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Professional associations are a great way to network and learn about an industry.  Below is a list that USP and RED students may find of interest.

American Institute of Architects (AIA)

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) works to advance our nation’s quality of life and protect the public’s health, safety and welfare, as it has done for 160 years.

Each day AIA members across the country and throughout the world create the places where people live and learn, work, and play. We design hospitals that heal us and houses of worship that sustain us. We create next generation energy-saving buildings to make our communities healthier and safer. All the while, architects work with clients and allied design professionals and construction partners to improve the built environment in a $1 trillion sector that accounts for almost 6 percent of the economy.

The American Institute of Architects in San Diego County represents nearly 1,000 members. The local chapter is part of a greater network of AIA California chapters, which represents more than 11,000 members and is the largest state component of the AIA. We are part of an even broader national network of 250 chapters comprising more than 95,000 members. 

Since its founding in 1928, AIA San Diego has been a leading voice and advocate for great design, effective planning, sustainability, design-education, professional development, civic leadership, and public engagement. Our members are committed to a set of values embraced by the American Institute of Architects such as upholding the highest professional standards, displaying a commitment to lifelong learning, working for community health and holding the interests of clients paramount.

American Planning Association (APA)

The American Planning Association is a professional organization representing the field of urban planning in the United States. The APA offers professional networking opportunities for planners, as well as newsletters and special publications, conference sessions, collaboration opportunities with related organizations, and contributions to policy work. The APA also provides scholarships for undergraduate students and recent graduates.

Currently, the American Planning Association is offering free student memberships. This student membership includes APA, APA chapter, and AICP membership as well as membership in up to five APA divisions. Student members will be eligible for two years of reduced dues after ending their studies. Select California - San Diego as your primary chapter. Also be sure to sign up for the San Diego chapter’s newsletter to be informed of upcoming events. They have a group specifically for young and emerging professionals.

Each year, APA California organizes a statewide conference allowing members to receive educational opportunities and to network. Several students from UC San Diego attend the annual APA California Conference at a discounted rate. APCA also organizes the annual California Planning Foundation scholarships.

APA California has several local sections, including the San Diego Section of the APA, the SDAPA. With over 500 members and a calendar of activities directed to both new and experienced planners, SDAPA provides members an opportunity to expand their professional knowledge, meet peers, and get directly involved in the operation of the section. The SDAPA also provides opportunities to support current students and recent graduates, including career development, mentorship, and scholarships. Membership with the SDAPA comes with the free APA student membership.

The SDAPA also runs the Young and Emerging Planners Group (YEP). SDAPA's Young and Emerging Planners Group connects planners that are emerging in their planning ambitions with established planning professionals throughout the San Diego region. The purpose of the YEP is to provide opportunities to learn more about planning and related fields, build successful careers, expand social and professional networks, and ultimately become leaders in the planning profession and the local San Diego Section. The SDAPA YEP is a resource for all planners, with an emphasis on those under the age of 35 and/or who may have less than 8-10 years of professional planning experience.

For questions on how to become more involved with the APA, please contact the current SDAPA Liaison whose name and email is listed on the SDAPA page of the USP Blog.

  • Cost: Free for student memberships.
  • Event costs: Many events are free, some have a fee.
  • Related student organization: Young Planners Society

CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women)

CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network was founded in 1989 to bring together women involved in the many aspects of commercial real estate to exchange information, develop business contacts and help each other succeed professionally. Today, CREW Network is the premier business network dedicated to transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally. We provide support to our 12,000 members worldwide through business networking, leadership development, industry research and career outreach.

CREW San Diego is the organization of choice for experienced professionals within the commercial real estate industry. Our Mission is to promote, educate, and support a network of professionals in the field of commercial real estate by providing programs that are well attended by a diverse array of industry professionals because of our innovative topics and industry leading speakers. Our members represent diversity in discipline, a cross section in experience, and actively participate in our organization which helps them derive constant value from their membership.

CREW San Diego members represent a diverse group of disciplines within the commercial real estate industry, including: Accounting, Asset Management, Development, Law, Appraisal, Brokerage, Engineering, Leasing, Architecture, Interior Design, Construction, Property Management

  • San Diego chapter
  • Cost: Student - Undergraduate (Dues - $250 + Application Fee - $25 = $275 per calendar year)
  • Event costs: Some events are free and open to non-members (CREW Cocktails and Conversation and Coffee Corners, UCREW workshops), some are restricted to members, and some have a fee to attend.
  • Related student organization: Triton Real Estate Organization (TREO)

Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)

The Construction Management Association of America is an industry association dedicated to the practice of professional construction management. CMAA represents more than 16,000 members including federal/state/local government and private sector owners, construction consultants, technology suppliers, academia, and legal organizations all with a common goal: to improve our nation's infrastructure.

CMAA was formed in 1982 to establish standards for managing construction projects. Construction management is rooted in traditional project management practices and also requires a unique body of skills and professional knowledge to perform successfully. CMAA is delivery method neutral; seeking to ensure that all professionals are prepared to succeed regardless of the scope, scale, or complexity of any project or program. 

Today, CMAA has more than 16,500 members including individual professionals, professional service companies, and construction owners in the public and private sectors, as well as academic and associate members. CMAA has 30 regional chapters across the country.

CMAA is dedicated to career-long education and professional development, beginning with the Construction Manager-in-Training (CMIT) program, through the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential for the most accomplished construction management practitioners, and beyond to continuing education for advanced professionals. Moreover, both CMAA and ABET are delivery-system neutral, advancing professionalism regardless of specific delivery methods.

  • CMAA San Diego Chapter.
  • Cost: Free. Full-time college or university student interested in a career in construction management. $0/year.
  • Event costs: Some events are free, some have a fee.

Design-Build Institute of America

The Design-Build Institute of America, or DBIA, is the true authority on design-build done right. Comprised of architectural, engineering and construction professionals, as well as academics, students and project Owners, its members have been collaborating and innovating for 25 years to deliver some of America’s most successful projects. By convening multiple disciplines, the members of DBIA have upended the status quo on projects both big and small to reinvent what design-build can accomplish for our nation. Because DBIA delivers education and certification that drive not just business transformation but industry imagination, the organization inspires both projects and futures. DBIA ensures that everyone in its community—from practitioners to Owners to everyday citizens—takes advantage of the power of design-build so they can realize higher quality outcomes for today and thousands of tomorrows.


NAIOP San Diego is dedicated to commercial/industrial/mixed use real estate and continues to represent the real estate industry with strong legislative representation and great networking opportunities, educational programs, and mixers which brings the industry together for exclusive networking and experience exchange with their peers.

  • Student membership: Please contact USP Dept Industry Liaison.
  • Event costs: Some events are free for members and some have a fee to attend.
  • Related student organization: Triton Real Estate Organization (TREO)

San Diego Green Building Council

The San Diego Green Building Council (SDGBC) is a community of building industry professionals and sustainability advocates with expertise in areas such as architecture, construction, design, urban planning, policy, and more. We work together to promote sustainable building and community practices to bring the San Diego region closer to achieving its climate, water, waste, and energy goals.

The San Diego Green Building Council is a registered 501c3 community benefit nonprofit organization (documents accessible through our GuideStar profile). With national relationships with the US Green Building Council (as an aligned community) and the International Living Future Institute (hosting the SD Living Future Collaborative) we provide local connections through partnering non-profits and local governments.


Inspire, educate, and collaborate within our community to transform our built environment toward true sustainability


Our buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation

  • Website
  • Student membership: We are offering FREE one-year memberships to students. Membership comes with Community Member perks. Please use your .edu email address to claim this offer.
  • Events: Some events are free for members and some have a fee to attend.
  • Mentoring: Mentorship program available. Applications are in early summer.

Southern California Rental Housing Association

The Southern California Rental Housing Association (SCRHA) is a 100 year old trade organization representing rental housing owners, professional property managers, and service providers to the industry.

Urban Land Institute (ULI)

The mission of the Urban Land Institute is to shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.Founded in 1936, the Institute includes diverse members and supporting organizations who promote community-focused development through educational programming and shared expertise. San Diego chapter info.