the letter? Why not have him send it to me and me get the packet together and send it off together? Are they really that worried that people will make this stuff up? Call the guy if you don't believe that he wrote it...

    I am counting Internship experience in my application because it was professional experience and I did not get credit for it. Not just coffee grabbing and map making. I think that APA should allow a lot more things to count towards their requirement, but I guess that just shows how shortsighted they are sometimes.

    Also, where is the application located? If I want to apply in July, I can fill it out sooner? I only see information on APA for the May exam.
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    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    Why must it be sent directly to APA? I am trying to get all my hens in a line by contacting people early, and working to get things ready now, but I don't need to send it until July...

    Should I be telling my past employer to hold on to the letter? Why not have him send it to me and me get the packet together and send it off together? Are they really that worried that people will make this stuff up? Call the guy if you don't believe that he wrote it...

    I am counting Internship experience in my application because it was professional experience and I did not get credit for it. Not just coffee grabbing and map making. I think that APA should allow a lot more things to count towards their requirement, but I guess that just shows how shortsighted they are sometimes.

    Also, where is the application located? If I want to apply in July, I can fill it out sooner? I only see information on APA for the May exam.
    I'm pretty sure that I sent in all of my employment verification letters myself. I seem to remember that they simply had to be from a supervisor or HR and on letterhead.

    As far as applying early, you can apply early but you can't apply for the November exam until the window for the May exam has passed. You may be able to go online and start the application process (filling out information and writing the "essays" on why how your positions fulfilled the professional planning criteria. Even if you can't start the online application, you can start writing the "essays" in Word, which I would recommend anyway since you have the spell check function.

    A final word of advice, be patient. APA is very slow. Know this upfront and don't expect them to review your application early, or even on time. If you expect they are going to be slow it will save you a great deal of frustration. This is also true if you submit early. Just because you submit early does not mean that you will be reviewed/approved early.
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Write the employer verifcation letters yourself. These need to be carefully written since AICP scrutinizes them against your online application. Send the verification letters to your previous employers. They need to sign the letters and mail them to AICP.

    The AICP staff is very slow, and there are not enough people staffing the department to sift through the thousands of applications they receive each testing cycle. The four criteria are also very broad, so they need to make sure that each verfication letter and online application meet the intent of the criteria, and this takes time. Having the employer verfications letters come from the employers themselves is proof that the employers can vouch for your experience (otherwise, what is to say that you just submitted everything yourself without giving the employers a heads up).

    Personally, I prefer AICP to be strict in terms of planning experience. Ellgibility for licensures in engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, and surveying are even more restrictive. Although I do site design, survey work, and mapmaking, I also have a ton of traditional planning work. With AICP now under my belt, it is proof to the employer/client that I understand the basic principles in MANY areas of planning, even if I don't currently work in that planning speciality. Now I feel much more confident applying to entry/mid level planning jobs in transportation, economic development, housing, HP, etc.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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    For the May 2009 exam AICP gave about 3 weeks for the application window. They kept pushing back the date for the online application to open, but didn't push back the final date for applying. Complete B.S. IMO. I unfortunately didn't know what the required essays would be about and was a bit rushed getting those done. You will need to write an essay (minimum 150 words) on each of the 4 work experience requirements below. You will need to do these for each employer. If you have the time I would start working on the essays now so you can apply as soon as the window opens.

    As others mentioned it takes awhile for the application review. I am going on 8 weeks right now. I was told I would get a response early this week, however I am still waiting.

    Influencing public decision making in the public interest.
    Recommending specific actions or choices to elected/appointed officials, private sector representatives, or others regarding public decisions concerned with social, economic, or physical change in the public interest.

    Employing an appropriately comprehensive point of view.
    Appropriate comprehensiveness requires: (1) looking at the consequences (e.g., physical/environmental, social, economic/financial, governmental) of making a proposed decision; (2) conforming a proposed decision to the larger context in which it will occur; and (3) treating multiple policies, actions, or systems simultaneously when interlinkages are too great to treat separately. It does not require looking at everything at once if the above three criteria are met with a proposal, plan, or program of narrower scope.

    Applying a planning process appropriate to the situation.
    This means a process which is appropriate to its place and situation in: (1) the number and order of its steps (e.g., problem/opportunity definition, goal setting, generating alternate strategies, strategy choice, implementation, evaluation), (2) its orientation to the future, to value change, and to resource constraints; (3) its quality of research and analysis; and (4) its format of policy, program, or plan proposal.

    Involving a professional level of responsibility and resourcefulness.
    This means initiative, judgment, substantial involvement, and personal accountability for defining and preparing significant substantive elements of planning activities.

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