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Unrelated careers with an urban planning degree


Hello, Career Development and Advice.

It's been at least 3 years since I graduated with a bachelor's in Urban and Regional Planning but haven't really being able to find an "urban planning" job that wouldn't require me to have at least a Master's degree and at least 2 years of professional experience. I'm talking about fresh out of college to early career here. So, I have figured out many options: 1. I could decide to embark myself on obtaining the MUP and get some work experience while doing the latter. 2. I could get a second bachelor's or another degree in something else. 3. Just job hunt with a bachelor's degree in Urban Planning in hopes of finding something related or totally unrelated to what I did. As of today, my experience has been has been of retail and customer service. Definitely very unrelated, but could be useful in the actual planning field when trying to convince stakeholders of development plans, I guess?. I'm trying to see if I can do some volunteer or pro-bono work for non-profit organizations which could allow me to be more open to professional opportunities, or get my feet in the door to them as some would say. I've realized that my interests after taking up on this degree were mostly the design part such as creating maps and doing research with GIS to see how, for example, communities are affected by, for example, the amount of traffic that flows in rural areas. Why is there such little traffic flow on certain months? Why does it increase on others? Etc. I've realized that I don't like going through tons of literature in spatial analysis and planning theories; that stuff bores me and I think employers find that as bluff, unless you are doing research. And, I definitely do not like giving out presentation for hours about a project that I would like to have a budget for.
Well, and that's where I'm at. I guess I'm still in the phase of finding something more tangible that would allow me to make use of this degree.

I don't think I've stated the real question here: what other jobs could you get with a planning degree? Teaching? Finance? Clerical?

Thank you so much for your constructive feedback.

Appreciate it.


Have you looked at state government or non-profit agencies? They tend to hire a lot of fresh out of grad school people with the right attitude. The state of Florida is especially known for paying very low salaries. They can't compete with local governments or private sector planning, but it's a great opportunity to gain some entry level experience and work on some really cool projects. Knowledge of the administration of the Growth Management Act at the state level should be an attractive skill for employers in Florida. Do a year or two with state government and move on to something else.

There are also opportunities in allied fields.

Community/Economic Development
Real Estate Development
Environmental and NEPA Compliance
GIS Mapping

I got my start in Right-of-Way and relocation in public infrastructure projects.

Michele Zone

I've known people with the attitude that a college degree is just to get you in the door of a professional job and it is almost irrelevant what the degree is in. I have known people in government jobs who had that attitude. I have run into a similar attitude in the corporate world.

I will recommend you pick up a copy of "What color is your parachute?", do the exercises and do some research.