Town planner

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Spatial planner, planner, urban designer, planning officer

Town planners help shape the way towns and cities develop, and balance the demands on land with the needs of the community.

Salary Range: £18,000 to £30,000

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How to become a town planner

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
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University

You’ll need a degree or a postgraduate qualification accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Subjects include:

  • planning, environment and development
  • city and regional planning
  • urban planning and property development

You can do postgraduate qualification in planning if you have a degree in an unrelated subject.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information

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Work

You could qualify while working as a planning technician or other support staff.

You’ll need the backing of your employer and you’ll combine practical experience with part-time or distance learning study towards an accredited planning qualification.

Volunteering and experience

You’ll find it useful to get as much work experience as possible. This will give you a better understanding of the career, and the contacts you make may help you to find paid work.

You can search for companies listed by the Royal Town Planning Institute or contact your local council to ask about opportunities.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Royal Town Planning Institute to work towards chartered status, find training opportunities and make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about town planning as a career from the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of geography
  • the ability to work well with others
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • business management skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • assessing the effect of new rail links or roads
  • planning for houses and renewable energy generation sites like wind farms
  • redesigning urban spaces and developing parks, woodlands and waterways in a sustainable way
  • conserving old buildings and archaeological sites
  • developing local or national planning policies for government
  • making decisions about planning applications
  • advising the public, businesses and land developers on planning policies, rules and regulations
  • making sure planning rules and regulations are carried out
  • organising meetings to hear feedback from local people

Working environment

You could work in an office.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could apply for chartered town planner status, and then become a planner or senior planner. With at least 10 years’ experience you could become a senior manager or planning consultant. You could work as a self-employed consultant.

You could also move into environmental management, urban regeneration, recreation management and property development.