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Thread: APA membership

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    APA membership

    My APA student membership is up by the end of this calendar year and APA has been pestering me to continue membership (though this time as a planning professional - dues are higher). I know others have asked this in the past but how important is this membership? Would I do well without it?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Slideruler View post
    My APA student membership is up by the end of this calendar year and APA has been pestering me to continue membership (though this time as a planning professional - dues are higher). I know others have asked this in the past but how important is this membership? Would I do well without it?
    Unless your employer pays it or your AICP you don't need it. Invest your money in an organization that would probably return more, like ULI.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    It depends on what you mean.

    APA membership will not improve your chances of getting a job in any way, shape or form. Some employers also will pay for your membership (mine used to).

    The main advantage to membership are Planning Magazine and cheaper rates for APA-related functions, plus access to some (but not much) web resources. So if Planning Magazine and attending APA functions are important, then keeping your membership may be worthwhile.

    If you don't read the magazine and don't plan on attending any APA lunches, seminars, conferences, etc., then it's probably not worth it.

    Also, keep in mind I think APA dues are scaled based on how much money you make.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I think the main value is for your next job. APA helps to validate your career. If you get AICP that goes a step further. If you are staying where you are at... don't worry about the APA...
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tarf View post
    The main advantage to membership are Planning Magazine and cheaper rates for APA-related functions, plus access to some (but not much) web resources. So if Planning Magazine and attending APA functions are important, then keeping your membership may be worthwhile.

    If you don't read the magazine and don't plan on attending any APA lunches, seminars, conferences, etc., then it's probably not worth it.
    APA mag is useful about every three months in my view, and maddeningly disappointing all the other times. I still go back to my old JAPAs, but never, ever Planning (& likely will be gone come spring cleaning).

    .02
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    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    APA mag is useful about every three months in my view, and maddeningly disappointing all the other times. I still go back to my old JAPAs, but never, ever Planning (& likely will be gone come spring cleaning).

    .02

    I like the legal updates, personally. But otherwise, I don't disagree at all - I even agree that Planning Magazine is hit (33%) or miss (66%)
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I keep my membership out of some vague obligation, like one you may have with the family members with whom you are not close. And in the big picture, I think I do appreciate that they are up on Capitol Hill speaking up for things I generally support.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    they are up on Capitol Hill speaking up for things I generally support.
    Speaking for things is great. Doing things is better. ;o)
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian azmodela's avatar
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    Don't get sucked into their guilt trip. Really, they only care about your registration dues since that furthers their agenda (not always yours) and the fat salaries they collect. If you don't believe me, look into the two year old debate the FIACP group is having with APA on the sweeping of fees.

    Once you drop the national APA group you'll never look back. The magazine pretty much sucks especially when you consider how regionally divided the profession really is.

    Sign up with your state or local APA branch. You'll get much more value out of that organization than you will the national.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by azmodela View post
    Sign up with your state or local APA branch. You'll get much more value out of that organization than you will the national.
    Hi, how do you sign up with the state or local branch without going through APA national?

  11. #11
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by terraplnr View post
    Hi, how do you sign up with the state or local branch without going through APA national?
    You can't. Unfortunately you must be a registered APA member to join state chapters or divisions. You can go to meetings and such with the group if they allow non-members to attend though.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    You can't. Unfortunately you must be a registered APA member to join state chapters or divisions. You can go to meetings and such with the group if they allow non-members to attend though.
    You sure? MAP alllows this, but it may be due to its unique history of once being two separate organizartions.
    http://planningmi.org/levels.asp
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    You sure? MAP alllows this, but it may be due to its unique history of once being two separate organizartions.
    http://planningmi.org/levels.asp

    Hrmm... I guess the same is true in California... wasn't aware you could be chapter only member. Not that it helps me; since I'm AICP (or will be when they send me the bill), I still have to maintain APA national membership. Wouldn't be a scam otherwise

    http://www.calapa.org/en/cms/?23
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian azmodela's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by terraplnr View post
    Hi, how do you sign up with the state or local branch without going through APA national?
    I don't know what state you're in, but contact your state office. They'll be able to set you up with a chapter only membership. Tarf posted the link to the California chapter only membership as an example. Of course, if you're an AICP planner it won't be an option unless you want to lose your AICP status.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    In some states, such as NC, you can join the state APA chapter separately ($40) by contacting them through their state site. The state chapters are very helpful for those involved in city and county planning and I like the state conferences as well. You can also join the Federal Planning Division of the APA without joining APA, I think it's $40.

  16. #16
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I stand corrected. I guess some states allow it and you can join any division for $40 without being a member... http://planning.org/divisions/join/

    You learn something everyday...
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  17. #17
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    Thanks all, I'm in California but thought one HAD to join national APA to be part of the state/local APA divisions. I'm AICP so unfortunately it doesn't matter for me, but I will let interested friends know.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks everyone

    Thanks everyone for the responses. I'll see if I can sign up with the Massachusetts APA and if not then wait a year or two before reconsidering signing up again.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by terraplnr View post
    Thanks all, I'm in California but thought one HAD to join national APA to be part of the state/local APA divisions. I'm AICP so unfortunately it doesn't matter for me, but I will let interested friends know.
    You don't have to join national to be a part of the state/local apa divisions, you can do chapter only, which is a cheaper route.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I am always amazed at how very, very little I receive in return for my APA membership. I also pay the additional annual fee to be AICP, and other than four more initials after my name, I see no additional benefit for that expense.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Azmodela, I think this is ayou made a sweeping statment that isn't always applicable.

    My story may add something to those looking to drop APA. After I graduated from planning school, I converted my APA and ITE student memberships to regular members and my employer paid the dues which made it a easy call. I also applied for and took the AICP exam to become AICP. However, I switched from consulting to working in a place that didn't pay my dues. I let both my AICP/APA, and ITE memberships lapse after I had to start paying the bills. Keep in mind, I was making less than $45K a year and mainting all my memberships would have cost me close to a $1,000.

    Fast forward a decade and I'm settled into a career and make enough money to pay my own dues. I rejoined APA and reapplied to get my AICP back (which is kind of stupid, ITE allows reinstatements no matter how long your membership has lapsed, AICP only offers reinstatments for a limited period of time) and reinstated my ITE memership. I also sat for the Certified Transportation Planner exam and passed.

    I like having my professional memberships back because I enjoy reading industry magazines and being part of a larger community(ies) of professionals. Basically, I consider the dues an investment in developing myself professionally so when I leave government service I will be better positioned.

    So my advice is if you are young and not highly paid then by all means drop your APA. However, consider rejoining when you can afford the dues and/or you start a job where your employers pays the dues.

    Quote Originally posted by azmodela View post
    Once you drop the national APA group you'll never look back. The magazine pretty much sucks especially when you consider how regionally divided the profession really is.

    .

  22. #22
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    I dropped my APA National membership at the end of this year and am now solely a member of the local chapter. The Chapters are where stuff actually happens and I just can't see the value in National membership. Sad to say, but the magazine is really mediocre and I'm not AICP as my employer won't fund certification.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    job opportunities?

    I agree with many of the others about the cost versus benefit of maintaining expensive memberships in professional organizations. I did not have APA membership till my employer paid for it.

    However, I just came across a job annoucement this week that came with a supplemental questionnaire. One section on that questionnaire was about membership in professional organizations. It went something like this - "What professional organizations are you a member of? What activities have you participated in? What contributions have you made in that organization?" (paraphrasing, can't remember the exact text). So when faced with a job opportunity that requires one to describe one's membership and level of participation in a professional organization, it may be a good thing if you have APA to talk about, and hopefully some local chapter participation as well.

    I also agree with the others about the usefulness of APA membership in that it ties to having AICP. I've been hearing snippets from people about AICP giving you an edge, however slight, in hiring and promotions. In the past I have also heard the opposite, that it makes no difference. In the current job market, I guess it's better to have an edge of some kind, rather than not.

  24. #24
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    APA Membership

    As someone who has been a member of APA for many years due to the certification requirement, I see absolutely no reason to be a member of APA. They have not particularly helped the profession. Several professional planners have told me how unhelpful APA has been, and I've witnessed it first handed. The membership fee is too much. It pays mostly for all their staff.

    Find another professional organization that cares about its membership and does not treat them poorly (e.g., APA staff is doing the planning profession a favor).

  25. #25
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    Cardinal is correct

    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    I am always amazed at how very, very little I receive in return for my APA membership. I also pay the additional annual fee to be AICP, and other than four more initials after my name, I see no additional benefit for that expense.
    I just renewed my membership. The fee is high, the magazine is boring, and the leadership of APA is a clique of former-hippy baby boomers mad at the rest of us that we haven't let them build their version of utopia. APA functions somewhat like a cult. You give them your money, and they tell you what to think.

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