Careers Advice: Becoming a chartered town planner

Written by: Alice Davidson
Published on: 2 Jul 2018


Having worked in planning roles across both the public and private sectors, I have come to fully appreciate the benefits of becoming a chartered town planner.

These are:

  • You will be able to be promoted to more senior levels;

  • Your earning potential will increase;

  • You will earn respect from colleagues, clients and Council Members;

  • You will be able to appear as an expert witness at a public inquiry; and

  • You will have the support of the RTPI and the link to networking and career development opportunities.

There are various routes to RTPI membership, but the majority of planners will need to pass the assessment of professional competence (APC) submission. Here are some tips for navigating the APC process. 

Make a Commitment

Seek support from your employer at an early stage and attend the RTPI APC events to meet other planners working through the process. You need to give yourself the best possible chance to pass the first time.

Understand what is required

Make sure you understand what is required from the APC submission at the early stages of the process.

You will need a well-rounded experience of planning in order to meet all the RTPI APC competencies. So….ask for more responsibility, sign up to that meeting, offer to assist a colleague on a complex project.

Think outside the box

The most challenging situations lead to strong case studies that can help you to achieve a range of competencies.

Learn from every work situation and consider what you could do differently next time. An essential part of your APC submission is reflection; so be aware of this as you work. Getting into the practice of self-review will be helpful throughout your career, as there are always new things to learn and ways to improve your skills.

All the elements of your submission need to link up; so elements that you have identified as needing further work on should be reflected by objectives and actions in your personal development plan.

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen people make is not leaving enough time to finalise your submission and to proof-read it.

It may seem like a lot of hard work for those extra letters at the end of your name. However, becoming a Chartered Planner opens many doors for your career and is well worth the hard work – you get out what you put into your career!

Alice Davidson is senior planner at consultancy Boyer Planning