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Thread: Questions from a prospective undergrad planning student (PAB accreditation, job prospects, etc.)

  1. #1
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    Questions from a prospective undergrad planning student (PAB accreditation, job prospects, etc.)

    I am interested in both urban studies and architecture and would like to major in one of those fields for undergrad, while majoring in other for graduate studies.

    I am applying as a transfer student to multiple undergraduate city planning and urban studies programs at four-year universities within my state, but some of these programs do not have PAB accreditation. Namely, none of the undergraduate planning programs at the UC's are PAB accredited, while the undergrad planning programs at the two Cal Poly campuses are.

    However, as I understand from job postings for urban planners, many employers do not mention specifically that they want applicants to have completed a PAB accredited program in planning. In fact, many employers accept entry-level applicants with bachelor's and master's degrees in "related fields", such as architecture, as long as they have knowledge of planning. Some employers went on to say that a master degree was preferred, even though the master's degree may not be directly related to planning.

    So, in addition from my preceding concerns, I have the following questions:

    -The BLS states that those with undergraduate degrees only in planning will have dimmer job prospects and limited opportunities for advancement in urban planning. In your experience, does this include PAB accredited undergraduate degrees? http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco2001.htm#training What if a said undergraduate planning degree holder also has a graduate degree in architecture?

    -I understand that New Jersey currently requires licensure for urban planners. Will other states follow suit? If so, will holding a non-PAB accredited undergraduate degree have adverse consequences on that degree holder in the planning profession?

    -Should I apply to:
    -a non-PAB accredited undergrad planning program (UC, 2 years), then earn a 3-year Master of Architecture (UC or Cal Poly, finishing 5 years from today), OR
    -a PAB accredited undergrad planning program (Cal Poly, 3 years), then earn a 3-year Master of Architecture (UC or Cal Poly, finishing 6 years from now), OR
    -a non-PAB accredited undergrad planning program (UC, 2 years), then earn a 4.5 to 5-year Master of Architecture/City Regional Planning (UC, finishing 6.5 - 7 years from now)

    Keep in mind that I already have two years of undergrad course work, but that the PAB accredited undergrad planning program at Cal Poly only accepts one year of my existing course work.

    Sorry for the long post, and thank you for your time!

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CAPlanningStudent View post
    -The BLS states that those with undergraduate degrees only in planning will have dimmer job prospects and limited opportunities for advancement in urban planning. In your experience, does this include PAB accredited undergraduate degrees? http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco2001.htm#training What if a said undergraduate planning degree holder also has a graduate degree in architecture?
    If you go to a school that isn't PAB accredited then it is really all about AICP. If you don't want AICP then PAB doesn't matter.

    Quote Originally posted by CAPlanningStudent View post
    -I understand that New Jersey currently requires licensure for urban planners. Will other states follow suit? If so, will holding a non-PAB accredited undergraduate degree have adverse consequences on that degree holder in the planning profession?
    I would like to believe that licensure will occur sooner than later in states. It really is a policy issue in each state. APA has used AICP as their licensure. Each state will be different.
    Quote Originally posted by CAPlanningStudent View post
    -Should I apply to:
    -a non-PAB accredited undergrad planning program (UC, 2 years), then earn a 3-year Master of Architecture (UC or Cal Poly, finishing 5 years from today), OR
    -a PAB accredited undergrad planning program (Cal Poly, 3 years), then earn a 3-year Master of Architecture (UC or Cal Poly, finishing 6 years from now), OR
    -a non-PAB accredited undergrad planning program (UC, 2 years), then earn a 4.5 to 5-year Master of Architecture/City Regional Planning (UC, finishing 6.5 - 7 years from now)

    Keep in mind that I already have two years of undergrad course work, but that the PAB accredited undergrad planning program at Cal Poly only accepts one year of my existing course work.

    Sorry for the long post, and thank you for your time!
    No one can tell you what to apply to. Check out the student forum and search for topics that interest you or specific degrees you are talking about. Think about what you want to accomplish and what interests you. That should tell you what choice is best.

    Good luck in whatever you pick. Keep us updated on what you pick and why....
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    We have said this too many times -

    Don't go into debt over a name.
    Consider the costs of relocation and out of state tuition.
    Pick the concentration/electives you are interested in because PAB schools all have the same core classes.
    Also look for internship/volunteer placement/experience. This is as important as the name of the school.
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    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    If you're planning on staying in California, it really doesn't make any difference if the school is PAB accredited. In fact, I've never noticed a recruitment that required a PAB accredited education--anywhere. And pretty much the same for AICP (in California).
    They really don't care.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    What do you ultimately want to do once you graduated? Are you talented with architecture to understand spatial relationships? Honestly, if you want to stick with design (assuming that is the spin you want to do) go with the architecture undergrad 1st, than do the whole planning master's degree. At least with architecture there is a fall back as a draftsman or designer.

    RJ mentioned the whole PBA thing, and yes it doesn't matter (and there are some UCs that are PAB, UCLA/Cal).

    Again, what is your end game? I think you need a better understanding of that before choosing a path of studies. There are many programs that are planning related in the state, but very few that offer architecture, let along a graduate degree in architecture (only UC Berkley and USC come to mind). This is telling if you want to remain in this state.

    BTW... while the BLS states that the whole undergrad thing limits oneself, there are quite of few of us on this board that have taken just the bachelors a long way. (RJ ))

    Good Luck!
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    RJ mentioned the whole PBA thing, and yes it doesn't matter (and there are some UCs that are PAB, UCLA/Cal).

    I actually looked that up because I was going to respond similarly... however, it appears that UCLA, UC Berkeley, and UC Irvine (and USC for that matter) ALL have PAB accreditation for their masters degrees, but not for their undergraduate degrees (which I find... odd to say the least).

    That said, I fully agree - PAB matters only to the APA when determining candidacy for the AICP exam. Going to a non-PAB accredited school simply means waiting longer till you're qualified to take the AICP exam. As far as PAB/non-PAB and getting into grad school, it doesn't matter whatsoever. For example, I doubt UCLA/UCI would reject an applicant who got a bachelor's from a non-accredited school, when their own bachelor's aren't accredited Also, I got into a PAB accredited masters program after going to a non-accredited undergraduate program.
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  7. #7
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    I actually went through a similar situation, though it was straight out of high school and not a community college. I knew I was interested in Urban Planning as a career early on, and applied to schools accordingly. I applied to Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly SLO, and UC San Diego. All three programs looked good to me, but PAB accredidation definitely factored into my decision as well as reputation in the field, cost, and other intangibles. I got into all three universities, but ultimately decided to attend Cal Poly Pomona because of it's location in the Greater Los Angeles region (access to internships, conferences, events, etc..) and cost compared to the UC's. I am now a Senior and have been very satisfied with my experience. I have taken interesting classes both within and outside of the Department, have an awesome internship based on a connection with a faculty member, and have made some great friends that are intelligent and motivated to pursue careers in or related to Urban Planning. I do intend to attend Grad School, but I know of people that have been successful at getting entry-level jobs after graduation.

    If you have any other questions about the program, I will try to check this board over the next few days.

    Best of luck!

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