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Thread: What are the job prospects for those who hold a graduate degree in Urban Planning?

  1. #1

    What are the job prospects for those who hold a graduate degree in Urban Planning?

    I have somewhat of a dilemma. I really like Planning and I am interested in going to grad school for it (I am senior in undergrad now in a non-planning major). The problem is that I actually DON'T want to become a local government planner. I would much rather go into International Development, Community Development, or Real Estate Development. Should I even bother going to school for Planning? Is it a waste of time?

    I know most planners work for local and municipal governments. I, however, want to do something more exciting; I want to be in a position where I can effect change in communities and see the changes take place.

    I would also like a financially rewarding career (that is why I am considering real estate development). Making positive changes in the world is important to me but i still have to put food on the table for the family.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Aspiring_Inspiring View post
    I know most planners work for local and municipal governments. I, however, want to do something more exciting; I want to be in a position where I can effect change in communities and see the changes take place.
    Then you didn't watch this video on the front page of this site, else you wouldn't have written that.

    Quote Originally posted by Aspiring_Inspiring View post
    I would also like a financially rewarding career (that is why I am considering real estate development). Making positive changes in the world is important to me but i still have to put food on the table for the family.
    You should read the papers and some more economists. Many sane economists are sanguine about our economy producing "growth" and the old-model slapped up buildings all over the place. That is the old model. The new model is a lot of people in a dysfunctional political economy wondering what will shake out and happen in this economy. Surely some hwere will say that there is opportunity in redev, which is true, and even more true if all the people looking for opportunities in the RE industry don't shift to redev.

    YMMV

    .02.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Aspiring_Inspiring View post
    I have somewhat of a dilemma. I really like Planning and I am interested in going to grad school for it (I am senior in undergrad now in a non-planning major). The problem is that I actually DON'T want to become a local government planner. I would much rather go into International Development, Community Development, or Real Estate Development. Should I even bother going to school for Planning? Is it a waste of time?

    I know most planners work for local and municipal governments. I, however, want to do something more exciting; I want to be in a position where I can effect change in communities and see the changes take place.

    I would also like a financially rewarding career (that is why I am considering real estate development). Making positive changes in the world is important to me but i still have to put food on the table for the family.
    I know this your first post, so I'll try to go easy on ya...but 2/3 of all planners work in local gov. From the outside it may seem that local gov planning is mundane and "unexciting" but, that is where you are wrong, my friend. I like local government planning because I can see a change take place and effect change with my education and abilities. The larger the scope, city, the less you will see the change and influence the change. I would also recommend going into politics for goals like yours.

    To your second point about a financially rewarding career, you can search previous posts on this site and others about pay for your typical planner. Planners typically make decent wages, but its not going to pay like a career in lets say real estate development on a good day.

    You sound pretty unsure of your goals, what is it about planning that you like? What do you see yourself doing or working on? What is your role? I would have good answers to all of those questions and more prior to making a commitment to graduate school. Consider working a couple of years or interning at least in planning or something related to get an idea of what you want to do.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Aspiring_Inspiring View post
    I have somewhat of a dilemma. I really like Planning and I am interested in going to grad school for it (I am senior in undergrad now in a non-planning major). The problem is that I actually DON'T want to become a local government planner. I would much rather go into International Development, Community Development, or Real Estate Development. Should I even bother going to school for Planning? Is it a waste of time?

    I know most planners work for local and municipal governments. I, however, want to do something more exciting; I want to be in a position where I can effect change in communities and see the changes take place.

    I would also like a financially rewarding career (that is why I am considering real estate development). Making positive changes in the world is important to me but i still have to put food on the table for the family.
    Get an MBA. Work for an International Development Fund Company. Make lots of money and have your company donate lots of money to third world countries. DON'T become a local government planner. THAT would not only be a waste of time, but you wouldn't be doing something exciting or be financially rewarding.

    It sounds to me that you want a "boss" job, with no experience. Climb the ladder. Once you get to the top you can do those things in any job. Good luck with your journey. It sounds interesting.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Aspiring_Inspiring View post
    I know most planners work for local and municipal governments. I, however, want to do something more exciting; I want to be in a position where I can effect change in communities and see the changes take place.
    Actually, that's exactly what I like about working in local government. I help make the change occur and then see the change take place, rather than flying in, writing a report, and sending a bill.

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