Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this.
I know that this question has been asked a number of times, but I think it merits new consideration. Both the economy and the planning profession are constantly changing, and the condition of each obviously has a great impact on the utility of a MURP/MCP degree. Advice from even as recently as last year may be out of date, and one of the great benefits of forums such as this is the ability to leverage the incite of knowledgeable audiences who track changes in the profession day-to-day, up close and personal.
Please be as forthright and honest as you can. I realize that everyone is different - each has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, financial situation, etc. - but would you honestly recommend that the average prospective student pursue a Master's degree in planning? Is there a realistic expectation of finding employment as a planner after graduation?
My background is mostly in the military, and I am fairly lucky because the GI Bill can pay for most of my tuition (at least at a state school where I can get in-state tuition). My abiding professional interest is in promoting affordable housing, but I would be happy to be a part of the profession in any way I could.
I have been accepted to a couple of schools in Virginia (VA Tech and UVa) and am very seriously considering both.
However, I obviously do not want to spend time and money on a degree that will afford me little or no chance of employment after graduation.
Is the MURP degree still the way to go, or should those who wish to positively influence the built environment look to other endeavors?
When I first began my research into planning, all the information I found suggested it was a growing field with decent career prospects. But the more I learn - and especially after visiting these boards - the more disillusioned I become. I'm at a point in my life where I can't afford to waste 2 years on a fruitless search for an illusory career. But if there is any hope of supporting myself as a planner after graduation, I would love to pursue it.
What should I do Cyburbia?!