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Working ✍️ Where else can a Planning degree take me?

flaaenja

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Background: I have bachelors degrees in geography and history. I have a master's in City and Regional Planning and AICP certification. I have been a current planner for almost 12 years, including 9 at a senior level with cities around 80,000 people.

I need some help/advice. I work in a planning office doing mainly current planning and historic preservation. I've grown increasingly frustrated, disinterested and indifferent with my current position. I used to think that I couldn't keep working where I'm working because of politics, same people/problems/issues and continued repetition of the mundane. Now I am beginning to think that I don't know if I can continue doing what I'm doing at all because the same issues will likely be there if/when I begin work in another community. I'll still be doing the same monotony, just having to learn a new ordinance to implement. My drive used to be to be a director, but I don't know if even that will solve my lack of enthusiasm for the profession.

But I still love the development process and have tried to look for work for private companies and developers. Not planning consultants, but actual companies seeking in-house experts to assist in their growth efforts. These companies have turned me down because of lack of experience/education with architecture, civil engineering, construction, building codes, etc. I don't know if I have the will (much less the $$) to go back to school to complete a new degree. And relocation is not an option.

So my question is, what are other people doing with a planning degree outside of the traditional roles? What are some ideas I can consider as I scroll through the job boards? TIA.
 

macagg

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This will be only me second post here ever because I feel inspired. I have a similar background to you: History BA and a MCRP. I practiced for three years before being laid off in 2010. That was a blessing because even that short time I felt that it planning wasn't for me and I developed issues with the profession in general and from the APA.

Long story short, I have worked in right of way and site acquisition for over ten years now. I have worked for oil and gas companies and have down work for the State DOT. Do I use my planning degree? It is a tossup. In my O&G work, I tend to get assigned to any stakeholders that are governmental when it comes to acquisitions or non-environmental permits. At the very least I know how to talk the people at the front desk or the local politicians who need to feel respected.
 
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