APA Offers Resources for Planning Careers

APA's Career Center has career information and insight that spans planning careers from the curious to the experienced. Make sure to visit Jobs Online to find your next planning job.

Getting in the Career Zone

Every year during the National Planning Conference APA hosts a series of career-enhancing events and 2020 was no exception. Find the entire Career Zone collection in APA Learn. Featuring topics on management strategies, building your personal brand, self-care, managing teams remotely, the value of volunteering, the future of planning, and job search insights; a day of career development skill-building.

Insights for New Planners

Learn more about the variety of career opportunities in the field of planning through first-person accounts in Planner Profile interviews. Discover how planners practice and explore practical insights into how to find similar career satisfaction.

If you are just starting on your planning career, A Guide for the Idealist: Launching and Navigating Your Planning Career is essential reading. Author Richard Willson, FAICP, a professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Cal Poly Pomona, offers helpful insights on making good choices in critical steps of a career launch: addressing decision making, dealing with doubt, and choosing among types of work and work settings. Contact him at idealist@planning.org for answers to your planning career questions.

New planners and students have many questions about the planning profession. Hear first-hand from a Planning Manager and a career management specialist on how to be strategic in your job search; Navigating an Urban Planning Career; Strategies for Success. Learn what employers are looking for and how to increase your chances of getting hired.

New Perspectives for Managers

Develop your planning management leadership skills. For those looking how to step into management; Moving Into Management; Strategies for Career Transitions is a certificate course that offers a role-playing script among the resources to help you build a path into management.

For current managers looking for support, check out The Planning Supervisor’s Playbook, a six-part series that covers the myriad of roles planners face in their communities; mediator, negotiator, problem solver, counselor, and even referee.

If you're interested in planning for the built environment, listen to APA's podcast series, People Behind the Plans, hosted by APA member and small business owner Courtney Kashima, AICP. Podcasts feature planner to planner conversations about work, life, ideas, and problem solving. Courtney brings out the best in each person she interviews.

Leadership and Legacy

A legacy is about being mindful of the opportunity and responsibility to help others. Mentoring is a way to be an advocate and leader personally and, in the community. A mentor helps by providing knowledgeable and strategic advice. Mentors help to further professional development and shape the future of planning, think of it as the basis for succession planning and modeling ethical behavior, bonus includes the chance to build personal intergenerational relationships and that can help renew purpose or approach to problem-solving.

Fill out a Mentor Match online mentor profile online and browse through the list of mentees to get started.

Already a mentor? Hear from peers who have decided that retirement is an opportunity for reinvention; Embracing Opportunities for Late-Career Planners.


APA is committed to providing comprehensive career services, to support all members in strategically planning and managing their careers. Visit the Career Center for more information and resources.

Top image: APA photo.


About the Author
Bobbie Albrecht is APA's career services manager.

October 26, 2020

By Bobbie Albrecht