Design & planning

Town planner

Town planners help shape the way towns and cities develop, and balance the demands on land with the needs of the community.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £80,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

4%
Future employment

There will be 4% more Town planner jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

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

University

You'll need a degree or a postgraduate qualification accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Subjects include:

  • planning, environment and development
  • city and regional planning
  • urban planning and property development

You can do postgraduate qualification in planning if you have a degree in an unrelated subject.

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

Other Routes

You could qualify while working as a planning technician or other support staff.

You'll need the backing of your employer and you'll combine practical experience with part-time or distance learning study towards an accredited planning qualification.

You'll find it useful to get as much work experience as possible. This will give you a better understanding of the career, and the contacts you make may help you to find paid work.

You can search for companies listed by the Royal Town Planning Institute or contact your local council to ask about opportunities.

You could join the Royal Town Planning Institute to work towards chartered status, find training opportunities and make industry contacts.

£18,000 to £80,000

Starter salary: £18,000

Experienced salary: £34,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

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.

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.

You can find out more about town planning as a career from the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

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