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Thread: Entry level planning related jobs

  1. #1
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    Entry level planning related jobs

    I graduated from UGA with a BBA in Real Estate May 2010, and since have been working as a leasing admin for a commercial real estate co with a focus on class a and b suburban office buildings. I am trying to switch my career to the planning profession. in doing so, i have applied to several master's programs. I fear that my work experience has not been enough or relevant in order to be consider by a quality planning school. Therefore, I am trying to find ways to fix that by looking into entry level positions. DO they exist without having a masters?? Any suggestions on how to break into the field with a private or public sector entry level planning job? I am primarily interested in land use and economic development.

    Any advice or ideas are appreciated!

  2. #2
    Welcome to Cyburbia! I would not worry too much about the lack of planning specific work experience. Real estate is a close enough field, and in fact the experience would compliment a masters in planning. Additionally, there are very few entry-level planning jobs out there, so that idea is probably a non-starter. Finally, in my grad program, more than half the students applied to grad school directly from undergrad and had little to no relevant work experience. I'm not sure about the breakdown at other schools, however.

    A strong personal statement, along with good GPA and GRE scores, is your best bet. IMHO.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    As Offical said, you need to know worry about experience. You should be able to formulate a strong personal statement based on your experience in the real estate industry, which plays a good deal with the planning realm, especially understanding the financing, terms, and other planning relevant cross over that both industries have. If you want more "planning" experience under your belt, I suggest apply for either a paid or non-paid internship with a local municipality (emphasis on non-paid). Good luck.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I would not worry too much about planning related work experience as from what I can tell, your current experience is relevant enough to your focus of land use and economic development. The thing you might want to worry more about is simply getting enough of any work experience. I would not rush into getting back into grad school in other words until you've fully decided that you are firmly making the right career choice. Unlike OfficialPlanner's experience, in the grad program I went to (Tufts UEP in Massachusetts), most (80-90%) of my classmates have a number of years work experience before enrolling in the program but the work experience is diverse and not necessarily related to planning (I was a substitute teacher before for example). Good grad school planning programs more often like prospective students with work experience because they want to see if you are mature and responsible enough to take on the role of a professional planner and also because the sharing of different work experience makes a graduate school experience richer and more enjoyable. And no it is not easy to get a real planning job and keeping it without a masters degree nowadays. The few planners I know that did are still getting their masters. Hope this helps and good luck!

  5. #5
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    Additional Entry Level Job Questions

    Hi,

    I'm in a similar position to the OP, in that I graduated from a top school with a non-planning degree (in Environmental Studies w/ a focus on Sustainable Design) and am looking for some planning experience before applying to masters programs. I just graduated and didn't have any relevant internships during school just a few related projects. Is it worthwhile to currently pursue positions like Planning Assistant or Planner? I haven't seen many internship postings, but perhaps I haven't been looking long enough. Also, I'm particularly interested in land use and alternative transportation, so applying to community and city non-profits seem to be another possible option.

    Are there other types of entry-level experiences you would suggest? Do you think that pursuing non-profit positions related to land use and transportation would give me relevant experience and also expose me to different aspects of the planning field?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I would certainly try entry level planning positions (particularly if the job ad states that specifically), your focus on sustainable design might help, especially long-range/advance planning. There are planning internship positions out there in all kinds of areas, including transportation planning, but they may not pay much if at all. In the non-profit arena, planning work might land you in housing and transit planning. I think at this point you could try getting any kind of internship or entry level experience that you can later describe from a planning perspective, even if the word "planner" isn't in the title. So many types of work can be made relevant to planning.

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