Certification Maintenance

What Is Certification Maintenance (CM)?

All professional planners who are members of APA’s professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), must engage in mandatory continuing education to maintain their certification.

The Certification Maintenance (CM) program links certified planners to training opportunities that keep them up to date on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. It also strengthens the value of certification, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to excellence to elected officials, community leaders, and employers.

AICP Members Certification Maintenance strengthens the value of certification, demonstrating your ongoing commitment to excellence to elected officials, community leaders, and employers.

Program Details

Since January 2008, AICP members must earn a total of 32 CM credits (1 hour = 1 CM credit) within an established two-year reporting period. All AICP members have an automatic four month-grace period, without penalty (reinstatement requirements waived during this period). During the four-month grace period, members are able to continue to earn and log credits to fulfill their reporting period through April 30.  PLEASE NOTE: This year APA has extended the 2018-2019 CM credit reporting grace period to May 28, 2020.

COVID-19 Extreme Hardship CM Exemption 2018-19 Grace Period Available to Members. Members who qualify will receive a four credit reduction of their general credits (1.5 law and 1.5 ethics are still required).  Apply here Factors that may determine extreme hardship related to COVID-19 may include the inability to pay basic and reasonable living expenses, homelessness, death of an immediate family member, or a physical or mental health situation that affects the member or an immediate family member for whom the member is the immediate care giver.  Additional examples: Members who need to care for another person, including parents and children (such as homeschooling); Members who are still employed but are temporarily financially burdened; Members who work in hazard planning and are temporarily experiencing high volumes of work.

A minimum of 1.5 credits must be on the topic of ethics, and another 1.5 credits must be on the topic of current planning law. AICP members may carry over a maximum of 16 credits from one reporting period into the subsequent reporting period; however, ethics and planning law credits cannot be carried over to the next two-year reporting period.

All professional development activities must be approved and registered to be eligible for CM credit and recorded into your online CM log. The list of registered events is growing every day, so please bookmark the CM website and check back to see whether an event you attended has been added. Go to the National APA website to view your CM log and log your CM credits for sessions you have attended: My CM Log.

AICP members who do not meet CM requirements within four years will lose AICP certification and will be obliged to seek recertification in order to regain the AICP credential. If for some reason you have let your AICP status lapse, you will have to complete a reinstatement process to regain the use of the AICP credential. To learn more about the reinstatement process, visit: AICP Reinstatement Policy.

CM Credit Opportunities

There are a number of opportunities for APA California members to reach their CM Credit goals:


Planning Webcast Series

APA California has joined the Planning Webcast Series. Various APA Chapters, Divisions and Universities are members. Each webcast is presented by a different chapter. Typically, there is one new webcast per week, usually on Fridays from 10:00am to 11:30am (PST).

The webcasts are free to all participants and are worth 1.5 CM credits each. They offer distance education credits, including law and ethics, at no charge to participants.

You can register for any webcast by going to the Ohio Chapter website.

APA California Chapter-Sponsored CM Credit Opportunities

AICP Certification Maintenance (CM) Credit will be provided generally for all California Chapter programs and the annual APA California conference, APA-AICP National workshops and the annual APA conference. California Planning Foundation programs and Section Programs are generally provided credit as well and must be pre-approved in advance of the program. Please check with the California Chapter Vice-President of Professional Development for pre-approval of other workshops, seminars, conferences, and courses offered by other organizations and academic institutions or any questions about AICP/CM credit.

Please note that AICP/CM credit is provided based upon hour-for-hour instruction and does not include lunch breaks or other breaks in instruction. The program booklets for APA and APA California conferences indicate the amount of AICP/CM credit that each session or mobile workshop is eligible for. Please login to the National APA website to view the list of current, upcoming and past approved CM activities.

APA California Chapter Conference

APA California has an annual conference that is held in the fall that offers many sessions and mobile workshops that are eligible for CM credit. In addition to providing education for planning professionals, the APA California annual conference provides Planning Commissioner training. APA California is also developing sessions that will meet the needs of students for upcoming conferences.

California Planning Foundation (CPF) Workshops

CPF periodically sponsors workshops on topical issues. All revenue from registration fees in excess of nominal workshop expenses goes to the Foundation’s scholarship endowment. Go to the CPF website for upcoming CPF workshop information.

Section Luncheons & Workshops

Regularly visit your local Section’s website for additional listings of CM professional development opportunities that include luncheon speakers as well as full-day and half-day workshops.

Check out the many low-cost/no-cost CM professional development events located throughout the state posted on APA California’s Calendar of Events page.

National APA CM Offerings

The National APA website contains a section on Certification Maintenance opportunities.

Free National APA On Demand Products

Take advantage of APA’s FREE online on demand products that offer CM credits. Listen to symposia, webinars, and Tuesdays at APA Lectures and Podcasts.

National APA Programs for a Fee

California University Opportunities

UCLA Extension has a Public Policy Program that offers a number of 1-day and 2-day workshops for planning professionals. The workshops offered through the Public Policy Program are eligible for CM credit.

UC Riverside offers APA members a 10% discount for some courses at the UCR Extension. The University offers a variety of courses, programs and conferences for Land Use and Natural Resources professionals. Please note, if this discount is available it will be listed in the course description. Go to UCR Extension for additional information.

UCSD Extension offers an annual Law and Ethics Seminar. For details go to UCSD Extention and select AICP CM Credits – Law and Ethics Seminar to download the flyer.

Programs Sponsored by Other Professional Organizations

Many professional organizations (see some key organizations listed below) conduct their own workshops and annual conferences that provide additional continuing education opportunities for practicing planning professionals on planning related topical issues. Some programs may be eligible for AICP/CM credit. If they are not pre-approved in the program materials please check with the Vice President of Professional Development.

Other professional organizations: League of California Cities, California Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP), American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), ULI, The Great Valley Center.

Earning CM Credits Other Than By Attending A Session:

Besides attending an event in person or online that has approved CM credits, you can also earn CM credits by:

  • Speaking/instructing at an activity that is registered for CM Credits;
  • Self-reporting attendance or speaking/instructing at an event that is not registered for CM Credits; or
  • Authoring an article

Detailed information on how to earn these CM credits is at: How to Earn CM Credits