APA: Evolution of the Planning Field with Ralph Willmer, FAICP
Learn more about the trends that shape the profession, skills to develop, and tips for strategic career management. APA offers resources to help you advance your career and employability advice from industry professionals.
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Evolution of the Planning Field
RALPH WILLMER, FAICP
Considering a career in planning or looking for the next step for your planning career? Ralph Willmer, FAICP, gives his perspective on where he anticipates growth areas and changes in the field of planning.
Recognized by his peers as making outstanding contributions to the profession with over 30 years of experience, Ralph is eminently qualified to predict the growth areas for planning jobs:
"It can be hard to plan a planning career because there are lots of exciting options and one has to think about the best path toward achieving their long-term career goals.
"The first difficult decision relates to education — should I get a master’s degree? While the answer is yes (graduate school will vastly increase your employment options) there are numerous choices among the more than 70 accredited master’s programs in planning.
"There are also numerous disciplines within the planning field beyond a general land use practice such as transportation, zoning, housing, economic development, environmental, sustainability, and others.
Finally, there are also a number of choices in terms of the type of employment. Do you want to work in the public or private sector, or perhaps in academia? Even within the public sector, there are jobs at the local, regional, state, and federal level. On the private side, there are planning firms and multi-disciplinary firms with planning departments, or you can be your boss.
"Fortunately, one always has the option to try different experiences until you settle into a position that feels comfortable."