You missed my point - which wasn't to slam the AICP per se (or anyone with AICP)
Well, you did, and I am offended as well.
Rather, my point was that I don't think that licensing is a good idea - at least, not at the national level - be it by the APA or others.
What profession has a national LICENSE (not to be confused with membership or certification)?
Having a single license exam would be like making a civil engineer take an exam that tests on civil, structural, mechanical, etc. engineering (the same way a planning "license" would inherently be testing community planning, site design, environmental, historical preservation, economic development, etc. etc. etc.).
(1) Engineering is so vast (civil, mechanical, metallurgical, aerospace). This is even far more specialized than architecture. In most states, you can't sit for a civil engineering exam if you have training and experience in mechanical engineering. There may be exceptions but I'm not going to get into title and practice acts or reciprocity.
(2) Most of the PE exams can be taken in one seating with (2) four hour sessions. The engineers are allowed to have open book, but that doesn't make it any easier. There is a TON of heavy calculations that it is probably impossible to memorize EVERYTHING. ARE 4.0 has 7 different sections. LARE has 5 sections. It can take MONTHS just to prepare for one section. You have to pass EACH section before you are licensed.
Last year I wrote and taught a 5-hour AICP exam workshop at my state planning conference and 20 planners from 3 states attended. Yes, you DO need to know the insides and outside of MOST types of planning (with the obvious exception of international planning). With noted assistance from two brilliant planners, I wrote the study material for the following areas:
Fiscal, Finance, and Budget
Land Use Planning
Open Space and Recreation Planning
Planning Agency Management
Spatial Areas of Practice (new to exam)
That comes out to 19 sections for planning. Do you really want that many exams? Do we have specialized licenses for planners? Would we have separate education and training requirements for licensure similar to the PE exam (i.e. in order to be a licensed historic preservation planner you have to graduate from an accredited historic preservtation planning program and practice historic preservation planning for X years working for a licensed historic preservation planner)? Or do we follow the architecture route where we can enroll in any accredited planning program, take the required coursework (NEEDED ultimately for the exam), practice any of the APPROVED types of planning by a licensed planner for X years, take a general planning licensure exam (in separate sections) and then be able to practice ANY type of planning under the sun?
Your comment actually shows this - by noting one area of planning that is your focus (urban design), and implying that I couldn't cut it because my focus is in another area of planning. (Notwithstanding the fact that AICP exam tests a hell of a lot more than just urban design ).
(1) The AICP exam is 170 questions multiple choice, and the urban design questions on the exam are basic site design terms and some physical site planning history. I work as a planner and designer and think the urban design questions on the AICP exam are irrelevant to most planners. The LARE is better equipped to test ACTUAL design skills through its site design and grading sections (Sections C and E respectively). These two sections are in vignette form so you have to do the actual DESIGN work as part of the exam.
(2) By making the exam more rigorous and complex (either as a standalone exam or in independent sections) forces the test taker to MASTER each test area. Yes, that might mean he/she might have to take the section again...and again..and again until they pass. This is a LICENSURE exam. Despite our paper deliverables, there is now a considerable amount of professional liability on the table. Maybe it would take a few years to pass everything, but in the end the license exam churns out the BEST and BRIGHTEST planners who ARE capable of moving from transportation planning to economic development to historic preservation.