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Thread: Job with bachelors degree?

  1. #1
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    Job with bachelors degree?

    Hi. This is my first post on this website even though I have been reading for a long time now. I really enjoy the content on this website, everyone is extremely helpful and knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics.

    I am currently a senior graduating in May from the University of Connecticut with a bachelors degree in geography and minor in Geographic Information Systems. Over the few weeks I have been at school since winter break I have been researching job opportunities across the state of Connecticut and beyond. I have been working retail during my entire college career to save what I can for loans and such and have had one internship at a town planning and zoning office. I hope to get a job after college to pay some bills but a masters degree is a definite for my future.

    I have a question:
    With only a bachelors degree in geography and minor is GIS what should I expect to find or what should I really be looking for in a job and where (public/private)? Am I really going to find anything with out having a masters degree or do I need one to even start.

    Does anyone have any insight or advice? I searched but did not have great success but if anyone knows any threads I should look at please let me know.

    Thanks for all of your responses, Eric

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ejs06003 View post
    Hi. This is my first post on this website even though I have been reading for a long time now. I really enjoy the content on this website, everyone is extremely helpful and knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics.

    I am currently a senior graduating in May from the University of Connecticut with a bachelors degree in geography and minor in Geographic Information Systems. Over the few weeks I have been at school since winter break I have been researching job opportunities across the state of Connecticut and beyond. I have been working retail during my entire college career to save what I can for loans and such and have had one internship at a town planning and zoning office. I hope to get a job after college to pay some bills but a masters degree is a definite for my future.

    I have a question:
    With only a bachelors degree in geography and minor is GIS what should I expect to find or what should I really be looking for in a job and where (public/private)? Am I really going to find anything with out having a masters degree or do I need one to even start.

    Does anyone have any insight or advice? I searched but did not have great success but if anyone knows any threads I should look at please let me know.

    Thanks for all of your responses, Eric
    I, as well as one of my coworkers, were able to obtain entry-level employment in a municipality with only a bachelors degree (he had one in planning, I had one in geography-geotechniques), and we've subsequently gone up to the middle ranks in the organization (a step below senior planner). While I'm not sure what the planning job market is like in the northeast or if what I'm about to say has changed since the outset of the recession, I do know that if you're geographically mobile, public agencies (especially municipalities, but also sometimes MPO's or COG's) in the central/south-central region of the country (TX especially, but also OK, LA, AR, KS, NE, and SW MO) generally hires BA/BS people for entry-level jobs, and if you show aptitude and competence you can usually go pretty high up the ladder without a graduate degree. Director-level positions usually require a masters, whether in planning or public administration.

    Private sector jobs, on the other hand, usually either require either a masters degree or significant, successful public sector experience, with "significant" here meaning at least 5 years but probably more around 7 to 10 or more, and "successful" meaning that you've had increasing responsibilities and good exposure/participation/leadership in large planning projects.

    But like I said, this is for my region of the country. I'm sure one of the east coast Cyburbians can shed more light on the situation in your part of the country.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    I have a BS is Urban Planning and got a job within 6 months of graduation. Many of my classmates also got jobs with just s BS relatively soon. Those of them who went on to graduate school have actually had much more trouble getting jobs because (IMO) they don't take seriously lower-paying, middle-of-nowhere gigs. If you're okay with working for 35-45K in a more rural town you won't have any trouble but if you're looking to work on either of the coasts you may need that MS. It has been said in many posts that Planners are jacks of all trades but master of none - so the constant pressure for Master's you read on here and in job posts is a little disheartening, but don't worry - you'll be fine if you are willing to work in a smaller town.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    You could probably get a private sector gig out of college. I disagree you need substantial public sector experience to work in the dark side. However, many consultants are hoping that you ALREADY have a wide assortment of skills to bring to the table, not just the potential to learn some new ones. You might also need to relocate to get your foot in the door.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  5. #5
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    Thanks to all of you. Every comment was very helpful and insightful. You all got my hopes up of getting in the door.

    I definitely want to get a masters degree but can not afford it just yet. I want to gain experience as well.

    Thanks again everyone

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I've done well for myself with just a BA from a small, public university in California. So it can be done. But as mentioned in another thread, I'm the last of a dying breed.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Oh man. Do not try to get a job in California, much less the populated regions without knowing people. All of my interviews since graduating have been related to my GIS skills, as there is a growing need for GIS related work.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I'd suggest riding out the rest of the storm in college getting a Masters Degree. Like the housing foreclosure market versus new homes, the value of the marketplace has dropped significantly and there are way too many experienced planners out there trying to scoop the same entry level jobs you will be looking for. Choose a discipline that interests you and is much more focused (urban design, transportation planning, environmental planning, housing). Also, try to get as much internship work in as you can afford to while your pursuing the MS.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian MazerRackham's avatar
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    I have to agree with TexanOkie...his central/south-central scenario is my success story exactly. Granted, I now have an MS, but not until after I practiced as a planner with a BS for over 6 years. Although, I think nrschmid has a good point about private firms. I'm not necessarily looking for an MUP/MURP grad to fill a position. It depends upon the applicant's experience and skill set...however, I would prefer a "good fit" over the most qualified applicant any day.

    As far as riding out the storm, I think that depends upon where you are and the type of work you want to do. Also, a hiring manager does no one any favors by over-filling a position. You just wind up refilling that position in a year. You're better served by hiring someone with the mix of education and experience appropriate to the open position.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ejs06003 View post
    I am currently a senior graduating in May from the University of Connecticut with a bachelors degree in geography and minor in Geographic Information Systems.
    I have nearly the same education. I have the BS in Geog w/ emph in Urban-Economic Systems and GIS.

    I took two summer city planning internships to build some credibility with planning and have been employed in City Planning essentially my entire career.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JMplanner View post
    Oh man. Do not try to get a job in California, much less the populated regions without knowing people.
    Not necessarily. Sometimes all you need is a little luck.

    I also have my BS and have been employed since graduating college, however i aspire to be like RJ and others in their cushy PD jobs, so i am going back to get my master's degree soon. Beats sitting at home flipping burgers if i get laid off.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    I have nearly the same education. I have the BS in Geog w/ emph in Urban-Economic Systems and GIS.

    I took two summer city planning internships to build some credibility with planning and have been employed in City Planning essentially my entire career.
    I second this, Eric. I graduated with a BS in Geography, minored in Anthropology (my mom couldn't talk me out of it) and got an emphasis in Planning. One internship for a little less than a year and landed my first gig just a little better than entry level. You won't have trouble at entry level in the public sector, especially if you're able to move to the work. Good luck and welcome to the ranks!
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    ursus, there is a strong need for an anthropology background in planning.
    somebody tell how to get rid of this double post!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    ursus, there is a strong need for an anthropology background in planning. Glad to have you around.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian jdplanner's avatar
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    I'm also part of this group. I have B.S. in Geogrpahy (with a planning emphasis). I had two internships during school, one with the economic development arm of a large city chamber of commerce and the other with an MPO. I didn't have any trouble finding planning work, but I wasn't picky about where I applied for jobs.
    Last edited by jdplanner; 19 Feb 2010 at 5:46 PM. Reason: grammar

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    ..... i aspire to be like RJ ......
    Take a deep breath, push yourself away from the keyboard, go lay on the couch, and place cold compresses on your forehead. You'll recover. You do not want to aspire to be like me.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Take a deep breath, push yourself away from the keyboard, go lay on the couch, and place cold compresses on your forehead. You'll recover. You do not want to aspire to be like me.
    Off-topic:
    Obviously your PD position, not drunken text message CPSURaf on his sunday family day outings
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  18. #18
    Cyburbian fareastsider's avatar
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    I have a bachelors in geography with a co-major in urban planning and I have had a very difficult time finding work even with past experience in a planning department. I have had six interviews though in less than two years. Its tough out there but the opportunities exist. In the last two months I have found a lot of jobs to apply for.

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