Town Planner/Planning Technician

What is a Town Planner/Planning Technician?

A Town Planner and Planning Technician are professionals who play vital roles in shaping the way our cities and communities are developed and managed.

What Does a Town Planner/Planning Technician Do?

Town Planners and Planning Technicians play crucial roles in shaping the urban and rural environments we live in. Here’s an overview of their responsibilities:

Town Planner

  • Town Planners manage and develop urban or rural areas to meet the needs of the local population.
  • They consider a wide range of factors, including commercial, social, environmental, and heritage requirements when deciding how to use land effectively.
  • Their work involves planning land use, infrastructure, and transportation to create sustainable and livable communities.

Planning Technician

  • Planning Technicians provide essential support to Town Planners.
  • They conduct surveys, create maps, record data, analyze information, and prepare reports related to planning and land use.
  • They offer advice on planning permissions and assist in the smooth execution of planning projects.

How to Become a Town Planner/Planning Technician

Here’s a breakdown of the steps to become a Town Planner or Planning Technician:

Town Planner

  • To become a Town Planner, you need a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) accredited qualification, typically a degree or postgraduate qualification.
  • For entry into a degree program, you should have at least 2 A-levels or 3 H grades. For postgraduate courses, a related undergraduate degree (e.g., geography, architecture, or urban studies) is required.
  • Accredited qualifications should cover both spatial planning and a specialized area of planning.
  • Achieving chartered status (MRTPI) with the RTPI can be done through various routes, including Licentiate APC (L-APC), Associate APC (A-APC), or Experienced Practitioner APC (EP-APC) routes.
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is essential for career advancement. Town Planners are expected to undertake relevant courses and maintain an annual professional development plan.

Planning Technician

  • While there are no strict qualifications for Planning Technicians, many employers look for at least 4 GCSE/National 5 passes, including English and Maths.
  • Additional qualifications such as A-levels/H grades, Foundation degrees, or relevant certificates like the Scottish Group Award (SGA) in Construction can be beneficial.
  • Relevant work experience, especially in a planning office, can improve your job prospects.
  • Planning Technicians typically receive on-the-job training while studying part-time or through distance learning for an NVQ/SVQ in Town Planning Support (Level 3-4).

Town Planner/Planning Technician Salary

Let’s discuss the financial aspects of being a Town Planner or Planning Technician:

  • Newly graduated Town Planners can earn between £15,000 and £28,000 per year, with potential for higher salaries if they become registered members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
  • With experience, salaries for Town Planners can range from £29,000 to £45,000 per year.
  • Those who advance to positions like chief planning officers, heads of departments, or company directors can earn between £55,000 and £100,000 annually.
  • Planning Technicians can start with salaries around £16,000 per year and may earn up to £30,000 per year with experience and supervisory roles.

Career Prospects and Progression

Curious about your future as a Town Planner or Planning Technician? Here are some insights:

  • There is a growing demand for qualified planners in the UK and abroad, making this field promising.
  • Most employers in this field include local authorities, planning consultancies, central government, construction companies, and environmental organizations.
  • With experience and chartered status, you can advance to senior roles, specialize in areas like urban design or conservation, or transition to related careers such as recreation management, market research, or property development.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Considering a career as a Town Planner or Planning Technician? Here are some pros and cons:


  • You get the satisfaction of addressing public issues and improving the living and working environments of communities.
  • Opportunities for self-employment and work overseas can be appealing.


  • You may need to compromise on planning initiatives due to various factors.
  • Dealing with upset or frustrated members of the public can be challenging.

Related Opportunities

If you have an interest in planning and construction but want to explore related career options, consider these opportunities:

  • Land/Geomatic Surveyor: Land/Geomatic Surveyors focus on mapping and measuring land to support planning and development projects.
  • Planning and Development Surveyor: These professionals specialize in overseeing the planning and development aspects of construction projects.
  • Quantity Surveyor: Quantity Surveyors manage project finances, costs, and contracts within the construction industry.

Further Information

For additional resources and information about careers in town planning and related fields, you can visit the following websites:

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