It is important to plan for professional development while you are in planning school, and for all the years that follow. This is necessary in order to progress in your career so that you can attain your ultimate goals. There are several types of resources available to you both on and off campus.
Urban Studies and Planning Program Continuing Education Courses
The Urban Studies and Planning Program offers continuing education seminars on campus through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) University Education Grant Program. These seminars are designed for practicing planners seeking to maintain their proficiency in planning. AICP considers this to be a responsibility to planners and to the clients and public they serve.
The SPA works with the Alumni Association to encourage and facilitate student-alumni relations. Many graduates of the Program are now planning professionals in the Washington area. They are happy to talk with current students about the field, and offer valuable advice about selecting your classes and searching for jobs. Often, they participate in URSP events such as lectures, happy hours, and career workshops. The annual career workshop, organized by the SPA, features a panel of professional planners who discuss their jobs and answer questions from the audience.
Our faculty members are also great connections to professional planners. They often maintain relationships with graduates, and members of our Technology Advisory Committee . Ask your mentor to introduce you to a professional who works in your area of interest, and arrange an informational meeting.
There are several ways to learn about employment opportunities. The URSP staff posts openings for internships, part-time, and full-time jobs, on Caroline Hall bulletin boards - this includes JobMart, APA's twice monthly, printed publication listing jobs currently available in the planning field. Professor Howie Baum regularly emails job announcements to those on his distribution list. It is helpful to review job descriptions even if you are not actively seeking employment, because they give you ideas about the skills desired by employers.
University of Maryland
The Career Center in 3100 Hornbake Library, South Wing maintains resources to assist you, including guides to resumes, interviewing, and job hunting. The Career Manual they publish is very useful. They have limited resources specific to the planning profession, but it may help to visit the library, browse the job binders, or see an advisor there. The Career Center, and its subsidiary Student Employment Center, may be contacted at 301-314-7225.
The Counseling Center in Shoemaker Building is a great resource if you would like to discuss your career plans, or anything at all about your life. As a student, you are eligible for 12 free sessions. Call the Counseling Center to schedule an appointment for your "intake" meeting - it may take two weeks to get in. After this initial meeting, your goals and situation will be evaluated to determine the appropriate counselor for you. There are social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists on staff. Then, a regular meeting time will be scheduled. Typically, there is a waiting period to begin your sessions, so you are advised to plan ahead.
Shriver Peaceworker Program
M.C.P. at the University of Maryland is an approved program of study for participants in the Shriver Peaceworker Program. The Shriver Program is based at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Its goal is to prepare citizen leaders who can creatively respond to the economic, social, and cultural problems confronting the United States today. Each year, on a competitive basis, the Shriver Program invites a small number of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to participate in a rigorous two-year program integrating community service, graduate study, and ethical reflection. Participants receive full or partial funding, which may include tuition remission for graduate study, a stipend, and health care; in addition, they are placed in community service positions, participate in special activities such as seminars and mentoring, and prepare an integration paper.
Applicants must apply to the M.C.P. and Shriver Program separately and be accepted by both programs. Applicants for the Shriver Program must be Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, who have successfully completed service overseas. Details are available on the Shriver Program website.
Local Planning Commissions
Boards of local planning agencies, such as Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission of Montgomery County and Prince George's County, are required to hold regularly scheduled public meetings. It may be helpful to attend one or more of these meetings, so you know what to expect when it is your job to make a presentation at one. You may also do some networking there. Visit their websites for meeting agendas.
American Planning Association/American Institute of Certified Planners
The American Planning Association (APA) and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), are organized to advance the art and science of planning and to foster the activity of planning -- physical, economic, and social -- at the local, regional, state, and national levels. The APA maintains educational development links to information on conferences, workshops, and planning commissioner training. Most APA chapters hold an annual conference, educational workshops, AICP exam preparation courses, and produce a newsletter. It is helpful to participate in your local chapter.
National Conferences and Training
Several other national organizations sponsor lectures, conferences, and educational training related to the planning profession:
International Downtown Association
International Economic Development Council
National Building Museum
National Main Street Center
National Preservation Institute
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Urban Land Institute