Most planners will work throughout their careers in a governmental setting or as a private consultant to local government or developers. Some planners select a career in advocating, often focusing on planning concerns such as the environment, transportation, or community development. They may work for a nonprofit organization or become involved in politics. Some planners work as staff assistants to elected officials; others run for public office and serve in local, state, and national office. Many of these planners focus on policy. Other planners may focus on issues related to health and human services. Planners may work in neighborhood organizations helping to integrate services and advocate for the needs of low-income or disadvantaged community members.
Planners as Managers
Over time a planner's career may lead to a high level managerial position. Planners serve as university provosts, deans, and presidents. Others serve in high level governmental positions or as directors of organizations. Many planners have become city managers. Finally, planners may work for research institutions helping to define and influence broad public policy and the understanding of the field of planning.
Related fields include architecture, civil engineering, landscape architecture, urban design, urban affairs, urban policy, and historic preservation. Some areas within the following fields may also relate to planning: geography, sociology, urban studies, information systems (Geographic Information Systems or GIS), health care, or housing.
Mandatory Continuing Education
Mandatory continuing education in the planning profession is an issue of special concern to many planners and their employers. In August 2006, APA researched how several organizations, whether in other professions or in other countries, have addressed the issue.