I was reading a number of complaints/responses to why it is so hard to find a job in this field. I was startled to discover one signifigant omission that everyone seems to forget- the United States has been unsder development for over 200 years, quite frankly every one has moved to areas that are desireable to live in and as such many of those areas already have some sort of planning and or land use regulation in effect, the few communities that don't have plainning or land use regulation abound with consultants graduates and politicians falling all over themselves trying to get in on the game. Planning as I have discovered after working for sometime in the field is essentially a dead art! Take heart and don't waste time in graduate schools, you must specialise, become an expert in some field related to planning such as building regulation/inspection, zonning property taxation/assessment you will find that the gap to becomming a municipal planner etc. much narrower to cross. As for working for cunsulting firms, forget it, staff planners abound in this industry and more often than not do not want competition for reasons that I already mentioned, you agian may make yourself attractive to employer's in the private sector by again specialising in some peripheral field such as Geographic Information Systems, leagal research, surveying, statistics and or data collection. Also one area I have had marginal success in is cartography and remote sensing any planner needs maps and this area is still important, Especially with the dawn of the information age. I would not recomend for anyone to ge involved with planning as a career, the field is overcrowded No one is receptive to taking on unseasoned planners and even work study is often full of pitt falls.
remember Specialzation is the key to the door!!------J.C.