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Career Option in Community/Regional Planning

Juanton80

Member
Messages
14
Points
1
I am a student that will enroll in a planning program this fall (Master's in Community Planning). The school that I will attend offers a dual program (Master's in Public Administration/Master's in Community Planning), but I am more interested in the planning degree and the classes that it offers. Am I at an advantage if I have both degrees as far as job options are concerned, or does this matter at all? Also, I am wondering how the job market is for planning jobs in the Southeast (GA, AL, FL, TN, SC).
 

vaughan

Cyburbian
Messages
335
Points
11
I think that if you want to be a planner, having the planning degree will be enough. Personally, I chose to opt out of taking excess classes and getting more than one degree simply because I was more excited about getting out and doing the work than I was about studying other people doing the work.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
The joint degree will definitely give you more of an edge in seeking employment in the future. When you first graduate you will be confronted with the problem that employers are looking for both a master's degree and at least two years of experience. Later, you will be competing with others who have a masters in planning as well as experience. Anything you do to give yourself an edge will pay off. In addition, you just may learn a few things in the MPA program that will help you during your planning career.
 

Belle

Cyburbian
Messages
142
Points
6
Does the joint degree take longer? If so, I vote go with the planning degree--I would doubt that you would be THAT much more marketable after an additional year of study, although I could be wrong.

If both degrees require the same length of time, just take whichever courses interest you. If that leads to a joint degree, great; otherwise, you likely can take a few classes that interest you in the MPA track (most planning graduate programs allow a certain number of courses outside planning if they are reasonably related).

As for jobs in the SE, there seem to be a few entry-level jobs if you're willing to relocate in the region (I am graduating from a planning program in May and am currently looking in one specific market in the SE, so my options are somewhat limited).
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Belle said:
As for jobs in the SE, there seem to be a few entry-level jobs if you're willing to relocate in the region (I am graduating from a planning program in May and am currently looking in one specific market in the SE, so my options are somewhat limited).
I found the same thing when I was looking for a job last year. There were quite a few jobs available for planners in the Southeast, the problem was that many, if not most, of the government jobs were in rural counties and some of the more "undesirable" cities. North Carolina was one of the few states I saw where most of the larger cities were regularly hiring.
 

vaughan

Cyburbian
Messages
335
Points
11
You know, I agree with Cardinal about the job situation that most new grads face, but I've got a different take on it. Rather than spend an extra year or so (both time and money) in school, I'd suggest you get just the planning degree and that you work your hump off to get an internship with a planning office, attend planning commission meetings and city council meetings every chance you get in whatever town you're in, volunteer to be on whatever committees or boards that you can, and make your connections outside of the university.

I think that sticking around for extra time in school to get more education will allow you to build your contacts and get experience in the academic arena, but I think you'd get more bang for your buck to get that extra edge by getting out into the community and being as involved as you can. Getting a job after school is all about your connections. If you want to work outside of the university, spend your efforts outside of the university.
 
Messages
5,352
Points
31
In addition to what everyone else has said, you may also want to consider getting active in your local APA chapter and NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK!
 
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