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Thread: Post MSP education

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    Post MSP education

    Let's assume your employer was willing to provide tuition reimbursement for self enrichment classes or courses leading to another degree. What classes or degrees would be a good compliment for an MSP holder?

    An MPA would be a logical choice as it may help advance one's career into management. I also see advantages in pursuing a certificate in GIS as it's a very powerful tool utilized in all fields of planning. For various reasons I was once convinced that an MSP + MBA would open up all kinds of opportunities in consulting and RE development because it would bring a rare combination of valued skill sets to the table. However, that idea became much less appealing after working with several lackluster MBA grads over the past few years in the community development field. Lastly, it's hard to find any disadvantages to taking a couple foreign language classes.

    I'm looking for additional ideas for classes or degrees that would compliment an MSP holder.
    The content contrarian

  2. #2
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    It doesn't involve obtaining another degree, but my thought was that grant writing could be a skill to pursue if one does not already have it. I just left the public sector planning world to work in grant management for a community development nonprofit and there is a significant degree of overlap as far as skills - one of which is the ability to speak 'Governmentese' fluently. In fact, as someone who has transitioned out of planning into an allied field, I need to put together a thread on this.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I'd pick something that compliments what you want to do career wise.

    An MBA seems like a good jack-of-all-trades option but I'm curious if that'd pull you out of an analyst role and into a managerial role which may not be as fun. You'd definitely be qualified for more positions but I think it could preclude you from getting some planning positions that might interest you more.

    As for GIS, I'd go for a degree over a certificate. The time commitments are likely similar but the degree looks a lot better on the resume. I'd just be careful on getting the degree if you don't want to be pigeon-holed into GIS for your career. Personally that's something I don't mind but obviously some people don't want to make that their career.

    One last option I can think of is pursing some hard science oriented environmental degree. The hard science would open up some new career possibilities plus you'll likely get some more GIS training in the process.

    Then if you just want classes, take stuff you think would be useful or you'd like to know more about. With the exception of languages, I don't think they'd be real resume boosters without some degree or certificate though.

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    I've posed this same question elsewhere and it seems to depend on where you are and what you want to do. My focus is on economic development and revitalization. The recommendations I got from planners back East were certifications in non-profit management or Leadership or to take classes to supplement my MCRP (grant writing is a big one). Few recommended pursuing a second master's.

    Here in Oregon though it's all about sustainability certifications. Second Master's degrees in architecture/urban design, environment, mediation, or policy are also very common. At one of my internships half the planners had at least 2 Masters (usually planning and either policy or something in architecture) and many had a sustainability certificate as well.

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Avoid the appearance of over-education by diversifying your training. Focus on application.
    I'm strongly considering a graduate certificate in public budgeting and financial management. Grant writing would be a great choice, but employer is only willing to fund college credits. All the grant writing classes I've reviewed are outside the college/university system. Although I really enjoy GIS, it's not something I would want to do day-to-day. But a GIS certificate can't hurt and is still an option. Enrolling at the local CC to take language classes was another thought, but employer has randomly decided to offer in-house Spanish classes, which I've been taking advantage.
    The content contrarian

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