What's involved in working as a planner?
Why become a planner?
The attraction of planner jobs is that planners get to physically shape the world around them in a tangible way. This makes it a very satisfying job with physical and visible results.
Many people choose to go into planning due to an interest in protecting the environment. Planners are regularly involved in regeneration projects, the establishment of wind farms and sustainable housing projects, making it very rewarding for those who want to 'go green'.
There is also a lot of variety in the role, allowing planners to choose an area of focus which matches their interests. Those who thrive under pressure will find plenty of challenges to overcome too with planners working both at home and overseas often facing high demands that equate to huge rewards when handled successfully.
Who do planners work for?
Planners work for a wide range of employers, including:
- Local authorities
- Government bodies
- Private companies
- The property sector
- Development agencies
- Charities and voluntary organisations
As there is a constant demand for skilled planners, the job outlook for planners is good. Sustainability projects are also expected to be an area of future growth; generating further demand.
Planners mainly work in an office setting, but regular travel is common as planners must visit sites and attend meetings. The majority of planners work in urban area, but some planners also work in national parks. Many planners also work for overseas employers so there is a lot of opportunity for working abroad.
Qualities needed to become a planner
There are a number of qualities successful applicants need to become planners, including:
- Good communication skills
- An interest in the environment
- The ability to handle delicate issues sensitively through negotiation
- Strong organisational skills
- The ability to work well in a team
Becoming a planner
An undergraduate degree in planning is the standard route into this career. The degree must be accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
Postgraduate qualification opportunities are also available and bursaries may be available for some students.
Once a planner has become a member of the RTPI, there are many opportunities to develop their skills. Planners often carry out regular training to remain up to date with the latest industry developments and improve their career development.
To become a chartered member of the RTPI, planners require a degree and two years of experience.
Wage for planners
Qualified planners working in planner jobs earn an average of about £40,000 to just over £50,000 a year, making it a well-paid profession.