I'm currently deciding whether to go get my MURP and enter the field of urban planning. I am currently in sales and want a career where i can feel i "make a difference". how much do you actually effect change, and is it for the better? what are your likes and dislikes? how much is beaurocratic $%#@!. and finally, would you do it all over again, knowing what you now know.
Ditto on Mike's response. Planning can be a very frustrating profession, but it can also be rewarding. Typically, however, pay scales are not commensurate with the amount of training, education and responsibility required for a position.
I would also add that an important consideration is the length of time you'll spend in grad school and what it will cost. I took out loans for 2 years of grad school and will be paying them back for the next decade or so.
If I could turn back time, I would have gotten a Masters degree in (dare I say) real estate.
Ditto to Mike and Brent's remarks! My best advice is as follows: if you do go back to school, get in and out a.s.a.p. so you can start pulling down thiose big bucks (ha, ha). Aslo, when your done with school, be willing to relocate to find a job - when your starting out it is important to get as much experience in as many different areas as podssible.
Hope I haven't discouraged you too much
As is the case for most in this profession, there are times when I wished I'd become a plumber or bricklayer (they make more money, are often their own boss and can turn down work when they aren't interested.
I don't know how considered my decision was when I got into planning but after 10 years I seem to have the temperament for it. I think that is the biggest question. What is your personality like? In my opinion; this is not the profession for people who are inflexible, highly goal oriented (your goals), or who don't have patience. You have to be able to focus on making a process work over achieving personal values and desires. Honestly evaluate who you are. It might be interesting to hear what others opinions are on this matter. I think I'll post a message to the board and ask.
No, I don't think I would do it again. In grad school, I learned about the Chicago Plan and other large-scale planning projects of the past, but in 1999, most local planners have little influence over the built environment. The almighty dollar rules in most communities, so sprawl runs rampant.
I went into planning thinking it was a creative field where I could "make a difference". Now, I'm a little older and wiser and if I could do it all over again, I would probably choose a field like journalism where I could exercise a little creativity.