HOW TO BECOME A TOWN PLANNER IN THE UK
There are many possible routes you can take to becoming a ‘town planner’ in the UK.
We have already seen in ‘What does a town planner do?’ that there are many varying roles that a ‘planner’ can adopt.
CHARTERED TOWN PLANNERS
A ‘Chartered Town Planner’ in the UK will be a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, (RTPI) and will be able to use ‘MRTPI’ designation after their names – ‘Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute’.
Becoming Chartered gives professional credibility, offers access to networks, training and other support provided by the RTPI.
Chartered Town Planners must adhere to a code of conduct that specifies standards of professional ethics.
A degree in a planning related subject or several years of experience in spatial planning (usually both) is needed to get accreditation and there are strict rules requiring continued professional training and development throughout a planner’s career.
It is important to appreciate, however, that town planners do not have to be ‘Chartered’ to practice as a ‘planner’ or get jobs in the planning industry. Many planners never seek or secure MRTPI status.
STARTING YOUR PLANNING CAREER – WORK VS STUDY
FULL TIME STUDY
It is common for planners to begin their careers by securing a planning-related undergraduate degree and studying full-time at university.
There are a number of UK universities that provide accredited professional town/city planning degrees, but it is also possible to make use of other relevant degrees such as Geography or Environmental courses before progressing to a post-graduate masters or diploma in planning.
Our ‘Where to Study’ page provides details of universities that provide planning-related courses.
PART TIME STUDY
It is possible to secure a junior planning role without first securing a degree or similar academic qualification and to take a vocational path for a career in planning.
Many planners secure work and undertake their post-graduate studies part-time, whilst earning. This has become more popular in recent years since tuition fees became payable and grants were cut for students. Employers can often be willing to contribute directly towards course fees as well as paying wages.
Other routes to becoming a planner include apprenticeships or securing work as a junior planner – progressing to secure MRTPI status through work experience, without a supporting academic qualification. This is a longer route towards chartered status than one that includes an element of academic accreditation.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON CAREERS IN TOWN PLANNING
The RTPI have several available routes to achieving MRTPI status. Their website provides lots of useful advice for those looking into a career in town planning or those starting out. This includes information on courses, apprenticeships, bursaries and other helpful guidance.
Check out: RTPI Website
TownPlanning.info has an extensive catalogue of articles and guides which help explain the town planning system in England.
See below for links to some of our most popular pages or use the search function and menus at the top of the page.