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Urban Planners

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Urban planners plan for the development of urban and rural areas. Most work for city, county, or other governmental agencies, where they help develop and perform official policy regarding current and future land use. They are concerned with all features of the environment, including the location and design of buildings, transportation systems and with the protection of natural resources, including air and water quality and population density. They report on the best location for houses, stores and parks. Planners also consider social and economic factors that will be affected by land use changes. Planners generally work in clean, well-lighted offices. However, they may spend much of their time outside the office, attending meetings or hearings,

(Sometimes after hours), or inspecting development sites.

A bachelor's degree in planning or a related field is the minimum requirement for professional-level jobs. Some other requirements for most jobs include a master's degree or several years of professional experience or both. However it is possible to get started with only a bachelor's degree, a lot of competition for entry-level jobs and the rising difficulty of the work itself makes a master's degree suitable. Most authorities recommend an undergraduate degree in an area related to planning, such as geography, political science, or architecture followed by a graduate degree in planning. A degree in urban studies, environmental studies, or environmental planning programs requires the same two years of full time study to complete. Local government planning offices often hire college students to work during the summer. Students can learn a lot before they get their first job after they graduate. To become a certified planner, a certain amount of courses must be taken. A few universities have programs under which students may earn master's degrees in planning as well as in an similar field, such as architecture, in about three years of full time study. Planners must be able to think in terms of relationships and visualize the effects of their plans and designs. They should be flexible and able to reconcile different viewpoints and to make constructive policy recommendations. The ability to communicate well, both orally and in writing, is necessary for anyone interested in this field.




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