Thursday, March 6, 2008

Planetizen editorial on CM

Several academics and the editor of Planetizen have posted an editorial about APA's CM program.

What do you think as Transportation Planning professionals? Can we agree that in order for the credential to mean anything, it should be backed up by ongoing professional development?

There have been a lot of interesting comments and perspectives in the survey the division is undertaking, but is there more that needs to be discussed?

Note that the survey closes March 31st, 2008.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

ITEs professional transportation planner certification is looking better and better. The planners really messed up on CM. Im going with the engineers..

Anonymous said...

It would probably be cheaper in the long run to go back to college and receive an Engineering degree. Engineers pay $50.00 annually (NC) to maintain their license. That's approximately 1/4 of what I pay into APA/AICP and guess what? A P.E. actually means something. Oh, and they rely on the HONOR system for their continuing education.

Anonymous said...

I've been a solid supporter of mandatory continuing education for planners throughout my entire career in the profession. I remain so, and firmly believe that the certification (including certification maintenance) of community planners should be handled by APA. So the idea of abandoning the planning "community" doesn't appeal to me; it seems a bit like cutting down the tree because of a noisy bird's nest.

If you boil it down, there appears to be only one fundamental problem area with the CM issue now, centered around the charging of fees for credits, which APA staff seems to think is justified to offset the administrative costs associated with making sure that the programs, courses, etc. are of sufficient quality to be allowed as continuing education. That, and a (cynical, but still probably accurate) recognition that the fee structure drives people to APA-sponsored events, conferences, etc.

So I, for one, wouldn't have a problem with my AICP dues being raised by a reasonable amount to cover the administrative cost associated with maintaining my certification. That way, no fees would be charged to providers, and no non-AICP member would have to bear the cost of my requirements.

In this aspect of their work, APA/AICP should view their business--and this "cost center"--as a not-for-profit clearinghouse, rather than a cost center that supports other centers that don't break even.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous immediately above regarding increasing AICP fees if necessary to cover the admistrative costs as I too support the AICP CM program...just not in its current format. I think we should reduce the administrative costs by moving to the "honor" system. In the honor system, I would just log the courses/conferences that I attended as I work toward my goal credit goal. In the "honor" system, conferences and training by all providers including TRB, ITE, Railvolution, FHWA, APTA etc would all be automatically eligible and we wouldn't have the perception that APA/AICP is just looking to feed their own machine.

D.C. said...

I have a Master of Science in Planning degree with specialization in transportation planning, 20 years of planning experience and membership in the AICP for 15 years. In the past two decades, I have encountered very few practicing planners with degrees in planning and only a few more who had taken courses in planning history, theory and/or methods. Mandatory education requirements would be more effective if applied to the "front end" before someone ever becomes an AICP member. Should not a priority be placed instead on requiring a planning degree for those who wish to take the AICP exam?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that mandatory continuing education is even required. My experience is that people who go into planning are the type of people who keep up with the profession just because they like to be up to date. However, I can see where the existence of a CM program would be viewed favorably by those outside the profession.
I would think that training provided by FHWA, FTA should be automatically eligible for CM. I think that ITE training should also be automatic, perhaps APA could work an agreement that would offer c.e.u.s to engineers.

david said...

I am a strong supporter on continuing education. Before ACIP adopted the current process, I voiced concern about the method used to certify training hours. I want to be sure that we have adequate access to a variety of relevant training. This is of particular importance for transportation planners. At that time I suggested that the cost be assessed across AICP membership since we all are subject to the same requirement.

Tom said...

David,
I think that the point is that the CM program as it currently exists actually limits access to a variety of training. Especially to those of us in the transportation field. It essentially rules out training not provided by APA.

johnnydwa said...

AICP is an honarary title. It means you passed an exam and have a reasonable knowledge about planning, ethics, etc. As far as I know you don't have to have a AICP to practice your planning profession in any state, so it isn't like a PE or passing the bar.

Here is my solution: Let's give the letters (AICP) to anyone you goes through the effort of studying and passing the AICP exam. If we want CM, let's REWARD our members, not punish them. How about AICP (level 1,2 or 3 or AICP gold, silver,broze) based on your completion of CM credits. This works well for Boy Scouts, Toastmasters, etc...Honey is better than vinegar.

Slaax Gumbo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DP said...

I am not opposed to the CM concept and it's goal of elevating the value of the AICP title. However, I agree with the Planetizen article and others here regarding access to continuing ed. I work for a private engineering firm. Despite what some may think, our margins are such that training budgets are kept pretty low. As a result, unless I'm presenting a paper (cheap publicity) attendance at conferences (especially planning conferences - remember 'engineering' firm) is pretty hard to sell to those that control the overhead budgets. Likewise with all-day training courses.

The engineers in my office seem to get the majority of their PDH credits through local ASCE chapter meetings. Unfortunately, my local APA chapter isn't very active and apparently doesn't have much budget to provide training.

My suggestion - By waiving any CM registration fees for local chapter activities, APA National could accomplish two things: assuage the current backlash regarding costs, and encourage a greater level of activity at the local level. Win-win.