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Thread: Necessity of a dual degree for transportation?

  1. #1
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    Necessity of a dual degree for transportation?

    Im wondering what people's thoughts are on the necessity of a dual MCP/CE to practice as a transportation planner. I'm more interested on the planning side of things, but completely acknowledge the more technical engineering side of transportation. I realize a dual degree wouldn't hurt, but is it necessary for a career as a transportation planner, and would people not take you seriously if you only had a planning degree?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Hello Cobalt,
    I am also interested in getting a degree as a CE, but I am not attending a dual degree program. I think I will do that after I get the MUP. It will be great on the technical and the policy basis to further advance your career as a transportation planner and give you wider access to public agencies and private firms. It is a great way to give you the treatment as a true transportation planner. I like the idea and hope to do it soon.
    - Chester

    PS - Sorry if it does not help...

  3. #3
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
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    I am not a CE nor a Transportation Planner but the following is based on what I know of the CE curriculum and the professional aspects of transportation planning from reviewing transportation/traffic impact/analysis studies.

    I wouldn't say that a CE is necessary to be a transplanner - you would be a taking a lot of courses that do not necessarily relate specifically to transplanning unless you are also considering road design. All of the transplanning courses would be electives and you should be able to enroll in them if you are already enrolled in a planning program.

    The technical stuff you can pick up on the job - if you want to get a head, go to your local planning and/or engineering dept and ask to see a couple of transp/traffic analysis reports. It will take the first few reads to get your head around the techno jargon and understand the methods but they actually aren't all that complicated - they sure look it though at first glance.

    Instead a getting a whole other degree in CE I would recommend loading your electives up on transportation classes in planning and engineering programs.

    I work with a transplanner who is not an engineer but has a degree in planning and understands all of the technical stuff as well as any engineer, except for when it comes to design, which is a whole other ball game IMO.

    But having the engineering AND planning degrees certainly does look good and provides you with more cred than without a CE degree, however unfounded that respect may be in transplanning - it also gives you more options.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Some programs offer a concentration in Transportation and then an additional certificate in Transportation that requires some engineering courses. Might check out that avenue.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    You don't need an engineering degree to be a transportation planner. You'll lack the knowledge of the actual design, but when a project reaches that phase, you're out of the picture anyway.

    I get projects to the point that engineers can take them over, which sometimes means get a FONSI on an EA. I also help a lot with my agency's budget. Neither of these require a CE.
    The cookies are worth the drive

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    Thanks a lot guys. I'm a long time reader, first time poster, I'm glad I gave it a shot.

  7. #7

    How Much Do You Like Math???

    As a Registered (CE) PE, I would have to agree with most of these posts that the CE degree is a little overkill for the position of a transportation planner. In fact I turned down a transportation planning job with the county to stay as a traffic engineer. If you don't like design, then transportation planning is for you, if you don't like as much planning and reports and like design a little bit, then transportation/traffic engineering is for you.
    I would say, if you really like academia and have enough $ and time for that much schooling, go for 2 degrees, if you want to make money and get out now, stick with one and see how you like it first (did I mention to jump on intern opportunities). I think that you will be surprised at the provervial job avenues that open for you once you get that degree. Otherwise, without real-world experience, but 8 years of college, you will be the overqualified expert idiot wherever you go.
    Lastly, salary-wise (at least in the midwest) planners and civil engineers are pretty much on an even playing field - in case you were wondering. Good luck with whatever you choose.

    A wise man once said, "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life". I haven't worked yet.........
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cal_Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr View post
    Otherwise, without real-world experience, but 8 years of college, you will be the overqualified expert idiot wherever you go.

    Lastly, salary-wise (at least in the midwest) planners and civil engineers are pretty much on an even playing field - in case you were wondering. Good luck with whatever you choose.
    Assuming "idiot" was facetious, I agree with the first statement IF your undergraduate degree was not in engineering. At least I found that my Transportation engineering coursework in no way has prepared me to take the PE. (Not sure you even can take the PE without an undergrad in Engineering).

    However, I have to disagree with the second statement. In my short job search (in California), I have found that Transportation planners do get paid more than land use planners at least at the entry level position.

    If you definitely want to do transportation planning, then I would say yes, get the dual degree - especially if it is only an additional 1 year program (or less in the case of overlapping courses). It looks great on your resume and sets you apart from others with only one degree or the other.

    By the way, I graduated from the joint TE / MCP program at Berkeley. Send me a PM if you have specific questions and I'll be happy to help you out!

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