Is AICP worth the cost?

glutton

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#22
ugh

So I just found out that my employer only covers AICP exam costs on a "case by case basis" and that too only for senior level and principal level people, even though it was written in the employee handbook that we are all "expected" to get licensed/certified, that the firm would cover the costs, and that we would even get a bonus if we passed.

ugh I hate ambiguous HR policies....guess who is no longer going to apply for AICP this year :(. On the plus side though, this frees up my summer at least?
 
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#23
Feel your pain. My employer only briefly mentions a HR policy for work related professional society's - aka CPA license. But that policy only gives you $200 annually. So I'd still be out the, what, $1000 for AICP exam and $300 annually + classes. Just on the off chance I could get the AICP qualified under that policy, I asked my boss who promptly replied "no". Game. Set. Match. Maybe next time AICP.
 

glutton

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#24
I think actually it's more like $550 for the exam (plus however much your prorated annual APA membership rate is). I wasn't planning on taking any classes, just brushing up on reading material from planning school and whatever free resources/study materials the state chapters offer.

But yeah, doesn't matter anymore I guess...screw this. I think I'd rather save up to go see some cool bike infrastructure in the Netherlands instead ;)
 
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#25
Yeah a bit over $500 for the exam + (for me) $400+ for the membership. Even if you get the cert you have to get continuing education credits, which cost another $3-500 each course. So annually, probably around $1000 which includes the APA membership fee. Just ludicrous.
 

luckless pedestrian

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#26
I wish I could make the time this year to run for AICP commissioner because the costs of the exam are pretty crazy - considering a person takes the exam likely in the beginning of their career, they likely have to pay for it themselves so I do get that
 
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#27
I wish I could make the time this year to run for AICP commissioner because the costs of the exam are pretty crazy - considering a person takes the exam likely in the beginning of their career, they likely have to pay for it themselves so I do get that
I wanted to run as well, had a talk with folks from my chapter, and started on putting my materials together, but there just was not time to do my candidacy justice (especially with home life being a mess due to a baby).

AICP desperately needs reform. It could add so much more value than it does currently, and the cost of keeping the certification are flat out onerous if one's employer won't step up.
 
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#28
I recently reinstated my AICP cred after letting it lapse. It cost me a pretty penny and the actual educational value it brings is questionable. I did many of the CE webinars and meetings on my own even without the credential incentive. Having regular maintenance exams (every 3 or 4 years perhaps) would add more actual value to the designation in lieu of CE requirements, but I'm sure there's less money in that for APA.

The perceived value of AICP is another issue. Having applied for jobs with the same resume with and without the designation, I noticed interview callbacks increased noticeably with AICP. If you think of it more as a professional club and less as a professional certification, the costs are easier to swallow and the benefits make more sense.
 
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#29
I recently reinstated my AICP cred after letting it lapse. It cost me a pretty penny and the actual educational value it brings is questionable. I did many of the CE webinars and meetings on my own even without the credential incentive. Having regular maintenance exams (every 3 or 4 years perhaps) would add more actual value to the designation in lieu of CE requirements, but I'm sure there's less money in that for APA.

The perceived value of AICP is another issue. Having applied for jobs with the same resume with and without the designation, I noticed interview callbacks increased noticeably with AICP. If you think of it more as a professional club and less as a professional certification, the costs are easier to swallow and the benefits make more sense.
So you're saying that the $1000 for a new APA member/AICP candidate is worth it???
 
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#30
I'm saying if you're searching for jobs (public or private), AICP will help you get your foot in the door. Depending on the pay bump of a new job, the certification costs may be worth it.
 
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#31
^It sounds like you're saying that unless you are looking for a new job, then AICP is not worth the cost. Is that right?
 

DVD

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#32
I pay something like $455 a year for my AICP/APA/KSAPA memberships. It has given me:

A job (at least I'll credit it for edging out the competition - truth is the guy they wanted failed their psych eval).
The respect of my piers :lmao:
Planning magazine (used to start the fireplace)

What I would like to see:
An online knowledge base that doesn't cost.
How to handle the latest legal problems, how others have handled whatever problem we all share.
Some kind of education series on how I can become a better planner that doesn't involve the latest trendy thing only happening in your city.
Information for planners that aren't doing the latest TND, road diet, or other big city trendy thing (I happen to work for a rural county).

You know, I'm looking for knowledge and support for what I do.
 
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#34
If you intend to remain in California, it's not worth it. When was the last time you saw a California recruitment list AICP as "required, preferred, or desirable?"
 
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#35
Does perceived value of AICP correlate to population of the municipality?

I was speaking to several NYC planners with DCP and HPD, along with private sector last week. There was universal bashing of the AICP and brutal crtisim of APA that would make even me blush. I know many AICP supporters here are directors in small and midsize communities. Just a thought. Anyone else have a similar experience during APA national conference?
 
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#36
Does perceived value of AICP correlate to population of the municipality?

I was speaking to several NYC planners with DCP and HPD, along with private sector last week. There was universal bashing of the AICP and brutal crtisim of APA that would make even me blush. I know many AICP supporters here are directors in small and midsize communities. Just a thought. Anyone else have a similar experience during APA national conference?
This is a City thing. Agency staff here shun AICP. The biggest reasons I've always heard for this are lack of perceived value for the cost and too much emphasis on town planning versus the realities of city planning. NYC's zoning regime is highly idiosyncratic and is probably more complex than anything else in the entire country. APA has little to offer in helping planners navigate the challenges associated with planning in extremely dense areas.

Go 15 minute outside the city, though, and AICP is everywhere. Especially Jersey, where you'll get both your AICP and your PP if you want to rise above entry-level status.

I would be curious to hear some of the things you heard about AICP by attendees at the national conference.
 
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#37
If you intend to remain in California, it's not worth it. When was the last time you saw a California recruitment list AICP as "required, preferred, or desirable?"
Often, actually. Admittedly this is for a Senior Planner job, but check out this vacancy in Santa Rosa as an example. https://planning.org/jobs/ad/9125226/

As another data point: In CA, AICP only seems to be desirable for senior/management positions at local or consulting firms (not state, MPO's, etc.). I wonder if the correlation is as simple as: once an employee gets selected for management, they are encouraged to get certified to help justify their employment elevation within the organization. That's how I've seen MPA's work. If you enter the organization with a MPA, it's like "that's nice". But, if the sun shines on you enough to get into upper management, that's when I see people suddenly go for their graduate degree. When that happens, they've been selected for executive management.
 
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#38
This is a City thing. Agency staff here shun AICP. The biggest reasons I've always heard for this are lack of perceived value for the cost and too much emphasis on town planning versus the realities of city planning. NYC's zoning regime is highly idiosyncratic and is probably more complex than anything else in the entire country. APA has little to offer in helping planners navigate the challenges associated with planning in extremely dense areas.

Go 15 minute outside the city, though, and AICP is everywhere. Especially Jersey, where you'll get both your AICP and your PP if you want to rise above entry-level status.

I would be curious to hear some of the things you heard about AICP by attendees at the national conference.
Planning in New Jersey is different since it's the only state that requires AICP to be a planner, I think. The comments from the City people were that APA wasn't relevant to the issues they face day to day. The chapter level is a little better, but much more of a suburban and rural focus, which is understand giving the geography of NYS.

Is it just a NYC thing or do other big cities like Chicago or LA have similar opinions?
 
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#39
I wouldn't lump LA in with Chicago - it's a typical west coast suburban sprawl city (on steroids), at least as far as housing typology and density is concerned.
 

The One

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#40
Hmmm

Often, actually. Admittedly this is for a Senior Planner job, but check out this vacancy in Santa Rosa as an example. https://planning.org/jobs/ad/9125226/

As another data point: In CA, AICP only seems to be desirable for senior/management positions at local or consulting firms (not state, MPO's, etc.). I wonder if the correlation is as simple as: once an employee gets selected for management, they are encouraged to get certified to help justify their employment elevation within the organization. That's how I've seen MPA's work. If you enter the organization with a MPA, it's like "that's nice". But, if the sun shines on you enough to get into upper management, that's when I see people suddenly go for their graduate degree. When that happens, they've been selected for executive management.
In the Central Valley of California AICP is considered hoity-toity. Not having AICP is a badge of honor and respect by your Oklahoma peers. :not:

The cheapest 1 bedroom dump in Santa Rosa will eat up about 25% of your net real montly take home from that Senior Planner job. Not to mention the $527,100 median home price in Santa Rosa.
 
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