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Thread: Professional transportation planner certification program

  1. #1

    Professional transportation planner certification program

    As mentioned in the "What the APA needs to do..." thread, the Institute of Transportation Engineers is establishing a "Professional Transportation Planner" Certification Program. They finally have more information up on their website so I thought I'd let those interested know about it.

    http://www.tpcb.org/ptp/requirements.asp


    I'm interested, but not sure that it does anything for me professionally at the moment. I don't know if I would get paid more , or if my agency would cover the cost (need to find out about both), or if it will only really come in handy if and when I change jobs....

  2. #2
    Like any certification in its infancy, it will take time before it is recognized and respected in your field (Planning). Also keep in mind that because it is so new, it may never become recongnized as an "important" certification. You will likely not see it become a standard in job description for another 3-5 years, if at all. It does sound good on paper though. It's too bad that the ITE has to step forward with this rather than the APA though - maybe AICP has too much of a stranglehold on the APA? just guessing at that though. I am hopeful that the APA embraces this and at least partners with the ITE in making this new certification "successful" and recommends it for their planners so it will increas in popularity as another avenue of the planning profession. I can only hope.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    I heard about this at a recent ITE conference. ITE recently rolled out the PTOE and received general success, so they must have seen the additional revenue stream to take advantage of . I could theoretically do this one as well, but I think the PTOE is pretty much a waste too, even thought I are one. For engineers the PE should be everything you need, and in my darker moments I can express how the PE should not be required either, it's just another union keeping the labor supply artifically low. But lacking a robust reputation system needed for that, these certifications can help both professionals and clients.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Cool competition for AICP! maybe this will get them to lower prices or be more general in what they accept as educational credits?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    I know guys who collect these things.... thier card reads like

    John Q. Public, PE, PTOE,AICP, MBA, ETC.

    They are usally guys who like a testing challange. If you ask them, they tell you that most of them have done little to enhance pay. Theb ig ones are the ones that require insurance, like the PE.
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Iron Ring's avatar
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    I have my PTOE. I'd agree that is basically useless and basically involves taking a silly test which does nothing more than evaluate your ability to memorize arbitrary facts and your ability to re-arrange equations. Occasionally, a PTOE is 'required' for a project team, which is why I have mine. I wouldn't get too excited about the PTP certification. Although, I suppose if you are a planner working with mostly engineers, it might give you a little more credibilty (even if it shouldn't).

  7. #7
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Iron Ring View post
    Although, I suppose if you are a planner working with mostly engineers, it might give you a little more credibilty (even if it shouldn't).
    I think perhaps this is why it appeals to me somewhat. CIP/APA don't really recognize transportation planning in their structures, and it's very hard to become a full member of ITE without being an Engineer.

    Will probably pursue it, mainly for "status".

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    Will probably pursue it, mainly for "status".
    What status would that be? Are we (as transportation planners) in need of validation? I don't mean this in a nasty way... it is more of an insight question meant to spur some debate.

    Question is: "As a transportation planner, do we feel we are less of a factor (less important) than if we had some 'official' designation, such as a PE?"

    My personal answer is 'no'.
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  9. #9
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Flying Monkeys View post
    What status would that be? Are we (as transportation planners) in need of validation? I don't mean this in a nasty way... it is more of an insight question meant to spur some debate.

    Question is: "As a transportation planner, do we feel we are less of a factor (less important) than if we had some 'official' designation, such as a PE?"

    My personal answer is 'no'.

    It would be very useful to me as "status" when providing expert witness testimony at Municipal Board hearings (assuming the board recognizes the certification - I presume they would). As a transportation planner with an urban planning background, not a traffic engineering background, yes sometimes it can be difficult to be taken as seriously as those with an iron ring on their pinky finger.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    As a transportation planner with an urban planning background, not a traffic engineering background, yes sometimes it can be difficult to be taken as seriously as those with an iron ring on their pinky finger.
    Don't feed into that garbage. It is what you know, not what they think you know. Traffic engineers are civil engineers who could not make it as a design engineer... I only say this to show that someone is always not taking some other group serious. There is a lot a transportation planner does that can be done by an engineer, but why?

    It only bothers me when someone wants an impact study 'signed and sealed'. What for? Is the roadway in question going to collapse? Whatever....
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Flying Monkeys View post
    ...wants an impact study 'signed and sealed'. What for? Is the roadway in question going to collapse? Whatever....
    Haha, this union is good for something!

    RTG, the PEPTOE

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Cool competition for AICP! maybe this will get them to lower prices or be more general in what they accept as educational credits?
    I am a professional transportation planner and I will be going for the AICP not the PTP. The PTP looks to be much too heavy on the technical stuff and too light on the political stuff. Seems to be more for a transportation modeler or transportation analyst.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    I just got the bulk email from ITE regarding the exam dates.
    The Transportation Professional Certification Board Inc. (TPCB) announces the first Professional Transportation Planner (PTP) examination to be held in six cities on March 24, 2007. Applications for the PTP certification exam on Saturday, March 24th must be received by Friday, March 9th.
    Cities:
    Dallas, TX
    Chicago, IL
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Princeton, NJ
    San Diego
    Washington, DC

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Huh?

    Are you telling me that the ITE is providing a credential for Planners!!! I'm amazed AICP hasn't sued them yet..... Maybe they are too red faced? Still, it is a little more than strange that ITE is providing a planner certification......

    I think AICP should be enough......I mean if someone needs a traffic engineer, they call a PE to stamp the report anyway, because that tends to be a requirement of many jurisdictions.

    What's next ULI providing a Land Planner Certification.....Maybe the CFP certified financial planner, really does have something to do with planning.....hmm.....

    Is it just me or are the number of certification and licensing entities getting to be hard to follow, let alone know what they really mean......
    Skilled Adoxographer

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Follow the money... $100 per year per sucke^H^H^H^H^H certified professional.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Another scam. At first I was interested, but its not looking so good now.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally posted by Flying Monkeys View post

    Question is: "As a transportation planner, do we feel we are less of a factor (less important) than if we had some 'official' designation, such as a PE?"
    I posted on another thread I created, but basically I'm a student at Georgia Tech trying to figure out if I should go ahead and do a dual degree in civil engineering and city planning w/ transportation specialization. I've heard mixed reviews on whether the civil part is helpful. In the job market, would a dual master's be beneficial? I don't have a undergrad in civil (in Finance instead), so I can't practice as a PE anyway even if I do have the dual degree.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jwagner15 View post
    In the job market, would a dual master's be beneficial? I don't have a undergrad in civil (in Finance instead), so I can't practice as a PE anyway even if I do have the dual degree.
    First, if you do not have an undergrad in engineering, do not bother with the masters, unless it is for your own personel growth. The PE is the end result of engineering education. If you can not qaulify to sit for the PE, then it will not translate into dollars.

    Second, what you study should be your interest first, your carreer goal second. What do you want to do? If engineering is your thing, go back and upgrade you undergrad. If planning is your thing, get the one masters, get out and do some real planning as soon as possible.

    And, I would also add, any advice should always be taken with a grain salt, and my advise should be taken with the whole shaker, a lime, and a shot.
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian jkellerfsu's avatar
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    "credentials"

    I never post but this sparked my interest for a number of reasons.

    I rec'd a bachelor of Science in Environmental Analysis & Planning, worked in Civil Engineering as a highway design engineer for five years before going for a Masters of Engineering (at a top 20 engineering school - focus on transportation planning).

    Why this route? It was the job market at the time that got me into highway engineering. I was not respected as an "engineer" w/o the engineering degree - or paid as one - so I went for the Master's. Now with a Masters in Engineering I am still not an engineer w/o the PE. Pain in the ass.

    Here is the twist. I am looking to apply for a job in transportation planning and am not respected by the planners, well b/c I am an ENGINEER!

    Here I am, nine years out at and I am stuck.

    I will be going after the planning job b/c my education coupled with my technical experience is ideal for urban transportation planning - I just have to market myself right. No doubt I will face salary issues however.

    My engineering firm is hard pressed on certifications - if you are a planner working for an engineering firm, I'd suggest every lame-ass certification out there. Do I believe they mean a whole lot? hell no, but the ones that pay my salary do.

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    thanks for helping a fellow planner

    jkellerfsu, It's sad that engineers and planners so often can't respect one another. That's one of the things I was concerned about. Thanks for the honest input. I need this "real world" advise to balance out the academic viewpoint. Now it's just time to make a decision. I worry about the salary question too. I have always lived pretty cheap, but I worry that my family will have to eat ramen noodles or something. I guess that's partially why I wanted to pursue the trans. engineering thing.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jkellerfsu View post
    Here is the twist. I am looking to apply for a job in transportation planning and am not respected by the planners, well b/c I am an ENGINEER!
    Respect is a two-way street. What makes you any different than someone with planning experience seeking a job as an engineer? Just curious. It seems as though all of your degrees are science/engineering oriented. Long-range planning is an art, not a science. It involves negotiation, political maneuvering, thinking outside the box, and high levels of public interaction. Planning is not something that engineers can expect to "fall back on" if they can't cut it in the engineering field. They are two totally different disciplines. Perhaps in interviews you come across as too linear, as many engineers can. Just speculating, I could be way off.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian jkellerfsu's avatar
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    Dead on

    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    Respect is a two-way street. What makes you any different than someone with planning experience seeking a job as an engineer? Just curious. It seems as though all of your degrees are science/engineering oriented. Long-range planning is an art, not a science. It involves negotiation, political maneuvering, thinking outside the box, and high levels of public interaction. Planning is not something that engineers can expect to "fall back on" if they can't cut it in the engineering field. They are two totally different disciplines. Perhaps in interviews you come across as too linear, as many engineers can. Just speculating, I could be way off.
    I agree with you completely jmello! I am the anomaly in the engineering world. In fact, the characteristics you mention are the reasons I am looking to enter planning. I have not had THE interview yet. Ugh - you called me linear the horrid stereotype!

    I have spent the past two years working on-site in the public sector as an enginneering consultant and have found myself on some great teams composed of planners, investors, politicians and the community. It's been quite rewarding.

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    It's at least a start

    I have been interested in the PTP certification since I first heard about it. Up until that point AICP was clearly the most applicable certification for me as a transportation planner, however the certification clearly didn't have much to do with the knowledge I needed as a transportation planner. It was only relevant in that the word "planner" was involved.

    Transportation planning is a completely different animal. I'm not talking about urban planners that focus on transportation issues or old engineers that are city transportation managers, I'm talking about FHWA- State DOT - MPO's and TMA's. I'm talking about modeling, LRP and TIP development etc.

    This is a niche of planning that isn't "tested". Its not Urban planning, its not engineering.

    I do think its interesting that engineers are certifying planners but its probably better that way.

    If engineers don't respect it- who cares. Is it as "impressive" as AICP? Probably not. What it is, is something; a start, letters to put on your business card. Will it increase your salary- probably not.

    Is it worth the fee and more applicable as a transportation planner than AICP? Thats what I'm betting on.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jkellerfsu View post
    My engineering firm is hard pressed on certifications - if you are a planner working for an engineering firm, I'd suggest every lame-ass certification out there. Do I believe they mean a whole lot? hell no, but the ones that pay my salary do.
    Quote Originally posted by jwagner15 View post
    jkellerfsu, It's sad that engineers and planners so often can't respect one another. That's one of the things I was concerned about. Thanks for the honest input. I need this "real world" advise to balance out the academic viewpoint. Now it's just time to make a decision. I worry about the salary question too. I have always lived pretty cheap, but I worry that my family will have to eat ramen noodles or something. I guess that's partially why I wanted to pursue the trans. engineering thing.
    I'm starting to study for the LSAT so that I can go to law school, because I'm sick of agents for applicants making legal arguments when they aren't lawyers. But since law school will take me out of active planning for a number of years, I want to get my AICP before I go. In the meantime, I'm working hard on my BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program, http://www.bjcp.org/index.php). It won't do squat for my salary, but at least I know that I'll be able to drink good beer while I'm living on ramen noodles

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