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Thread: Getting a low-level planning job with no planning experience?

  1. #1

    Getting a low-level planning job with no planning experience?

    Hi all,

    I'm just about finished with college (I'm graduating this spring) with a degree in one of the social sciences. Increasingly, after looking a bit into it, I'm thinking urban planning is something I'm very interested in pursuing as a career-- one that I hadn't really even been aware of before I came to school. If I do go down the planning route, I'd eventually be aiming for a Master's degree, but I both don't think I want to go straight back into school after getting my BA, and want to confirm that planning is actually something I'd like in practice.

    My main question is, is it realistic to try to procure a basic-level planning job without a background in the field? I have a lot of diverse work experiences, just not in planning. My ideal situation is to go back to Boston-- my hometown-- but I can be flexible.

    Does anyone know if this is at all possible? What kind of thing should I be looking at?

    Thanks! I've really been enjoying what I've read on these forums so far. Most of the threads have been interesting and helpful.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
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    2,790
    If you don't have at least a bachelors in planning coupled with at least one planning internship, it is going to be very difficult if not impossible to land an entry-level job in planning. Most, but not all, entry-level planning jobs require at least an MUP. I used to be a lot more encouraging with entry-level planners with bachelors in planning. However, the economy is in shambles, and planners of all different levels of experience have been laid off, both in the public and private sector. In better times, you might have better luck earning an entry-level job in planning, provided you have the planning bachelors and internships (preferably more than one). A couple of us were very lucky to get our foot in the door that way a few years ago, myself included.

    Unfortunately, with no planning degree and no planning internships, you are going up against students fresh out of grad school and planners with years of experience. I don't think the situation is going to improve for at least 2-3 years. I recommend applying for MUP programs, get straight A's, and earn as many internships as possible during the school year and summer. Chances are the economy might still be in bad shape when you get out, and you need to separate yourself as much as possible from the competition.

    Hope this helps-

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2005
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    In the Peach State
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    921
    Go back and get a degree if you are interested in the field of planning. It will be very tough for you to get through with the economy the way it is.
    Satellite City Enabler

  4. #4
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Jul 2007
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    the old north state
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    I got in the door as a planning secretary right out of college with a social science degree, 4 years ago. I will agree with the other posters that times are tough in this industry and I don't think you could reasonably expect to do that now. Even starting there and getting promoted to a Planning Technician wouldn't have gotten me a full blown planning job for a couple of years without a master's degree. If you aren't willing to intern for a little while and gain some experience, I would suggest getting your master's degree in Planning if that what you want to do.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

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