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How do I Become a Town Planner?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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A town planner is an administrator in a city who is responsible for determining the best use of area and resources within a municipality. If you have a desire to become a town planner, there are number of things you can do to help make that dream a reality. One of the most important things is to finish high school and get a college education. Another thing that will help in your goal to become a town planner is to take as many internships and volunteer opportunities as possible.

One of the first things you need in order to become a town planner is a good, basic education that begins in high school. Focus on classes such as mathematics, communications and computers. All of these skills are essential in the city management and planning fields, and will also help you build a solid foundation for college. You may also consider some type of beginning engineering classes, if your school happens to offer them.

Once you graduate high school, your degree choice to become a town planner will often involve a major in a field like urban design or city planning. If you are willing to become a town planner for a smaller municipality, you may be able to get started just with a bachelor’s degree, but many communities require a master’s degree, especially if it is a larger community. Therefore, if you wish to progress in your city planner career, you may need to eventually earn a graduate degree.

While you are still in college, taking internships or summer jobs in cities is a great opportunity, especially if you can land a spot in a planning and zoning office. These opportunities not only offer you the chance to get your name out, but also give you practical experience, which is useful to anyone wanting to become a town planner. In many cases, the best time to start looking is two to three months before the summer break.

Finding a job as a town planner can be difficult, but there are opportunities available, even for those who are just coming out of college. If you have a specific geographic location you are interested in, check some of the regional or city websites. Many list their job openings, and it may be your best way to find a local job. Otherwise, there are a number of general websites focusing on government jobs. Trade publications, typically available at a college, library or even in city hall, are another good source of job information.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon127993 — On Nov 18, 2010

Personalities not too sure, but you need to love people! you need to see peoples needs at the heart of what you do and be objective.

By hannahs14 — On Jul 09, 2010

@audichick - Town, or urban, planners have to juggle a lot of different ideas and criteria when they plan for a city, so they have to be multi-taskers who are detail oriented. They have to consider things like zoning codes, population growth, pollution, land values and crime rates when they start planning a new project. They have to be able to anticipate how their new development may affect an area and the people living in that area.

By audichick — On Jul 09, 2010

What type of a personalities mesh well with a job like town planning?

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