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Where to go after getting my Masters?

apagano

Member
Messages
13
Points
1
After being laid off a couple of years ago I decided to take the plunge and pursue a Masters Degree in Urban Planning. My prior career had nothing to do with planning. I majored in communications and was a radio personality for seven years. Planning is just something I have an interest in. As I get closer to finishing my degree I have to start thinking about exactly what I want to do with it. I've talked to city planners who say most of their work is real mundane. I'm impressed with the great work done by CDCs, but I also see how many hours those people put in for very low pay. Private sector work seems more lucrative, but I understand there aren't a lot of entry-level jobs at private firms.

Basically I'm looking to hear from planning pros on ideas on where I might go with my degree when I'm done with school. Is there such a thing as a typical first job for a fresh-out-of-grad school planner? In radio it was simple: you took the first job you could get regardless of the hours, the location or the pay. What about with planning?
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,896
Points
27
apagano said:
Private sector work seems more lucrative, but I understand there aren't a lot of entry-level jobs at private firms.
That hasn't been my experience, Apagano. If you can get your foot in the door as an intern, or if you're willing to accept a relatively low-paying position to start off, you might find excellent opportunities in the private sector. I don't know who is hiring right now, but the smaller consulting firms will often hire entry-level professionals. It's a good way to help with the workload on the cheap.
 

OhioPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
304
Points
11
While your first job probably won't be your best it shouldn't be too hard to get into the type of organziation your interested in, such as non-profit housing.

I think people have the hardest time finding a job when they restrict their geographic location, such as only being willing to work in Cleveland.

Just start applying and see what happens.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
A typical entry-level job in our jurisdiction (a county in central Florida) would be reviewing rezonings/variances/comprehensive plan amendments and taking them to the various boards, helping customers at the counter on a wide variety of issues, learning about and representing the county at various multi-jurisdiction agencies, or facilitating community meetings. I guess it depends on where you go. Here, it is anything but mundane. Hold out for something where you will learn research, writing, and presenting, not just doing the legwork for someone else.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
I agree with the Godess. Get a first job where you can hone your writing and presentation skills. As for geography, the place you want to be should be your last job...not your first.
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
The private sector isn't as lucrative as it appears to be. While your starting salary may be 15% or so higher than a public sector planner, there are no real guarantees that you'll always have work. Most of the local planning/engineering firms are in a slump right now with not many projects coming in. It's hard trying to figure where to charge your time to when you don't have any work to do. And then, there's always the fear of being laid off without the safety net of civil service.
 

Trail Nazi

Cyburbian
Messages
2,779
Points
24
Zoning Goddess said:
A typical entry-level job in our jurisdiction (a county in central Florida) would be reviewing rezonings/variances/comprehensive plan amendments and taking them to the various boards, helping customers at the counter on a wide variety of issues, learning about and representing the county at various multi-jurisdiction agencies, or facilitating community meetings. I guess it depends on where you go. Here, it is anything but mundane. Hold out for something where you will learn research, writing, and presenting, not just doing the legwork for someone else.
ZG is correct. She and I both worked for the same location and it is best to try to get as broad of an experience that you can. I found that I got to do all of the above stuff and have recently started to specialize, which has only made me a stronger planner because I understand the broader picture. Plus, when you move on from your point of beginning, you will be able to fit more job descriptions. I would recommend working for either a large city (Atlanta, LA, Seattle, etc sized) or working in a county so that you can get the broader picture.
 

old man

Member
Messages
11
Points
1
What to do after my Masters.

Working for a small regional Council or smaller town generally means less pay, but more oppurtunity to do diverse things. Then you can work on whether you want to specialize. I also generally agree that location is not as important as the job and environment. Don't get too discouraged, the job market is tough for all new graduates.
 
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