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Masters? What am I qualified for? Where to go?

Vlaude

Cyburbian
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440
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13
I hear the arguement back and forth Master vs No Masters... I am currently working toward the completion of my Master in Reg. & City planning, I am currently working as an assistant planner. What will this degree prepare me for? I have talked to some of my profs, but I am not sure their expectations are correct. They have told me I should be able to qualify for a Planning II position or even a Planning Director position. From looking into positions available all of the above require min. number of years experience, and many times AICP certification. Which I won't even be able to qualify for, for at least another year and a half.

I am curious to hear where people started out upon completing a masters in planning. Secondly, where is a good area to move to? CA, OR, FL, TX all seem to have a lot of openings, any input?
 

mugbub

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4
4 years is enough (208.40.41.235)
Monday, July 23, 2001 - 02:13 pm
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A masters in this profession is not necessary. You just pointed out the reasons: full time experience is needed for AICP, and to qualify you for higher positions. How do you get that when your stuck in school? People with the BAs will beat you to the punch because they've already paid their dues in the lower positions. They'll also get AICP before you.

Sure you may know more and posses the "book smarts" to be good at planning. But think of this: people with BAs already working have developed relationships with bosses and networked with their professional peers, they gained "street smarts" that only comes with real experience, and they will trump you by having more years of full time experience- plus AICP.

Your best bet is to schmooze with your professors, and try to network your way into a prime position. Embellish that resume, and get ready to bullshit your way through life like the rest of us. Congrats on your upcoming degree.
 
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The Masters degree has been useful to those of us who did not get an undergrad degree in planning. I started out in archaeology (wanted to understand why some cities in ancient times worked, and others didn't.) While an undergrad, I volunteered on digs, and found I'd never get to run my own if I didn't have a PhD. Didn't want to do that, so began paying more attention to today's cities, and ended up getting a Masters in Urban and Regional. A number of folks in my program had done similar things -- started out in architecture, but discovered they didn't really want to design buildings, etc.

Networking will help you get a job, no question.
Also, many cities and counties now list their jobs on their websites, so you may want to go directly to those sites.

If your program offers an internship program, use that as a way of getting some experience (try not to accept a position that just uses you as a "go-fer".) And volunteer at a local planning office to help with citizen input activities, etc. Yes, there are lots of entry level jobs in Florida; you can find them on the city websites.

Don't try to get a state level job; the Department of Community Affairs (soon to be renamed Dept. of Community Assistance) is very short-staffed and will remain that way. Anyway, it isn't planning -- it's a regulatory agency. Good luck!
 

mugbub

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no degree (208.40.44.2)
Monday, July 23, 2001 - 04:35 pm
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Masters degrees for planners are simply elitist. Let's be brutally honest- city planning is not rocket science. A masters offers very little. I have an associates and I know as much as my subordinates with a masters. Sorry to burst your bubble.
 

perspective

Member
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Ah, my happy planners around the country...Jobs in planning are a dime a dozen in places like CA, OR, FL and TX. based upon what I am hearing in somes of these threads and in checking out the job postings, it seems as though cities and towns are very desperate...like 10 jobs for every planner. Thats great for people who only have a BA in Planning or maybe not even a planning degree, but a degree in Geography or maybe even no degree and no experience in planning.

In some parts of the country, particularly the northeast (MASS), there are very few entry level planning jobs and without a masters in Planning or a connection, you have a very slim chance of landing any type of planning related job.

So come to the northeast, get your masters degree and then have your pickens at jobs around the rest of the country!

A Masters degree in planning will help ligitimize our profession as worth while not only in the publics eye, but among your peers who have taken the time to recieve a professional degree. Any one can plan, its not rocket science, but a master degree will give you some prespective...which is much needed in our profession.
 

Charley

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I very much disagree that a master's degree is "simply elitist" and that it offers "very little!"

NEVER have a I seen a planner position that asked for anything less than a bachelor's degree. In some places, even a bachelor's won't do--including many of the larger cities in Florida. We're looking for a new planner in my office--if you don't have a Master's, you won't even be considered. In today's world, a BA seems to be the equivilant of a high school degree 30 years ago. It DOES count when it comes to promotions. And if you're an AICP, so much the better. A Master's shows that you are motivated, curious, and disciplined.

I think it's fair to say that most Master's programs are teaching you how to be a policy analyst, not how to review a variance or a site plan. You are also learing policy analysis, techncial writing, statistics, GIS, design and maybe even some management skills. Certainly there are the exceptions, but a Master's is the standard. While I doubt you'll come out of school and become Planning Director, Planner II is certainly plausible. It just depends on your skills that you've acquired in school and over your life time.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
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The planning I do is a LOT more complicated than rocket science, which merely requires a mastery of physics and a good computer. All of which can be learned and applied. What I do with people is a blend of anthropology, psychology, politics, and technical pursuits like hydrology and demography, all within a constantly changing/evolving milieu, and often with hostile opposition (how many rocket scientists are regularly alleged to be working toward a UN takeover of American liberties?). I am not going to say that a master's degree is the only or the best way to begin. Having once taught in a BURP program, I can say that the very best students graduating there were as good as most of those who graduated from the master's programs I have taught in. But whether you do it in academia or not, this is a profession that requires constant learning and lots of mental agility. There are other paths, but an unwillingness to work toward an advanced degree strikes me as questionable attitude.
 

Zoning Goddess

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If you're looking for jobs in Florida, most will require a master's degree (especially the larger cities which can afford to pay you more). The private sector (here in FL) will not hire you without it. And the AICP is an additional requisite most employers are seeking for upper level positions.

We have a mid-level position open here now, which requires a master's and two years experience.
 

mugbub

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curious (208.40.41.36)
Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - 10:08 am
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How much do those mid-level positions pay FLplanner?
 

Vlaude

Cyburbian
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440
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13
Thanks for all the input, it is interesting to hear different peoples opinion. I tend to lean away from "no degree's" opinion. It appears that most respectable planning or community development departments have some standard educational requirements, and many of the places I have looked prefer a masters degree at the entry level. However, I am not against the planner who learned their knowledge outside of academia. My original concern was the positions available to a soon to be graduate. I think the Master in Planning and a BA in Geography will prepare me well and hopefully assist me in landing a position in a respected planning department.
 

kbm

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As with many planners, I had an undergrad Geography degree and a Masters in Planning. Of my fellow MCRP graduates, 20 of 20 had jobs had jobs before graduation or within one month of graduating. Those jobs ran the gamut from Planner I to Director of Public Works. My first job started at $25K, and through three job switches and a major move from the south east to north east, have doubled my salary in 2 years.

I think this discussion about education requirements and money is dependant upon where in the country you live. I don't regret for a second getting my masters. There is no way I would be where I am right now without it.
 

mugbub

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I guess my BA is worthless (208.40.44.96)
Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - 03:43 pm
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No need to bash those of us who do not have a Masters. Some of us have to work for a living, and I resent the fact that some think a BA is only as good as a HS diploma.

I've worked my butt off starting out as a zoning clerk, getting a BA, then reaching Senior Planner. Not every planner needs a Masters, especially when the salary isn't that much higher than if one goes the seniority route.

I'm just a planner without a Masters in a hick town, but I work every bit as hard and intelligent as a yuppie Masters planner in FL, CA, or anywhere.

Go back and get a Masters you say? I've got a family, a life outside work, and long work hours. I'm not about to invest the time and money into something that really won't increase my income greatly. You academics never got your butts out of school long enough to see how life really is- instead you hid in school learning worthless theories, and then you expect to be planning director upon graduation. Let me tell you that you'll get thrown to the wolves and torn apart within your first year after school. See where that Masters gets you then. Not to mention you won't earn more than $40,000 (by the way, that ain't much money folks)
 

Zoning Goddess

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I wouldn't categorize myself as a "yuppie Masters planner in FL". I don't think anyone here has suggested you return for your Masters. If you've got it goin' on - GOOD FOR YOU!

I took a Planner job a month before I officially graduated at 26K. Not much to crow about, and I don't think I was any better off than if I had not completed my master's. But I've been promoted three times in two years, and have AICP as well. I know I wouldn't be where I am today without my master's, especially since my bachelor was not in planning, but a design related field.

By the way - for curious - we have a Planner II advertised at 30K - 50K.
 

perspective

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Perspective people...we all need to have some perspective. This thread (as like many others) displays the vast diversity of our profession.
Simply stated with every question, there will generally be two types of answers, old school and new school , and this is typically based upon age.

Times have changed. if you are a young individual interested in making a career as a planner type, do yourself and the profession a great favor, a get the Masters degree.

Otherwise, you can proceed "old school".
 

Ian Anderson

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2
Sour grapes, eh? Me thinks so.

I don't know how many of us here with masters are calling ourselves "academics." A masters does not necessarily indicate one is smart, intelligent, or reasonable. Some may think so, but they are highly mistaken. To you, "I guess my BA is worthless," I must say you have made some overbearing generalizations about the posters and audience of this thread. I would even go as far as to say you have been quite offensive. Not everyone here hung out in undergrad and grad school, never getting off our butts. Some of us paid our dues during undergrad and after. I don't know what you're trying to get at with your post, but somehow it seems like you didn't get what you wanted out of life and somehow regret it. I apologize for the psychoanalysis, but you opened yourself up quite a bit there with that last post.
 

mugbub

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I guess my BA is worthless (208.40.42.151)
Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - 04:28 pm
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FLplanner, how much do you make today thanks to your Masters? I bet it ain't over 45k...don't lie!

Lets be real: We work to make money (do not give me any crap about loving what you do..blah blah blah) we go to school to get a job that pays more money. Thus, it is not logical to get a Masters in planning when it does not increase your money making ability. It's as simple as that

26k right out of Masters is an absolute fricking joke. One could make more managing at a skid row McDonalds. How much did that education cost? It doesn't make economic sense at all.
 

mugbub

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I guess my BA is worthless (208.40.42.151)
Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - 04:47 pm
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Ian I am suprised you jumped all over me like that. You too Perspecive. Yes, I'm probably older than most you, but don't sterotype me into something called "oldschool." I didn't mean to offend, but there are alot of planners out there that know where I'm coming from.

We get 24 year olds fresh out of Grad school that are going to change the world. In reality, most don't stay late, go the extra mile, or do anything except mess around. Then at meetings they can't communicate worth a damn and act like a deer in the headlights. They have a Masters so they're the "experts," but I end up yanking these ignorant kids up learning curve.

I was doing planning and zoning when your mama was still wiping your nose! That may be "overbearing," or "offensive," but that's life man. Don't tell me my business. Bottom line: Treat your jobs like an income source and not a love affair and we'll all be fine. Go back and get your PhD. if a Masters ain't academic enough for you.
 

Zoning Goddess

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Worthless......

I could make justifications for why I chose the job I did, but it would make no sense to you. I don't work for the love of money, and no I don't make over 45K. But that's not what's important to me. I had an opportunity to move to south Florida for that kind of $$ a couple months ago, and turned it down. The job was essentially what I'm doing now, but for 5K less annually here, why would I want to trade this for a congested commute, much denser population, and (not as friendly) northeasterners who have decided to retire there? I enjoy the community I live in, rather rural in character, where I know my neighbors (blah blah blah to quote you).

I don't live in the northeast or the west where the cost of living would force me to make 45K to live comfortably. I live very comfortably, and am able to enjoy my time away from work.

My education was paid for by grants (basically given to me by a professor) and a work study program. Not much came out of my pocket.

You come across extremely bitter. It's almost as if you are bitter towards those of us who have a master's. Why is that?
 

perspective

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This is not intended to facilitate this discussion, but for humor purposes only!!

In my day...there were no computers, no GIS, no light boards. We has to use pencils and paper and windows..and that's the way we liked it.

how about another?

Stick around long enough..pay your dues and you'll be just fine like me. I started out as a pothole filler and now I'm the director of public works.

Now back to the discussion.

Its like a chess game. The bishop takes the pawn.
Assuming entry level and everything else being equal, the individual with the Master's degree will most likely always get the job. Granted, it wont get you many more pessos, but it will get you the job.

Sorry if I tweaked anyone, but I couldn't stop myself.
 

mugbub

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worthless (208.40.42.151)
Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - 05:16 pm
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Sounds like they must be dropping prozac in the drinking water in your town. "...i just love the rural character..." That way they can underpay an overeducated person.

Yuk it up perspective... pawns can also take bishops if they make an ignorant move. What happens when the pawn reaches the back of the board? The pawn becomes the most powerful piece on the board. Put that in perspective.
 

perspective

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Spoken like a man of wisdom. Very nice!!

Before I make another "ignorant" move, it sounds like many of you working in the "booming" parts of the country were planning is supposedly "valued" aren't very "valued" at all. This is why I would advise all entry level planners to get their Masters, so over time our profession will be respected and we will finally be paid what we are worth.
 

Charley

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I Guess My BA is Worthless--Yikes! The generalizations, the anger--you ain't a happy camper.

In my division, I am the only one with a Master's and by far the youngest. I rely heavily on those who have been doing this for years for their experience and advice. I don't discount them because they don't have a Master's degree. If your co-workers do, then that's simply their mistake--not something that's inherent of someone with a Master's.

The initial concern of the poster was whether or not a Master's was worth the effort. It's such an individual decision and there are so many variables to consider. For me, I have absolutely no regrets. I stay late, take work home, volunteer for projects,pursued the AICP certification and blah, blah, blah as you say. I knew I would not ever become wealthy and I also knew that I wouldn't be starting out as a zoning clerk. What's going on here is not unique to the planning profession. It's life.

My job is just more than a "source of income". If that's all it is to you, maybe it's time for something else. Sounds like you may be having a major case of burnout or maybe resentment that has built up for too long. All of us on the Board made our choice. You made yours. Deal.
 

Ian Anderson

Cyburbian
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41
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2
Is it just me or is someone on this thread sounding a whole lot likeve Buscemi character from the movie "Fargo"?
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
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30
My, some of us are getting rather testy. If you are in planning for the money, get out. Education, social work, law enforcerment, and planning are not among the more lucrative fields.

I am director with a masters and AICP. My deputy didn't complete his BA. I have hired people with MAs, and those with BAs--the quality of the work depended on the person. But if the human resources person had his way, all BAs would be weeded out immediately.

If I would have kept my first job before my BA, I would make what I am now...so what? It is not what I wanted.

I could make twice as much in the private non-planning sector. And I could be a "reduction in force" every other year.
 

mugbub

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worthless ()
Wednesday, July 25, 2001 - 07:58 am
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Yesterday I was angry and made some very blunt remarks. For those that I offended: I am sorry.

I'll restate my point and then that'll be the end of my discussion on this topic.

Perhaps it is true that a Masters is becoming required of mid level and even entry level planning positions. However, to infer that a BA is not enough bothers me. I had to work very hard to get into college, maintain grades, and graduate with a BA all while working a full time job. For me it was a hell of an accomplishment. To even consider going back for a Masters makes my stomach turn.

Looking back I realize I chose a rather non-lucrative field- which is ok. Knowing that, it would seem that the burden on a person like me to go back and get the Masters is not worth the effort because the reward would be small. I'm far from retirement, so the Masters question is always there for me. My strategy will be to go as far as possible with my BA, and that means competing with (and beating) other planners that posess a Masters.

I continue to attend training sessions and stay current on planning literature and trends. I do; however, make a point to do these activities during work hours while on my employers time- not my time. I still learn new things and try to be a proactive planner, but the reality is that I'm a planner with a BA, and I'm proof that one can succeed and get the same salary as a planner with a Masters. Do any of you find yourself in a similar situation?
 

Tom Brooks

Member
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0
I have a Masters degree in Public Administration and have worked in County Planning Departments for 13 of my 14 work years. In County government, a person can work with a bachelors degree but they need two years of experience. A person with a Masters Degree qualifies without any work experience. Senior Planner or Principal planner positions can be filled by a bachelors but the minimum qualifications require someone with a Bachelors degree to have two more years of work experience than someone with a masters.

In the one city I worked in, I was the only planner besides the director that had a masters degree.
 

Mary

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6
Worthless, I'm not sure that anyone here meant to imply that you needed or should go back for your masters. The only person I've ever known to have an undergrad and a masters in planning did it because the grant program they were being offered was too good to ignore. Otherwise the Masters are usually people like me who weren't that pleased with their first field of choice and had to try the school route again.

I do hope that money is not as motivating a factor for you as your earlier posts indicated. I can agree with FL Planner. I now work in a big metro area because this is where my spouse has to be to get work right now but given a choice I'd probably go back to my previous jobs and work for more rural community. There is something stressful but rewarding about planning in a smaller community.
 

NHPlanner

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I took a hybrid route: I got a professional bachelor's degree, Bachelor of Urban Planning & Development and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design. 5-Year undergrad program (Ball State University for those interested).

Now 3 1/2 years later I make low $40,000's, have my AICP, and work in a challenging, yet rewarding community.
 

Cardinal

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33
I'll agree with those who point out that a masters seems to open the door to employment more easily than a bachelors degree. At least here in the Upper Midwest, there are not a great many entry-level planning positions. Most of the positions I see offered require a masters and two years experience. That is what prompted me to go back for mine, after being unsuccessful in getting a planning job with only a bachelors degree. I have no regrets. The masters did open doors and, more importantly, taught me a different way of thinking -- probably its most important benefit. Once on the job, the degree means nothing in comparison to performance. I've said it before -- some of the best planners I know only have a bachelors degree, or even no degree at all. Ability is a hard thing to measure, so hiring is often done by credentials. A masters degree, like it or not, is one of the credentials that more employers are beginning to require.
 

troy

Member
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4
Alright, what was the question again?

After my Masters (which I gained while working full time as a courier), I gained a position as an Assistant Planner starting at about 32k. I had no experience at the time, and it was the first position I found within an easy commute where the pay and benefits were better than what I already had. A couple of communities wanted to start me as an intern (part time, no insurance, less than I was making before? That's why I had no experience when I graduated).

Four years later, I am with the same community, I am a Planner (we have Assistants, Planners, Senior Planners, Managers, and a Director). I make $40k. I just got my AICP a couple of weeks ago, and I have started cross training with our zoning and plat review section (I work in long range planning).

I am always ready to learn new techniques from whoever will teach me. I don't care if someone has a BA, a Masters, or a Doctorate. I form my opinions based on the quality of the work I see them produce and on how willing they are to answer my questions when I need help.

Several of my fellow students, who did have some experience in the field before they started their studies, have gone directly into Director level positions. Especially in some of the smaller communities in the area.

The best thing you can do, is get experience in the field. Nothing beats it. If you can afford an internship, or you can get a position without your degree, take it! It will save you some time. If not, the Master's and some good references will get your foot in the door. Networking will help a lot. No matter what, you will have to learn how things are done in whatever community you work for. There is always a learning curve when you start a new job no matter how much training you have had.

Is a BA as good as the Master's? I don't know. Only one school in Texas offers a Bachelor's in Planning that I know of. Most of the people in the state seem to have a Masters in planning or a related field, or they started in the profession more than ten years ago. Maybe APA has some stats on its membership's credentials...
 

Brent

Cyburbian
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107
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6
Wow, over 30 posts in 3 days...this is one hot potato!

I firmly believe experience and performance should outweigh education in the hiring process. For example, our housing coordinator has no formal planning education but she does one hell of a job and outshines many of the degreed planners we've had in the past. However, the fact of the matter is a Master's degree will definitely get you farther while job hunting, especially with regard to entry level positions.

I have never seen anyone get snubbed with a BA, but if you're reviewing a few dozen resumes, it becomes easier to narrow the focus down to those with graduate degrees. I am not saying it's necessarily fair, but in my experience that's the way it works. I know our HR department pushes to get hirees with graduate degrees.
 

adaptor

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123
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6
Hey confused! Did you get your answer yet?

I my experience, the Masters program at my University was a chance to concentrate on the work I wanted to do. I could have focused on Urban Design, Public Administration, Environmental Planning etc. Some of the courses were the same profs (and same classes) as the undergraduate, but my transcript showed a level of interest and experience that by BA did not.

Did it help? It depends. I had an internship with a government that was doing lots of interesting things. It lasted a year before I left for a real job, because the planners on staff weren't leaving so there were no openings on the horizon. I jumped to non-planning work because of the tight market in town (with all the similarly qualified planners coming out of school) and because with little experience I was at a competitive disadvantage when it came to relocating.

Now I'm back in planning in a government ruled by civil service. The job requirements for me are greater than they were for my managers. A Masters was required for me, they only needed a BA 20 or 30 years ago. And in this case nobody cares about AICP.

The thing is for you to decide what you want to do when you get out of school and find out what the requirements are there. If you're only interested in moving where work opportunities abound, I'm sure you can get by with a BA and no experience, as many previous commenters have. If you know you want to work in a particular kind or public or private shop, find out what they generally expect. Skills and abilities count - wheter you prove them in school, as a volunteer or in a paid position of any kind.
 

plantastic

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11
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1
Wow, I didn't know I was the only 24-year old with a Masters degree who constantly stays late, attends night meetings, and works a full 8 hours (if not more) every day. Oh, wait, I'm probably not. Worthless, if your dept hired a bunch of "ignorant kids" that sounds like a personnel issue to me. Your BA may not be worthless, but your attitude is.
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
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440
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13
I've heard some posts here, that some people without their masters had to "pay their dues" so they just couldn't get their masters.

Let's be reasonable folks. Getting a masters degree in planning is not a herculean task! The truth is outside of a few "elite" planning programs most all programs take just about anybody who got a B average (3.0 or better) in their undergraduate studies. Many programs offer part time programs. If you happen to live in a area where part-time studies are not available you MAKE THE SACRIFICE and go full time.

I finished the coursework for 2 masters degrees by the time I was 24 and I financed that and my undergraduate degree entirely by working and getting student loans. Oh, and I busted my ass to do it, and I don't like it when people degrade education. As we live in a increasingly fast moving society, we should value education not degrade it.

Yes, I had 40K in student loans when I graduated, but I considered it an investment in MYSELF and it has paid off handsomly.

I would not discriminate against someone with just a bachelors, but if someone is say 35 and they haven't bothered to get a graduate degree (notice I didn't say planning degree) then I would have to discount them absent a personal recommendation or stellar work history.

Oh, just to let you know my biases I worked in consulting for 2 years and now work in international development (also 2 years). Both my parents did happen to hold Ph.Ds and both instilled in me the absolute necessity of being educated. I am so grateful for them for doing so.
 

Zoning Goddess

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38
Mary, thank you for your post.

I believe that it is more importantly the character of the individual more than whether he/she has a master's degree. A positive attitude is a big part of that.

I see both sides to the master's/ no master's dilema. I have worked with both types. But again, I firmly believe it has more to do with the character of the individual. My boss at my previous place of employment (a Planning Director) didn't even have a college degree, let alone a planning degree. She had permitting experience prior. She was not an effective planning manager, and didn't really know much about the process of planning, or any desire to learn about it. She was there for the paycheck. One of my cohorts now, who also does not have a college degree, can't get promoted because of it. But he knows as much about planning, if not more, than I do. He's been doing it longer. I've learned much from him.

With exception to the last post, which may have been deleted due to language, I think most of us are voicing our past experiences and our opinions. I don't feel anyone here is judging anyone else due to any education they may or may not have.
 

perspective

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I'll assume and hope that those individuals who do not have any collge degree, never mind one in planning, were originally employed at least 15 or more years ago. If so, than it is understandable, but those days should be over.

As a young professional planner with my undergraduate and Masters in Planning, I would not be interested in working for Town or department that did not pride itself on higher educational requirements.

Again, this is not a matter of character or self proclaimed wisdom, but of being able to justify our profession. I truely believe that our profession has an identity crisis, not only externally with the general public, but internally as well. If we are to be respected on the same level as architects and engineers, then it is in the best interest of the planning profession to receieve a PROFESSIONAL degree, an that would be a MASTERS in PLANNING.
 

Vlaude

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440
Points
13
Well, thanks again for all the input, I think it sounds like everyone is fairly divided on the issue, kind of the way I am... I firmly believe a Masters (RCPL) is crucial for myself. WORTHLESS, it sounds like you have some time behind the planning wheel, but I think your statements are very stereo-typical. In your case maybe a Masters would not benefit you at your point in life, however my situation is not yours. I do agree

with you in that experience is key, I know I have been that deer a few times staring at the headlights of the oncoming Mack Truck, fortunately I've gotten out of the way. I know I will be getting some bumps and bruises on the way, but I feel we all go through that. I feel that having my Masters will speed up the learning curve and open doors that otherwise wouldn't be open.

To state that a BA or a Masters is worthless across the board is comical. I truly believe it depends on the person and their goals in life. Money is not everything, happiness in life is what I am striving for, a lil'money does help...

LOL, next can of worms to OPEN is AICP or NO AICP? I think I will qualify for it in about a year, and I figure why not? Its a minimal cost and I assume opens more doors? Right? Wrong? Maybe???
 

Tom Brooks

Member
Messages
4
Points
0
AICP opens doors more on the private side since professional credentials are important especially in consulting. Public agencies rarely care about AICP. I can only remember only one governmental agency that required AICP. Even the places that said AICP preferred usually hired without regard to the preference.
 

WRH-IV

Member
Messages
6
Points
0
WRH-IV ()
Monday, July 30, 2001 - 12:05 pm
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All other things being equal, when a consulting firm or government agency is faced with the daunting task of winnowing a stack of job resumes, the AICP behind your name may be the deciding factor that short-lists you for a face to face interview. AICP certification is a door opener. Of course, what you say or do during the interview will be the deal maker (or breaker), AICP notwithstanding.
 

Vlaude

Cyburbian
Messages
440
Points
13
AICP it is, what is the best way to prepare for the test? I am told through experience, but if I wanted to sit down and actually review information or read some journals, what should I do? I am kind of lost, I have been told not to worry about it and take it when the time comes... I don't like that approach, or at least I am not comfortable with it...
 

Mary

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
Look for study guides, take practice tests, sometimes there are local study groups, also see the discussion at:

Cyburbia Cafe: Planning Organizations and Certification: AICP study group

Many of the things can't really be studied well but you can still work on it. The APA also usually offers AICP prep courses at some of their conferences.

Good Luck
Mary
 

troy

Member
Messages
68
Points
4
If its available to you, take one of Michael Waiczis' courses. Get his study materials and practice tests. They give you a pretty good idea of what to expect and how to prepare.
 

Quixotic

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
The AICP test is not that bad. I guess it really depends upon your thought process. The test is national, therefore it will not contain questions that can be interpreted as local. So, basically, study the general planning theories and methods that are "national" in nature. Also, alot of the test was really common sense type questions. Don't get caught up in over analysis. Study generally. Think logically.

P.S. I graduated with my Masters a year ago. The real benefit to it is that it opens your eyes to different ways of thinking about planning and different tecniques. It also exposes you to technology and hones critical thinking and writing skills. It provides a wide base that experience fleshes out. People who have gotten their masters realize this and are more liable to hire you since, even if you don't have direct experience with something, you were probably exposed to it, and are adaptable enough to learn new things quickly. I think it is also beneficial in being able to craft and understand public policy, you are exposed to their underpinings and get a feel for the "big picture".

A masters also teaches you that planning is not just subdivision review, planning really can be used to shape people's everyday lives. I may just be lucky to work in a progressive department. Although i don't get paid a boat load of money, my work is interesting. When I went on the job search I accepted the job where I am BECAUSE it was not jsut subdivision review. I really feel like a planner, not just an ordinance review technician. There is hope.
 

avisame

Member
Messages
4
Points
0
I'm seriously considering going for a planning MA in 2002, and this debate is very eye-opening. i'm attracted to planning b/c of its interdisciplinary nature, and planned to get a joint degree in natural or water resources management (at michigan or cornell, hopefully). i believed that having a MA would allow me to go higher in an NGO, or allow the possibility of getting into international development, which seems like a tight field to enter. but now i think i'd be better off just getting the resource mgt. degree & scratching the planning degree - would you currently working in envi. planning recommend this??
 

WRH-IV

Member
Messages
6
Points
0
UNCERTAIN: I'm not sure that a Master's in planning is the best route for someone interested in working for an international development NGO. First, most graduate planning programs do not offer an MA; rather, folks get professional degrees (i.e., MCP, MURP, etc.) Due to the professional nature of the degree, much of the coursework is market-driven; that is, what is in demand out in the "real world." Students are mostly trained for the rigors of US or Canadian municipal/regional government, or consulting firms whose clients either interact with or are often these same agencies. If you are serious about natural resources management in the international arena, find a program that blends these and skip the planning degree.
 
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