Town and urban planning professionals are involved in the management and development of towns and urban areas.
The vast majority of employers expect candidates to possess an undergraduate degree accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). Such a degree is necessary to qualify as a chartered planner. Those who have not obtained an RTPI-accredited undergraduate degree can obtain chartered status by studying for an accredited postgraduate degree.
Pre-entry work experience is desirable for prospective town planners and urban planners. Relevant work experience may include time spent in a localauthoritiesplanning department. In addition to relevant qualifications and work experience, candidates for town planning jobs require good problem-solving skills, report-writing skills, self-motivation and creative thinking skills.
Many planners are employed in local authorities and town and urban planning recruitment agencies may focus on these types of organisations. However, jobs are also available through The Highways Agency and the Environment Agency. Employment openings are also available in the private sector, with vacancies being advertised through sector publications and recruitment agencies that handle graduate jobs.
Working hours for planners vary according to the sector in which they work. However, standard office hours apply in the majority of cases. While town planning work is largely office-based, planners may be required to make site visits and meet clients. Jobs for graduate planners tend to be full-time and permanent, self-employment is an option for more experienced planners.
Starting salaries for graduate town planners tend to be in the region of £16,000 to £28,000 a year. Members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) are likely to start on higher salaries. Opportunities for career progression differ between employers, but staff with chartered status are more likely to move into senior positions which can command £35,000 to £45,000 salaries. In the public sector, newly qualified graduate planners may be able to take on senior planner positions within three to five years.