Certification - Overview

First Steps – Candidate Membership

Embarking on the process of joining the planning profession and seeking professional certification is a significant step for a planner, and one that will ultimately lead to an enhanced, stronger, and richer planning career. This section outlines the first steps for an individual planner beginning the professional certification process.

Candidate Membership: Routes & Requirements:

Candidate membership is the first stage and the first category of membership for planners beginning the certification process. All planners seeking professional certification must first become a Candidate member. Please note that Candidate membership is granted by your Provincial or Territorial Institute or Association (PTIA), and not by the Professional Standards Board (PSB). Please note that while national standards have been adopted, some PTIA’s may have higher standards. Members are encouraged to consult their PTIA regarding any additional certification requirements before beginning the certification process.  This section outlines the different routes and requirements to qualify for Candidate membership.

There are three routes by which a planner can become a Candidate member of the profession (depending on individual situations and backgrounds), each with its own set of specific requirements, but all of which are based on the same key minimum standards and core competencies established by the profession.

Potential applicants can review this information to determine if they are ready and able to begin the professional certification process by becoming eligible for admission as a Candidate member, and, if so, which route would be applicable in their case. It is important to note that in all cases an individual must first be employed in planning at the time they apply for membership. In addition, it is very strongly recommended and preferred that individuals seek out and identify a professional Mentor and Sponsor at the time they apply for membership (see subsequent sections for more information about the role of the Mentor and the Sponsor).

The three routes to Candidate membership are:

For an overview of the various entry routes, please click here.

Note on International Degrees:

A person with one or more international degrees  who does not qualify to apply under the Reciprocal Agreement route may apply via the PLAR route and should provide an evaluation of those degrees from a recognized international credential evaluation service such as:

Note on Membership and Assessment

In order to begin your work towards your professional planning credential, you must be a Candidate Member of one of its PTIAs of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) (see below for a list of PTIA websites).  While we will review your application for assessment, the fees you pay the Professional Standards Board (PSB) only cover the assessment process; membership in your PTIA requires an additional annual fee, and you are unable to proceed with PSB’s process until you have become a member and we have verified this fact.  If you are applying with an accredited degree or under a reciprocal agreement with another planning institute, we will automatically forward your information to the appropriate PTIA, and they will be in touch with you regarding your Candidate Membership.  If you are applying via the PLAR route and do not yet have five years’ experience, we will again automatically forward your information to the appropriate PTIA who will contact you regarding a suitable membership (some PTIAs offer Pre-Candidate Membership for individuals in this situation).

Assessment and Other Fees

There is a fee for assessment of your application, as well as for the Ethics & Professionalism course and test and the Professional Examination.  These are in addition to the membership fees payable to your PTIA.  Our fee structure is:


Accredited Degree Applicants

Reciprocal Agreement Applicants

PLAR Applicants

Application fee




Ethics & Professionalism Course




Professional Exam





Please note that l’Ordre des Urbanistes de Québec (OUQ) does not participate in PSB's processes at this time; if you are in Québec, you will need to contact OUQ directly (their website is www.ouq.qc.ca/).

Canadian Institute of Planners/Institut canadien des urbanistes

Atlantic Planning Institute/Institut des urbanistes de l’Atlantique (NL, NS, NB, PE)

Ontario Professional Planners Institute/Institut des planificateurs
professionnels de l’Ontario (ON)

Manitoba Professional Planners Institute

SPPI - Saskatchewan Professional Planners Institute

Alberta Professional Planners Institute (AB, NT & NU)

Planning Institute of British Columbia (BC & YT)

Certification Process

Once your assessment has been completed and you are a member of your PTIA, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Take the Ethics & Professionalism course and test (the test requires a grade of 70% to pass)
  • Complete at least a one-year mentorship
  • Complete the requisite professional planning experience (this will vary depending upon your entry route, and must be attested by your sponsor)
  • Take the Professional Examination (sittings twice annually, in the spring and fall; the Examination requires a grade of 80% to pass)

Once those steps have been completed, we will forward all your information to your PTIA, who will then consider your certification.