How To Become A Town Planner

Town Planner

The Job

Town planners help create our towns and cities, using their skills and knowledge to build homes, support jobs and protect our environment. Planners weigh up the economic, social and environmental aspects of a proposed development and look at aspects like regenerating run down areas, creating affordable housing and tackling the effects of climate change.

The role is extremely varied, and could include assessing the impact of a proposed transport scheme, developing new parks and playgrounds, conserving an old building or organising meetings to discuss public concerns about new developments.

Town planners must understand planning policies and procedures, be excellent communicators and have an interest in the environment and local communities. It will also help to have good writing skills and be able to use sophisticated CAD software and related computer programmes.

Annual Salary

Town Planner Salary

Minimum Education Level

Level: Level -

Recommended Qualifications

To obtain work as a town planner it is best to become a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The most common route to become a chartered town planner is to study for an undergraduate course accredited by the RTPI. However, you could also choose a related degree, such as economics, engineering, environmental studies, geography or law, and take an RTPI-accredited postgraduate degree at a later stage.

A further alternative is to take a vocational course, such as an HND or HNC in planning, while working in a support role within a planning department. This enables you to combine practical on-the-job experience with distance or part-time learning, enabling you to ‘earn while you learn’.

Once you have achieved a qualification accredited by the RTPI you will need a minimum of one year’s experience before you can apply for chartered town planner status.

Average Working Hours Per Week = 35-40 hours a week


Common Working Pattern

Common Working Pattern

Time Taken To Qualify

3-4 years

What Next/Career Development

With two or three years’ experience you could become a senior town planner, working for local authorities or the government. You could also find work in the private sector, working for large companies or house building firms. Other options include roles within environmental management, property development or on urban regeneration projects.

Facts And Figures

Half of the world’s 7 billion people now live in cities.*
About one third of the urban population in developing countries live in slums.*
90% of England is not built on.**
(Source: * UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs. ** Environment Agency.)