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Thread: What to expect coming out of college

  1. #1
    Member
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    Massachusetts
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    What to expect coming out of college

    I will be graduating with my BA in Geography with a concentration in Planning. I have been working with my local City Planning Dept. in Massachusetts for a year now as, at first an unpaid intern and then paid. I do love this field and I do want to make a difference in building communities but on the other hand I do want to make a good living. I have done my research as to what salary to expect but can anyone give me anymore insight into that area? Is it way off base for me to ask for $37,000 to $40,000 to start? How is advancement in this field? Any comments would be appreciated

  2. #2
    I am also in Mass and have been in the field for 5 years. 37-40 seems a bit high assuming an entry level position, however it greatly depends on what community you will be working for.

    Based upon my experience and the current market for planners in Mass, I would expect an employeer to offer a starting salary between 32-35. This may be slighly higher depending upon specialized skills such as GIS.

    As for long term, I strongly suggest that you consider getting a Master in Planning especially if you plan on continued practice in Mass. However, if your current employer is willing to bring you on around 35 and the community is well respected and actively involved in planning, then accepting a position with them maybe an alternative option rather than a masters. However, without a Masters in Mass, you may find yourself with a long term commitment (3-5 years) to your current employer.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Check out "how much do you get paid" under the Planning Peeves thread. If you expect 37-40 with a BA, you have not done much research.

  4. #4
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    Thank you evanB and yes mike gurnee I have done my research. For the last year I have perused the job announcements on the APA website and it seems that I might be able to get what I want with my BA and one year experience and efficiency in GIS in Massachusetts that is. Maybe not in someplace like Idaho or South Carolina.

  5. #5
    One thing that can be frustrating is when a job post doesn't list the salary range. So, you send in your resume, go in for the interview, discuss, and finally come to the part of the interview where compensation and benefits are brought up. Everything went well... up to this point. No doubt you've been putting on a happy face and answering questions with solid responses, however, that tugging feeling in your gut echoes: "They ain't gonna pay jack, I just know it!" And then it hits: "Well, friendly Interviewee, all we have budgeted is up to $32,000. I know you have a Masters and four years of experience, but we just can't afford anymore."

    Well, geez, thanks. Why'd I come here anyway?

    This scenario has always been perplexing and a colossal waste of time. Any hints on how to deal with the job posting that doesn't list salary ranges?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Why not put your salary requirements in your cover letter? Or ask about it when they call you to set up an interview. If they've got a maximum salary already set that's not in your range, you can say you're not interested in interviewing. Or if you have a special salary need, say for instance an up-front relocation fee, let them know that ahead of time. Then, they can work their system to see what they can do. If it sounds like they can do nothing to accomodate you, don't interview, or maybe interview only by phone and save yourself some time and money.
    JOE ILIFF
    ________________________________________________________________________
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