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Thread: What do you need to become a urban/community planner?

  1. #1
    Jun 2004
    Huntsville, AL

    What do you need to become a urban/community planner?

    Hi everyone,
    I'm looking at urban planning as a possible career, and I'd like to know what it takes to become a planner more about what it's like to be one. What kind of degrees do you need? Do you need an undergraduate degree in planning in addition to a graduate degree in planning? What are the college classes you have to take like? Are they mostly studio classes or are they more like regular lecture courses? How available are jobs? What's the duties and responsiblities of an urban planner?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    Despite what you might hear us say from time to time, it is a great profession. If you plan to go on for a masters right away, then you don't need to be too particular about your undergrad. In fact, you may be better off getting a degree in a related field, in an area of planning that you would like to have as your specialty (for instance, environmental science, public administration, etc.). I think a bachelors in planning may be a little more likely to lead to a planning job if you do not have the masters.

    The availability of jobs varies around the country. They are more plentiful in Florida and Arizona than they are in Wisconsin or Minnesota. If you play your cards right, though, you can go just about anywhere.

    As for what we do, that really depends on the job. The simplest way to say it is that we deal with how land is used. Even that misses out on aspects of the profession, such as mine (economic development) or urban design or fiscal planning.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    My only suggestion is to go to a school or program that is accredited by the professional association (APA, CIP, ACUPP etc). My CIP accredited degree in planning has been helpful in getting jobs, especially in other jurisdictions.

    I'd say, knowing what I know now, get an undergrad in public admin, focussing on municipal affairs, business systems, and minor in urban studies, then specialize in your area of interest in your masters.

    if you already have an under grad, then go straight to masters and don't worry about the undergrad.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  4. #4
    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Boulder, CO
    Another thing would be moxy. Sadly, I lacked that required attribute & am not allowed to follow the planning profession. I am destined to follow the sad lonely route of a GIS professional.

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