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Thread: AICP and LEED certification for planners

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    AICP and LEED certification for planners

    What are your thoughts about these certificates? I've heard mixed reviews on the AICP. Ive worked with certified planners that didnt know basic zoning principles etc. Its really just a test about planning theory and major court cases isnt it? What type of employers require it? In Australia, CPP (like AICP) is a joke and the maintenance fees are insane. Most employers dont even ask for it,but its 3 letters to next to your name. What about LEED certification? Ive seen recent grads with no experience except for university have LEED credentials.. I can see LEED for architects and engineers, but can someone explain the benefits for planners. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    You just several of us on here! I would do you homework before making broad generalizations about either AICP or LEED.

    Read up!
    http://www.planning.org/AICP/
    http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1815
    Last edited by nrschmid; 21 Aug 2009 at 11:12 PM.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    You just several of us on here! I would do you homework before making broad generalizations about either AICP or LEED.

    Read up!
    Thats why I am asking the question! Did you read it? Maybe you should "do you homework" on the English language. Im asking for planners opinions not some organisation that gets $500 plus for someone taking a test. Thanks again for not reading the quesiton. Relax man its Friday........

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by expat123 View post
    Thats why I am asking the question! Did you read it? Maybe you should "do you homework" on the English language. Im asking for planners opinions not some organisation that gets $500 plus for someone taking a test. Thanks again for not reading the quesiton. Relax man its Friday........
    #1. AICP and LEED-AP are exams administered in the United States, NOT Australia. If you have grievances with CPP, fine, but don't assume that AICP is the same exam.
    #2. The AICP exam tests a lot more than just "planning theory" and major court cases. Certified planners are expected to be proficient in many areas of planning, including but not limited to: current planning, long range planning, budgets, management systems, economic development, housing, historic preservation, transportation planning, environmental planning, environmental justice, ethics, urban design, and history, just for starters. In order to apply for the exam, professionals must have several years of "planning experience" which are met by four very strict criteria as determined by AICP.

    Certified planners also adhere to the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. They are responsible for maintaining a high level of integrity in their profession, and when appropriate, advocate for disadvantaged groups or for groups that cannot express their own opinions. In the United States, planners are not licensed, with the exception of New Jersey. Therefore, AICP certification is our equivalent of licensure.

    The AICP exam itself is not easy. It is a multiple choice test of 170 questions, 150 of which will be counted for the exam. The passing rate on the first try varies from 10-30%, and it usually requires several months of dedicated study.
    #3. The LEED-AP exam has a new format called the 2009 rollout. There are two different exams that need to be taken sequentially in order to earn the LEED-AP designation. The first exam is the LEED Green Associate Exam or LEED-GA exam. It is 100 questions and tests one knowledge of the LEED certification process. Buildings and sites are certified, professionals are accredited. Test takers are also responsible for knowing many of the rating systems for several of the credits for certification. Anyone can take the LEED GA exam. However, there is a test fee, a USGBC fee, and ongoing maintenance requirements, not to mention test preparation materials.

    The second exam is a specialized exam. With the 2009 rollout, professionals must have proof of projects completed to sit for the second exam. There are many different specialties to focus in. Neighborhood development is usually the more popular one taken by planners. However, new construction is also popular with architects, engineers, and landscape architects.

    In the New Construction Exam, ID Credit 1.2 states that 1 point will be counted towards a project's certification if there is one person on the project team that is LEED accredited. No additional points will be awarded for additional LEED-APs on the team. Typically, the architect or engineer who is the head of the team will be LEED-AP, which means that the LEED-AP designation will not carry the same weight on a project. At the current time, LEED AP is still more of a marketing tool for planners. However, as more and more neighborhood developments go through the LEED process, the role of the planner as LEED AP may increase.

    The LEED requirements are subject to change. I wrote a letter to the United States Green Building Council requesting that ID Credit 1.2 of the New Construction Reference Manual be amended to provide additional incentives for a project team to have more than one person with a LEED-AP designation. I have proposed that either fractions of points be awarded or a tiered system be implemented. I talk about this in length on the LEED forum on www.areforum.org.

    #4. Listen MATE, you need to be a lot more respectful on this forum or the moderators will put you in your place or ban your IP address permanently. Many planners have mixed feelings about AICP and LEED. However, there are still plenty of us who take both designations seriously. To some of us, it is our livelihood.

    I have contributed to Cyburbia for 2 1/2 years now, and I have rarely read a more foul and disrespectful post. If you have concerns about your exams and memberships, please express them in a more civil manner. What you do in Australia is NOT the same as what is done in the United States.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by expat123 View post
    Thats why I am asking the question! Did you read it? Maybe you should "do you homework" on the English language. Im asking for planners opinions not some organisation that gets $500 plus for someone taking a test. Thanks again for not reading the quesiton. Relax man its Friday........
    Moderator note:


    Do YOUR homework and read the forum rules.

    Link to the Forum Rules

    I recommend a review of Rule 2.10.

    Also worth a review is Netiquette and Cyburbia to give you a better understanding of this website's culture: Link

    Nothing in your original post indicated that you had made any effort to research either the AICP or LEED certifications and what really goes into them, particularly the recent reforms to the LEED program. Also, a search of the Cyburbia forums will reveal a treasure trove of opinions on AICP, especially around the time the test was changed and certification maintenance was implemented.

    I will also acknowledge that there are significant cultural linguistic differences in how Australians and Americans approach conversation, which is likely what generated nrschmid's reaction. I encourage all users to exercise restraint before clicking that "Submit reply" button.

    SR


    "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)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Thank you. Thats the response I looking for about the certifications. Yes I am familiar with AICP, I have worked in the USA a few years back with Aecom and also in the UK. Sorry to step on toes about the certifications. I just hope nobody picks up Randall O'toole's book "the best laid plans" or reads his views on the planning profession, that might really offend someone.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by expat123 View post
    Thank you. Thats the response I looking for about the certifications. Yes I am familiar with AICP, I have worked in the USA a few years back with Aecom and also in the UK. Sorry to step on toes about the certifications. I just hope nobody picks up Randall O'toole's book "the best laid plans" or reads his views on the planning profession, that might really offend someone.
    Why didn't you bother looking any of this up when you were working in this country? I find it revolting that you didn't do your homework back then, and you still didn't bother visiting the websites that I recommended on this thread. Instead you snapped back in your second post telling me to f*ck off. I felt like I wasted my time writing the last post. Not only are you arrogant and rude but lazy and ungracious.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  8. #8
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    I happen to have my AICP and LEED AP. There are a lot of advantages to having both. There are many Panners that take our roles very seriously and live by the AICP ethics and LEED principles.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Reviving the dead here...

    I've looked into LEED AP, but I read that the eligibility requires documented experience on a project. As a municipal planner...I wouldn't know how to go about doing this. Any insight?
    "The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

  10. #10
    I'm just gonna say it. AICP is a joke, judging by the quality of the individuals I've known who've obtained it (sorry, nrschmid). The maintenance costs are insane for the benefits. My take is that if you have an employer who is willing to pay for your upkeep and pay for you to go to the national conference, and you want to take time to go sit in class and hobnob with your "colleagues" (personally, I'd rather stay home and watch Netflix), then you might as well do it. It just is not my cup of tea, because APA is a completely empty-headed organization and it's not a license to practice, it's just a club membership in a club that doesn't give a shit about anything except extorting money from its members.

    As far as LEED, the reason you see people with zero experience with accreditation, is that it, too, is a joke. They changed the eligibility requirements a few years back, so it might be a little more respectable, but everyone and their cousin has LEED AP. The requirement that you "worked on a project" is as meaningless as it sounds. "Project Experience Definition Examples include working in an on-going, full-time role with the LEED Project team in multiple phases of the project including managing or leading the project design or construction team, or facility management teams by providing installation, supervision, auditing, consulting, managing or other leadership roles with the project team." So in other words, doing just about anything for a LEED project will qualify you. This is because the USGBC has no interest in limiting LEED membership, or limiting LEED certification for projects, because it all amounts to money for them. Also--and this is a broader discussion--LEED certification itself is a joke. Assigning points to a building based on "smart location" and "vibrant neighborhood pattern"? Yeah, I'm pretty sure they're all still shopping at Costco and buying iPhones. The USGBC is a company that created a rating system and the criteria and educational framework for people to use the rating system. And for what? A label that says, yes, you are, in fact, using green principles in the design of your facility. As if without LEED there would be no reason to do all the things that they recognize.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    I agree with chocolatechip 100%.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    AICP is a joke, judging by the quality of the individuals I've known who've obtained it (sorry, nrschmid).

    I really don't know what to say by that comment.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Ceretifications really help when you have to testify in court. And you will never be an 'expert witness' without them.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I think neither are worth the time or money. If you've got an employer that will pay you to obtain and keep up with the certification, sure, do it. If not, I wouldn't bother. In recent years I've had more and more people tell me they let their certification lapse because they just didn't want to deal with it anymore.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    AICP is a joke, judging by the quality of the individuals I've known who've obtained it (sorry, nrschmid).

    I really don't know what to say by that comment.
    What I meant is, judging by the volume of individuals I've known who are not especially knowledgeable, experienced, or talented who have AICP... notwithstanding your esteemed company. Nothing personal.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    What I meant is, judging by the volume of individuals I've known who are not especially knowledgeable, experienced, or talented who have AICP... notwithstanding your esteemed company. Nothing personal.
    I agree with you that these certifications are a joke, but comments on the supposed quality of individuals that have them come off as a cheap shot and don't really add anything to the discussion.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    I agree with you that these certifications are a joke, but comments on the supposed quality of individuals that have them come off as a cheap shot and don't really add anything to the discussion.
    How is it a cheap shot? I said plainly that I'm referring to people I know.

    Is this the next "everyone kick chocolatechip day"?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Neither LEED nor AICP are jokes. If you don't think they are worth it, don't bother to get them. They are what they are. I certainly don't hire people just because they have certification but it is a plus.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus
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    My example of why I am not pursuing LEED - $315 for a 1 day exam prep - which would come out of my own pocket.
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  20. #20
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    Neither LEED nor AICP are jokes. If you don't think they are worth it, don't bother to get them. They are what they are. I certainly don't hire people just because they have certification but it is a plus.
    This isn't exactly a rousing defense of these certificates.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    This isn't exactly a rousing defense of these certificates.
    Wasn't meant to be.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    So what relevance does a LEED certification have to an urban planner? Last I checked architects designed buildings, not planners.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    So what relevance does a LEED certification have to an urban planner? Last I checked architects designed buildings, not planners.
    It's not always relevant. But when you have something like a local green building requirement, it is helpful to have someone who can work with the property owners on LEED certification. Depending on the situation, a LEED ND (neighborhood design) could also be helpful.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    So what relevance does a LEED certification have to an urban planner? Last I checked architects designed buildings, not planners.
    Innovation and Design CREDIT (singular) is awarded to one person on a project team that is LEED AP, last I heard. No additional credits are awarded, no matter how many people on a project team are LEED AP. More than likely an engineer or an architect is already LEED AP so there is no incentive for anyone else to be LEED AP, including planners. LEED is a step in a right direction FOR SOME PROJECTS. I don't think it can, nor should, be applied across the board on every project.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  25. #25
    I think in coming years things like LEED, GISP and other specialized professional designations are going to become more desirable then the broad-based AICP.
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