Certified planner

What Does a Certified Planner Do?

Wondering How a Certified Planner Stands Apart From Other Professionals? Here’s All You Need to Know

If you have been reading up on the field of rural or urban development, then you may have seen several mentions of planners being a crucial part of the sector. 

Planners play an indispensable role in community development. From infrastructure to recreation, every thriving community has the input of a planner behind it. That’s why the contribution of a planner is often considered the backbone of every project.

Planning is a crucial job. This means that professionals who take on this role need to be equipped to handle their responsibilities. For this, these experts need to be professionally trained and educated.

That’s where the need for certified planners comes in. 

What is a Certified Planner Anyway?

Pulling off the complex tasks of community development is not easy for any planner. But gaining distinction among other planners is just as difficult for each of these professionals. That is why professional planners who want to enhance their skills and stand out from the crowd go through the process of becoming certified planners.

The certification is offered by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). As a branch of the American Planning Association (APA), AICP provides education and training for interested individuals to become certified planners. 

The process to attain the certification includes the completion of an exam and membership in the APA. With this, specific education and professional experience are also needed. Once a professional meets these requirements, they can proudly add the distinction of being a certified planner to their resume.

From there, these certified planners continue to stay up to date with the latest professional requirements by a certification maintenance program. This helps them stay on top of the latest educational and industry updates, which goes a long way into enhancing the quality of work they perform for community development.

What Does a Certified Planner Actually Do?

The AICP program focuses on various areas. This includes unique skill sets, ethics, education, and professional experience for planners. Together, this allows a certified planner to stand out from other professionals in terms of qualifications. 

But apart from getting bragging rights, certified planners also gain the ability and expertise to work on several branches of the planning sector effectively.

These areas include but are not limited to the following. 


A certified planner can design development projects by identifying crucial needs within the respective communities. Their focus on ethics helps them manage moral dilemmas and prioritize the community’s best interests.

Research and Development

A certified planner puts a significant focus on data collation to research and develop favorable projects. Their specialized skill set helps them cut through the noise and complete their research promptly.


Due to their commitment to assessing every possible aspect of a project, a certified planner also focuses on targeted analysis. This allows them to identify faults and find new areas of opportunities more accurately. 


Using the skills learned through their certification program, certified planners also specialize in policy matters. This allows them to plan their project with precision. Additionally, it lets them consult other professionals involved in the project. 


A certified planner also has an enhanced ability to develop strategic projects that follow a specific goal. This allows them to take on economic or social projects that are created with unique objectives in mind. 

Overall, a certified planner can execute projects with greater efficiency and accuracy as compared to non-certified professionals. 

Certified Planners Are Likely to Be More In Demand in the Recovery

There’s been a pull back in economic activity. But we are likely to see a rebound over 18-24 months. This means that we will see more projects and more growth. Certified planners might be a great profession to look at if you are interested in more higher level type of jobs.

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