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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 £45,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings; attending events or appointments

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Town planner jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You may work on projects to:

  • assess the effect of new rail links or roads
  • plan for houses and renewable energy generation sites like wind farms
  • redesign urban spaces and develop parks, woodlands and waterways in a sustainable way
  • conserve old buildings and archaeological sites

You could:

  • develop local or national planning policies for government
  • prepare and make decisions about planning applications, plans and proposals
  • advise the public and business professionals on planning rules, regulations and policy
  • research and assess technical information, data and surveys
  • visit sites and attend planning inquiries
  • write reports for politicians, developers and the public

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Your working environment may be you'll travel often.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
For more information

You could do a chartered town planner degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

Most people following this route have:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information

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

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.

Volunteering and work experience

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.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

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

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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.

Town Planners use satellite data and images to understand how traffic moves through a city and how transport plans might effect congestion. They also use satellite data as a tool to inform planning decisions for site development to assess biodiversity and suitability for development.

Examples of post-16 courses you could study at a local school or college

  • A-level Geography, Computing, Maths or Environmental Science

Find a local provider

Examples of post-18 courses you could study at a local provider in the South West

Search for a degree course

Apprenticeships you may be able to take with local employers

  • Chartered town planner degree apprenticeship

Search for apprenticeship vacancies

Employers in the South West 

  • West of England Combined Authority

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of geography
  • the ability to work well with others
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • business management skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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