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Thread: Thinking of Career Change

  1. #1

    Thinking of Career Change

    I could use any advice/opinions while weighing my options about changing careers. Im currently a second year attorney practicing insurance defense. I am thinking of making a career change and going back to school to get a masters in urban planning, but before I do I want to really explore all my options. I have a tone of questions so I guess I will just list them. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    1. I have no economic, mathmatical, or architecture background. I was an English major in undergrad, and then obviously I got my JD. Will this be a hinderance? Are strong math skills essential to the career?

    2. Must you attend a school in the area in which you would like to get a job, and in the same vein are there certain areas/locals where it is easier to find a job?

    3. Does anyone have an opinion on Rutgers' masters program?

    4. Right now I do insurance defense work. Would it be advisable for me to switch to municipal work or commercial real estate for a couple of years before going back to school?

    5. Is it difficult to get a job after graduation from a masters program? Is the field very competitive?

    Again any help is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    "if I was good at math, I'd be an architect or an engineer" is the planner's mantra, so don't worry about it too much.

    Depending on what type of planning you want to do, not understanding or being able to speak like an architect may or may not be a hindrance.

    Without knowing you or why planning interests you it is difficult to provide much more comment and even point 1 is a bit weak.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  3. #3
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
    Aug 2002
    I agree with the math assessment of Donk - it's a non-issue. My pseudo-law background (I was an office manager at a personal injury firm for many years) has come in handy, so I wouldn't be concerned that you didn't practice in land use law. Planning has so many issues lately, and it's helpful to be comfortable reading court decisions, proposed statutes, etc., as well as understanding quasi-judicial concerns. (I'm speaking from a Florida background, so NJ may be different).

    Hopefully some of the people from NJ on this forum can help you out on job competition. In Florida, there are so many jobs in so many areas that it really depends on what area you want to work in (current, environmental, GIS, transportation, etc.) and you can still probably have your choice of jobs. A quick look at the NJ planning website shows a lot of jobs available http://www.njapa.org/classifieds.html although many seem to be upper-level jobs in the private sector that require some experience. Good luck!

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