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Thread: Best place to pursue course in CEQA/NEPA in Southern California

  1. #1
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    Best place to pursue course in CEQA/NEPA in Southern California

    Hi all,

    I have a background in Urban and Regional Planning and would like to change my career to Environmental Planning.
    Can I land a job or start a career in Environmental Planning by pursuing a course in CEQA and NEPA with Urban Planning background?
    If yes, what are the best places to pursue these courses in Southern California?

    Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kavitat View post
    Hi all,

    I have a background in Urban and Regional Planning and would like to change my career to Environmental Planning.
    Can I land a job or start a career in Environmental Planning by pursuing a course in CEQA and NEPA with Urban Planning background?
    If yes, what are the best places to pursue these courses in Southern California?

    Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks
    Do you have any prior CEQA/NEPA work or knowledge? If not try extensions courses offered by UCLA/USC/UC Irvine or UCSD. They run about $400 a pop, but it will give you the basics in a weekend or 2. Enough to get started, but typically not enough to be employed by a highly compeitive EP firm.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  3. #3
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    The Shipley Group is another source of training for NEPA. Though a bit pricey, I found that it was worth my time. You can google them and find their current course schedule.
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    CPSURaf

    ....I do not have any prior CEQA/NEPA work or knowledge.

    I am in process of looking for a job, may not be very challenging to begin with.
    But i am not sure whether extension courses are helpful enough to get a career started in Environmental Planning in Calif.
    Are there any other relevant courses that i can take up with CEQA?

    Thanks

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kavitat View post
    CPSURaf

    ....I do not have any prior CEQA/NEPA work or knowledge.

    I am in process of looking for a job, may not be very challenging to begin with.
    But i am not sure whether extension courses are helpful enough to get a career started in Environmental Planning in Calif.
    Are there any other relevant courses that i can take up with CEQA?

    Thanks

    If you have a "background" in urban and regional planning (assuming related degree) than a certificate probably will suffice to get your foot in the door. Environmental planning has so many facets from the biologist, to noise specialist, to cultural specialist that it is so vague you would need to be more specific on what exactly you want to do in EP. If you want to just be a "generalist" (the person in charge of putting everything together and being objective in either the EIR/Neg Dec or other CEQA/NEPA related document), than you have the background, now all you need is to sharpen your pencil. The certificate is the easiest and cheapest way to do this without just putting your resume out there in hopes to catch a break. Maybe Tarf or TS can be of better assistance since i know they are in the field (especially TARF since he/she practices in this state).
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    If you have a "background" in urban and regional planning (assuming related degree) than a certificate probably will suffice to get your foot in the door. Environmental planning has so many facets from the biologist, to noise specialist, to cultural specialist that it is so vague you would need to be more specific on what exactly you want to do in EP. If you want to just be a "generalist" (the person in charge of putting everything together and being objective in either the EIR/Neg Dec or other CEQA/NEPA related document), than you have the background, now all you need is to sharpen your pencil. The certificate is the easiest and cheapest way to do this without just putting your resume out there in hopes to catch a break. Maybe Tarf or TS can be of better assistance since i know they are in the field (especially TARF since he/she practices in this state).

    I would largely agree with CPSURaf. Getting a certificate would show you at least know the basics of CEQA.

    If all you're looking for is an entry level type position, you might be able to study it on your own, but the certificate would be more helpful in getting the interview. Once in the interview, I can guarantee that if it's for a CEQA position there will be questions to gauge your level of knowledge. If you can get that interview without a certificate, and assuming you studied CEQA (either through your certificate or not) and looked through a few EIRs, you should be able to talk your way in. However, you will definitely be at a disadvantage compared to someone with actual CEQA experience, regardless of how many certificates you have or how much knowledge you can demonstrate.

    Probably the best resource I've seen for basic CEQA knowledge (outside the certification courses, etc.) is the CEQA Deskbook. If you don't have it, get it. It's very basic reading and will provide a real quick (though not very deep) overview of CEQA's procedural and substantive requirements which should at least get you started.

    Good luck!
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  7. #7
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    CPSURaf..
    I do have a degree in Urban and Regional Planning but it is from oversees. The projects that i have worked in the past (oversees) were mainly in the areas of Low cost Housing, Environmental Mapping and Urban Infrastructural Planning. I am not quiet sure whether my previous work can be counted towards planning experience since i was affiliated mostly with Non-Government Organisations that occasionally took Planning assignments.

    I thank you all for the useful information and precise guidance. I will definately look upon the courses and certifications and the reference book recommended.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    Hi, you may be interested in joining the California Association of Environmental Professionals (http://www.califaep.org/). They offer CEQA workshops every year, plus discounts on UC Extension classes, and you may be able to get a foot in the door somewhere through your local chapter activities.

    There is also a free online NEPA training through the BLM (google BLM NEPA training), itís from the BLMís perspective, but itís thorough and free, something to put on your resume to show interest.

    One other suggestion, if you donít have an environmental/scientific background and are going the ďgeneralistĒ route, you may wish to highlight (or strengthen) your project management skills. Strong project management skills are essential to achieving a successful CEQA/NEPA project outcome and keeping all of the pieces together during the process.

  9. #9
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    Thank you terraplnr..
    I did check up with the website that you recommended for NEPA training through BLM. It was very informative.

    Thanks

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