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Town planner 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, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need a degree or a postgraduate qualification accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in a relevant subject, like:

  • town planning
  • environment and development
  • urban design
  • sustainability, planning and environmental policy

You could study part-time for a qualification while working in a role like planning technician or support staff member.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent negotiation and presentation skills
  • good organisational and time management skills
  • excellent research and report writing skills
  • IT skills 

3. What you'll do

You'll use surveying techniques, geographical information systems (GIS) and computer-aided design (CAD) to draw up plans and make recommendations for land use.

You could work in a wide variety of areas, like transport, urban design or conservation.

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

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000

Experienced: £34,000

Highly Experienced: £55,000 to £80,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work 35 to 40 hours a week. You may also attend events like public meetings in the evenings.

You'll work in a planning office. You'll need to travel to meetings and site visits.

6. 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.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017