Planning profession offers awards degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. Town planning degrees provide professional training in the knowledge, skills, and values of the field. Different career goals need different levels of education. The town planning degrees from the Planning Accreditation Board accredited programs must meet agreed-upon standards for planning education. The Planning Accreditation Board accredit undergraduate and master’s degree programs. Degrees from these schools generally cover the following areas
– Structure and functions of urban settlements
– History and theory of planning processes and practices
– Administrative, legal, and political aspects of plan-making and policy implementation
– Quantitative analysis
– Problem formulation and solving
– Plan-making and program design
– Planning in a democratic society
Town Planning Undergraduate Degrees
A town planners with undergraduate degrees often work in entry-level planning positions. Many planners with undergraduate degrees will go on to receive a master’s degree in planning. A degree from a Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) accredited university in Urban Planning or City and Regional Planning is the most thorough educational preparation for the planning field. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) is a membership organization composed of the schools that have planning degree programs, and ACSP maintains an online inventory of the schools with undergraduate programs.
In addition to the Planning Accreditation Board, most colleges and universities are also accredited by other, more broad-based review bodies. In the United States, there are six regional bodies that accredit. One example is the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Some colleges and universities choose to be certified only by these more broad-based organizations.
Town Planners Master’s Degrees
A masters-level graduate degree is considered the standard for planning practitioners. Planning graduate students may have an undergraduate degree in planning, but others may have studied geography, urban studies, architecture, or sociology. PAB accredits master’s degree programs in planning. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) is a membership organization composed of the schools that have planning degree programs, and ACSP maintains an online inventory of the schools with master’s programs.
When hiring for professional town planning positions, many organizations require or give strong preference to candidates holding graduate degrees. Approximately one-sixth of the APA members are planning commissioners, officials, or students, who do not have a degree in planning) had earned a master’s degree in planning. Many employers also give preference to those who are certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
International Town Planning Degrees
Many town planners are educated outside of the United States. Holding a planning degree from a non-U.S. university should not hinder a planner’s career prospects in the United States. Employers in the U.S. most often look for relevant education and/or work experience. Non-U.S. citizens should consult with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization department for details on work permits and other employment and citizenship requirements if circumstances permit it.
Town Planners Doctoral Degrees
Town planners who obtain a Ph.D. in planning often pursue a career in academia or with research or policy institutions. Ph.D. programs in planning are not certified by PAB. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) maintains an online list of schools with Ph.D. programs.
Culled from the American Planning Association Website | Planning Degrees and Schools