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Thread: Planning degree necessary for planning job?

  1. #1
    Member
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    Planning degree necessary for planning job?

    Hi everybody. I just moved to DC and was thinking about trying to find a planning related job here. There are so many levels of government in the metro area, public interest groups, private firms etc. My problem is that I have a BA in English and no planning degree. I was in an excellent masters planning program three years ago for a semester but had to leave because of burnout/anxiety problems that had little to do with the coursework itself. I would like to reapply for a similar program in planning/design/policy eventually but would like to find an planning related job in the meantime. My planning knowledge is excellent, I can read a map like nobody else, I can throw around terminology with the best of them and I have excellent computer skills. I am willing to take a administrative/rubber stamping job as long as I could have some contact with planning. Is that possible in this age of planning professionalism? Any advice would be appreciated, especially as it pertains to Wash. DC.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Dec 1998
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    NOLA
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    I don't know anything about the DC area.

    I also have a BA in English, but also a Masters in Urban Planning. In general, planners do a lot of writing - studies, staff reports,plans, etc. While you're earning your planning degree, you can always sell your writing skills to prospective employers. That has always been my selling point.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  3. #3
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    My advice

    Run. Run from this profession like it has the plague.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    India
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    My planning knowledge is excellent, I can read a map like nobody else, I can throw around terminology with the best of them and I have excellent computer skills.
    I wouldnt know much about the Employment rules and styles in the US and Canada. Although the abovementioned skills are really useful in the profession, it would be better to get a planning degree( full time or even part time).

    Thats my advice.
    Rest is upto you!!
    "I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them".
    -Isaac Asimov

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Va
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    Well as a planner in the DC area get ready for a long job hunt. Everyone wants tons of years under the belt and offers little pay.

    My .02
    -look for a foot in the door with a goverment, it might even be an intern, admin help that sort of thing just so you can get your name know to them and pick up the local lingo.

    -Va planning laws are screwy as hell-Dillons rule rules the roost around here.
    Go to the workshops at the NCBM National Cap Building Meu.

    -Many many planners dont have planning degrees, I dont but I now have almost 9 years in the field.

    -Get out and NETWORK, join the local state and DC listserves, ask around whos good to work for and who sucks.

    Good luck!
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    Aug 2002
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    Florida
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    The only reason that I obtained the AICP is to overcome the fact that I don't have a planning degree. I have a masters' in education, and that tended to put off employers automatically. The AICP sure isn't a reflection of planning ability (many threads devoted to this topic already!), but it made sure that my resume was read and doors were opened when I was job hunting.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Arlington, Virginia
    Posts
    432
    Before you get a planning degree consider the possibility that you may not actually use it. It's quite common for people with professional degrees not to use their degrees after a stint in their intended career.

  8. #8
         
    Registered
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Livermore, California
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    2
    Quote Originally posted by rrk
    Hi everybody. I just moved to DC and was thinking about trying to find a planning related job here. There are so many levels of government in the metro area, public interest groups, private firms etc. My problem is that I have a BA in English and no planning degree. I was in an excellent masters planning program three years ago for a semester but had to leave because of burnout/anxiety problems that had little to do with the coursework itself. I would like to reapply for a similar program in planning/design/policy eventually but would like to find an planning related job in the meantime. My planning knowledge is excellent, I can read a map like nobody else, I can throw around terminology with the best of them and I have excellent computer skills. I am willing to take a administrative/rubber stamping job as long as I could have some contact with planning. Is that possible in this age of planning professionalism? Any advice would be appreciated, especially as it pertains to Wash. DC.
    Hi! I have a bachelor degree in linqustics and it helped me a lot while pursuing master's degree in planning. In my class there were a lot of students who worked for a while in planning commisions or envronment protection organizations. It was easier for them to sort things out during the classes, especially in Law class. I wish I first got some experience in the planning field before pursuing the degree.
    It depends on what kid of planning you want to do, I guess. I worked first for a Cartographical Agency in Russia, the for environmental institute. Maybe you can find a job in a non-profit organization first.

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