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Thread: Professional development and career path

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    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Professional development and career path

    I've been AICP about 1 year now and I'm feeling an itch to get some more letters after my name. I like the learning process and the achievement related to it. At this point I don't want to go back for a second masters degree but I would like to expand my horizon and knowledge base. This itch makes me wonder if it is something I'm going to experience for the rest of me life. Will I someday be Dandy, MURP, AICP, LEED-AP, CFM, MPH, QRS, XYZ, BS?


    Have you made a conscious decision to continue your professional development? Have you made a conscious decision to stop where you are and that's that? Have you reached the terminus of your career path?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    I want to tackle a MUP/MCRP/MURP program, possibly a JD and Real Estate LLM, and then go on to AICP and either CEcD or the path to a commercial real estate broker's license.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    My best friend has his JD, LLM, and PhD. He is also a CPA, Certified Financial Planner, is a member of the Senior Executive Service at the SL level and also works part-time as an adjunct professor on occasion. On personal emails to friends and in our fantasy football league, he likes to half-jokingly sign his name as Professor J. Smith Doe SL, JD, LLM, PhD, CPA, CFP, Esquire.

    He started as just a CPA but kept going back for further degrees in order to avoid paying back student loans from undergrad and because the firm he was working for at the time would pay for a portion of the classes. He now says that even with the tuition assistance, he is so far into debt with student loans and so over-qualified for most positions that when he was looking for new full-time work a few years ago that he would leave off quite a bit of his credentials for some of the jobs he was applying to.

    As for myself, I've thought about continuing on past my MUP. I did take the required hours and sit for the real estate licensing exam for the state of Michigan because I've always had an interest in real estate, it is tangentially related to what I do at my current position dealing with site selection issues, and the class was relatively cheap. I already know about different financing options and tax incentives and how to put together a pro forma so if I wanted to get seriously involved in development or commercial/industrial real estate, I think networking would be more helpful at getting my foot in the door than any of those graduate level real estate programs universities have begun offering.

    I also thought about continuing from here and taking the few more accounting courses I would need in order to sit for the CPA exam. Maybe I'm just too boring and utilitarian but there always seems to be a need for folks with accounting and finance backgrounds and educations and I could see how it would help me advance in planning, real estate, city management and/or local government. Also if something were to happen and I were to lose my job, having the CPA license under my belt could be a great tool if I needed to jump ship to the private sector. The only thing holding me back from actually doing this right now is that after finishing the classes (and either before/after/or concurrent with sitting for the exam) I would have to quit my job and actually work in public accounting for a year. Who knows? I might actually enjoy it, but if I wanted to come back to the government sector, I'd have to start the search all over again...
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I'm boring, but I'll be happy with my AICP and an MPA. I'm looking to next fall to begin an executive program at a local university. I'd love to do a Masters of Urban Planning, but in the environment I work in here in UT, the MPA will do lots more for me career-wise. I feel icky and shallow now, but that's the truth.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    At one point I considered getting an MBA and/or pursuing the CEcD designation through IEDC (alphabet soup, anyone? )... but I already have a Master's, and the courses required for CEcD are a) expensive, b) require travel, adding to the cost, and c) somewhat duplicative of the coursework I took in order to get my Master's degree. Additionally, IEDC no longer gives credit for prior coursework and experience. I just don't see any major benefits of CEcD designation - for me, anyway.

    This is not to say I don't want to continue my professional development, however. On the contrary, I continue to enhance my knowledge and skills in more informal ways that don't require a huge outlay of funds... since no one else is paying for my professional development.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    Have you made a conscious decision to continue your professional development?
    Many people reaching their career terminus nowadays notwithstanding, I do CE but put no letters after my name. IMHO the more letters I see the less I care. Just my opinion.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I want to tackle a MUP/MCRP/MURP program, possibly a JD and Real Estate LLM, and then go on to AICP and either CEcD or the path to a commercial real estate broker's license.
    If I were to get all of these qualifications, I would really only use AICP and Esquire on a regular basis (since those would be the ones that would get me the jobs I'd want).

  8. #8
    Letters after the name are like boy scout badges. Who are you, really?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus
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    I am going start work on getting my CFM.

    How many planners have their CEM - Certified Emergency Manager ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    I've been AICP about 1 year now and I'm feeling an itch to get some more letters after my name. I like the learning process and the achievement related to it. At this point I don't want to go back for a second masters degree but I would like to expand my horizon and knowledge base. This itch makes me wonder if it is something I'm going to experience for the rest of me life. Will I someday be Dandy, MURP, AICP, LEED-AP, CFM, MPH, QRS, XYZ, BS?


    Have you made a conscious decision to continue your professional development? Have you made a conscious decision to stop where you are and that's that? Have you reached the terminus of your career path?
    Personally, I think many certifications are a way of saying Joe can do the job because he has three letters after his name and Bob can't because he doesn't. In my real world experience, this is total rubbish.

    Mostly any intelligent person can do the job of a planner, MBA, lawyer or accountant, and even many engineering jobs without having gone to school for those things with adequate experience in the field. I have friends who are all of the above and we have agreed on this point. The exceptions would be say MD degree and some others.

    That said, those letters after your name do help you get and more importantly KEEP jobs. And apparently, I don't have enough of them...

  11. #11
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    I've been AICP about 1 year now and I'm feeling an itch to get some more letters after my name. I like the learning process and the achievement related to it. At this point I don't want to go back for a second masters degree but I would like to expand my horizon and knowledge base. This itch makes me wonder if it is something I'm going to experience for the rest of me life. Will I someday be Dandy, MURP, AICP, LEED-AP, CFM, MPH, QRS, XYZ, BS?


    Have you made a conscious decision to continue your professional development? Have you made a conscious decision to stop where you are and that's that? Have you reached the terminus of your career path?
    It seems to me you are looking to do it for the right reasons. Many have argued that they don't care about letters, but if it isn't about letters, and you want the education, do it. Personally, the only reason I haven't been more active in it is cost. The test, the maintenance, and the cost of being able to use the letters each year. I have never used my degree after my name. I always thought that was for PhD or MDs. I think there are just too many people on earth with a master's anymore. I think LEED is somewhat pointless. There still isn't a designation that truly fits our profession...although they somewhat tried. You can always get certified in Flood Plain Management, Emergency Management, or any other specialty you see fit. Just make sure you are doing it for you, not for the letters.

    AICP is still the gold standard in our profession, and really unless you are largely in transportation, economic development, or some other niche in our world, that is all you "need". Everything else is gravy. I have never seen a job that asked for anything other than AICP unless it was a niche job.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    I've noticed that there are some geographic differences in how professional suffixes are used. In the UK, people don't seem to have a problem with having a long list of qualifications after their name, including postgrad degrees (name, MCP, C.Env, MRTPI, MCIP, AICP). In the US, more than one or two is considered bad form, and nobody can list their degrees in good taste. The same person would just be name, AICP, and swap out the qualification as appropriate.. in other words, she'd be AICP in the US, MCIP in Canada and MRTPI in the UK only even if she held all three credentials.

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    I am going start work on getting my CFM.

    How many planners have their CEM - Certified Emergency Manager ?
    I am owrking on emergency management for the town right now, by virtue of being the only staff member (out of 11 total) that lives in town; therefore, probably being the first person at town hall should a emergency occur. I did not know about the formal CEM certification.


    Have you looked into the Certified Public Manager program? I am part of Colorado's pilot project in CPM, and it is currently in 28 states. As part of this, I get credits toward an MPA if I so choose.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well.....

    Where is the ubiquitous see this thread post from JNA, RJ or any one of the mods??? I'll look for that other thread, even though I don't like doing the heavy lifting....

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=40611

    and

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...&highlight=cfm

    and my classic post:
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...highlight=MURP

    The One, AICP, PhD, PE, PLS, ASCP, MURP, BA, BS, JD, MD, MAI, GRI, EdD, APA, AIA, ASLA (newly added CFM, FACS, DVM, PharmD, FAICP, FAIA, FASLA, PM, CPA, RN, LCSW, CEcD)
    Skilled Adoxographer

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    The One, AICP, PhD, PE, PLS, ASCP, MURP, BA, BS, JD, MD, MAI, GRI, EdD, APA, AIA, ASLA (newly added CFM, FACS, DVM, PharmD, FAICP, FAIA, FASLA, PM, CPA, RN, LCSW, CEcD)
    Which all could or should be condensed down to RSAA (Royal Smart A$$ A$$ociation).
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by jobaba View post

    Mostly any intelligent person can do the job of a planner, MBA, lawyer or accountant, and even many engineering jobs without having gone to school for those things with adequate experience in the field. I have friends who are all of the above and we have agreed on this point. The exceptions would be say MD degree and some others.
    I agree planning isn't rocket science. However, I would NOT lump planning in the same category as a lawyer or engineering. You HAVE to be licensed to call yourself an engineer or an attorney. Both of these tracks have extensive weeding out processes in school and it takes a considerable amount of preparation AFTER school to sit for the bar exam IN EACH STATE. You also have to pass additional exams to argue cases before different types of courts of law. There are several different types of PE exams, each of which have several different sections, not to mention possible additional reciprocity requirements if you practice engineering in more than one state.

    Going back to the OP, I think we are thinking too much about expanding our role in areas that really don't make that much difference unless you are a specialized. AICP is the gold standard. Period. Everything else is icing on the cake. I find some parellels with this thread and the ongoing debate in land8lounge with the landscape architecture profession trying to advance their industry by stressing other "agenda." Bottom line, keep it simple: you are a planner. If you REALLY want to bring added value to a planning job, I would consider a separate degree (law, engineering, architecture) instead of some alphabet of initials.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I agree planning isn't rocket science. However, I would NOT lump planning in the same category as a lawyer or engineering. You HAVE to be licensed to call yourself an engineer or an attorney. Both of these tracks have extensive weeding out processes in school and it takes a considerable amount of preparation AFTER school to sit for the bar exam IN EACH STATE. You also have to pass additional exams to argue cases before different types of courts of law. There are several different types of PE exams, each of which have several different sections, not to mention possible additional reciprocity requirements if you practice engineering in more than one state.
    That's not really what I'm arguing. Passing the PE and the Bar Exam are difficult endeavors that require some months of study. Getting an engineering degree and JD are time and effort commitments and truth be told so is getting an MCRP/MUP.

    What I'm saying is once you get that job, you are rarely using your PE/Bar learned skills or JD/Engineering school experience. That's why studying for the PE is so hard. It's not testing anything you used in real life.

    A LOT of engineering and law jobs are like this. Many people who are not trained as lawyers and engineers could step right in and do the job.

    Compare that to say being even a mediocre concert violinist. You are not going to be able to step in and do that job unless you have MANY years of dedicated training.

    I've worked in the engineering field for years without a degree. I'm considering going back and getting a BSE. I can already do the engineering portion without the degree, but it's the certifications (PE) which allow you to get and keep jobs and earn promotions easier. To me, that's BS. But I may have no choice but to play along.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    After working at my current job and hearing about some other municipalities' short-comings, I think a degree in information management might be useful!

    I'm really not concerned about showing any letters after my name (except AICP since it is relevant to my current profession) the rest would just be personal achievements for me to enjoy and to whip out when I need to smackdown some bozo.

    Some degrees and certifications I've considered might not be relevant to planning but they would be in fields I'm interested in and would help me be more of a renaissance woman. Plus I'm the type of person who likes to experience and learn new and different things. I'm not committed to 30 years as a public planner, if it happens that's fine, if I end up owning a chocolate shop in Eiken Switzerland that's fine too!

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by jobaba View post
    That's not really what I'm arguing. Passing the PE and the Bar Exam are difficult endeavors that require some months of study. Getting an engineering degree and JD are time and effort commitments and truth be told so is getting an MCRP/MUP.

    What I'm saying is once you get that job, you are rarely using your PE/Bar learned skills or JD/Engineering school experience. That's why studying for the PE is so hard. It's not testing anything you used in real life.

    A LOT of engineering and law jobs are like this. Many people who are not trained as lawyers and engineers could step right in and do the job.

    Compare that to say being even a mediocre concert violinist. You are not going to be able to step in and do that job unless you have MANY years of dedicated training.

    I've worked in the engineering field for years without a degree. I'm considering going back and getting a BSE. I can already do the engineering portion without the degree, but it's the certifications (PE) which allow you to get and keep jobs and earn promotions easier. To me, that's BS. But I may have no choice but to play along.
    LIABILITY

    Enough said.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    LIABILITY

    Enough said.
    Haha. Can't argue with you there.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    Opening an older thread, but I've been wondering this myself.

    I'm trying to figure out if some of the specialized advanced trainings and certifications are worth it. I've considered the Form Based Code Institute (FBCI) trainings and certification. But I would have to pay for it on my own. I think it will cost quite a bit of money to complete the series. I could certainly utilize it in my current office, but I wonder if something like that does enough to set you apart from other candidates for a new job?

    What about CNU? I see so many people use this after their name, especially consultants who submit proposals in response to various RFPs.As far as I can tell, CNU is a paid membership, not a certification or something you have to earn.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian cng's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ThePinkPlanner View post
    Opening an older thread, but I've been wondering this myself.

    I'm trying to figure out if some of the specialized advanced trainings and certifications are worth it. I've considered the Form Based Code Institute (FBCI) trainings and certification. But I would have to pay for it on my own. I think it will cost quite a bit of money to complete the series. I could certainly utilize it in my current office, but I wonder if something like that does enough to set you apart from other candidates for a new job?

    What about CNU? I see so many people use this after their name, especially consultants who submit proposals in response to various RFPs.As far as I can tell, CNU is a paid membership, not a certification or something you have to earn.
    I think it depends on who you're trying to work for. If it's a consulting firm that specializes in updating zoning codes, having that certified expertise would probably give you a leg up. Is there something in particular that you are targeting? If it's a more general planning position at a municipality, you might dig deeper and see if it's something that organization would value... I suppose it depends from place to place. At my workplace, an MURP or AICP is not valued much at all, simply because those in charge simply don't care. But it could be totally different elsewhere.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cng View post
    I think it depends on who you're trying to work for. If it's a consulting firm that specializes in updating zoning codes, having that certified expertise would probably give you a leg up. Is there something in particular that you are targeting? If it's a more general planning position at a municipality, you might dig deeper and see if it's something that organization would value... I suppose it depends from place to place. At my workplace, an MURP or AICP is not valued much at all, simply because those in charge simply don't care. But it could be totally different elsewhere.
    Thanks for the input! To answer your questions, I've been at the local and regional govt level for the 8 short years of my career, but I think I'd like to be as flexible and as marketable as possible. I have my MA and AICP, which I think are most important. I think my organization and many others would value having FBCI certification, put my current employer won't pay for it (we're in a complete budget freeze). I wonder how many people have found it valuable enough to pursue?

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