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Town planner Spatial planner, planner, urban designer, planning officer

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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: 13 September 2018