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Tips for Becoming a City or Regional Planner
City, urban, or regional planner can be an attractive career route for many young adults. If you are thinking of pursuing this field of city planning, consider the following tips to get yourself started on the right track:
Tip #1: Fine tune your analytical and organizational skills. The field of city and regional planning is built upon the ability of its professionals to effectively plan, analyze, organize, and communicate. If these are skills you recognize as a weakness, or simply want to improve them, now is the time to start. Being a city or regional planner also requires a degree of creativity along with lots of initiative and self-motivation.
Tip #2: Get the proper schooling. Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is the completion of your higher education degree. Minimally, an urban or regional planner should have a four year bachelor's degree, but a master's degree is highly encouraged and sometimes even required. Within this coursework, you will need to get a firm understanding of statistics, demographics, economics, market analysis, computer literacy, and strong writing skills. You may also look into specializations within the field which may require additional classes. Specializations include environmental management, and industrial or commercial applications.
Tip #3: Network through internships and workshops. While still in school, it can be helpful to gain some helpful experience in a paid or unpaid internship. Not only will you gain hands-on understanding of how the industry functions and what skills are required, but you will also establish some invaluable networks. Once you know individuals in the field, you will be more likely to hear about potential job offerings and opportunities.
Regional city planners are professionals that help design and plan city projects, environment projects, housing and living centers projects, shopping centers, urban community projects, town and local roads, buildings, residential and commercial projects, recreation and nature parks, streets, schools, college buildings and universities, and other education facilities within a city. Regional city planners are often engineers, such as civil, mechanical and structural, or architects that have expertise in planning such community projects from start to finish. For example, civil engineers are professionals trained in the design, planning and construction of major public structural projects, such as dams, bridges, and other large facilities. Civil engineers can also take on a city building project, environmental land project, architectural construction, transportation project, public works project, school construction, aerospace design, and electronic design. Other branches of related engineering include structural engineering, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering. Cities, towns and regional governments planning large local projects, such as environment projects and shopping centers, often hire city planners for the job. You can find regional city planners in your community by looking in your local phone book or by searching online directory listings. If you're interested in becoming a city planner, you can attend an architecture college, university or night school to obtain a degree. Do your research on what it takes to become a regional city planner, ultimately able to work on structural engineering projects, design projects, streets and roadways, shopping centers, parks, urban community living projects, housing, schools, environmental land projects, city building projects and public works projects.