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Thread: Portfolios, etc.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2008
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    Illinois as of 1/1/09
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    215

    Portfolios, etc.

    Hello all. This is my first post on the forum. After reading several threads in the career section, the time has come for me to ask some *general* questions.

    To introduce where I'm coming from, I graduated a few years ago with a BS of Urban Planning, had an unpaid internship while I did my final two semesters and have been employed as a Planner since I graduated. I live in a rural area - well actually it's a micropolitan area in Eastern Iowa - and the average home price here is around $80,000. We did a wage compensation study three years ago and the starting wage for the Planners were bumped to around $50,000/year. My department has one boss, one planner, a few rental inspectors, and some building inspectors. We also have two secretaries.

    First, why does everything make it seem like you NEED a Master's to get anywhere in Planning? From reading the Planning.org site and this site it seems like you can only get a good job with a Master's. I simply don't believe that.

    Secondly, what are these "portfolios" some people have for planning? I know LA and Arch has portfolios but never once in my planning undergrad did we have or make reference to a portfolio.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by paiste13; 30 Jul 2008 at 3:19 PM. Reason: changed to "micropolitan"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Gig City
    Posts
    2,690
    First, welcome to Cyburbia.

    Second, I believe the propensity of individuals with Masters is ever increasing therefore there is an identified group of people who would be "more qualified" out there, just a thought.

    Third, portfolio. I recently, as in yesterday, submitted my first portfolio. I put together a couple of letters of reference (I unashamedly asked for a few) as well as past reviews which were glowing, newspaper articles in which I spoke to issues that the prospective employer may agree with, and I closed with a few letters I wrote on reviews of both urban and suburban work. I also included 2 sheets of significant other work like training that I have completed not necessarily linked to planning, my past 2 years budgets and expenses to show that I can operate within a budget, and significant course work, papers, and projects which I have completed.
    @GigCityPlanner

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
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    2,823
    The general public doesn't view planning in as high regard as more technical fields: engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, etc. With the exceptions of New Jersey and possibly California, planners do not go through a rigorous exam process on par with licensure for engineering, arch, etc (we are only certified). To compensate for this, employers typically require more entry-level planners to have an MUP. I don't plan on earning a second planning degree, I think it's bogus. Students fresh out of graduate school don't know much more than students fresh out of undergrad planning programs (but they do have a thesis under their belt which adds some "weight"). Until more planning programs are licensed, I think the MUP will be degree of choice for many planning positions.

    Design-heavy programs and/or planning students who want to do more design work are usually familiar with portfolios. Not all planning programs focus on design. However, if you don't know what to include, follow Tide's advice and include some writing samples or anything that you think is of importance.

    Hope this helps-

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    May 2004
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    Grand Rapids, Michigan (Detroit ex-pat since 2004)
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    4,925

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    17,024
    Hello and welcome.

    I'm one of those rare birds that "only" holds a bachelors degree in planning (Sonoma State University). I've done well with "just" a bachelors. But you really have to be the right person at the right place at the right time. FWIW, that's been my experience. Oh, experience being the key term there.
    Annoyingly insensitive

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