Becoming a professional planner in Atlantic Canada usually starts with education. The School of Planning at Dalhousie University in Halifax is the start of a career for many of Atlantic Canada’s planners, although there are a number of other Universities across Canada and the world that offer planning degrees.

The profession of professional planner is regulated by the province through most of Canada, and the most common route to becoming a professional planner is through the national certification process. Once someone graduates from a planning school and gets their first job as a planner, they are eligible to apply to become a Candidate. After a couple of years as a Candidate, where they are monitored by a mentor to gain on-the-job experience, they can sit for their national examinations. Once they have passed their examinations, they are eligible for recognition as a Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP). Depending on the province, they may also be recognized as a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) or Licensed Professional Planner (LPP).

The process from graduation through becoming a MCIP is overseen by the Professional Standards Board (PSB). From first becoming a Candidate to becoming an MCIP usually takes two to three years, although members have up to seven years to complete the process.

For those people that didn’t graduate from an accredited university planning program in Canada, there are some other ways to become an MCIP. More information on those routes is also available on the PSB website.