Become an Urban Planner in Canada

Urban planners in Canada focus on the management of land use. Job duties are numerous and include, but are not limited to, recommending proposals, policies and guidelines, formulating land use plans, processing permit applications, and creating long-range plans to protect the environment while it is being developed. Urban planners in Canada may work in the private sector, in municipal offices, for the government or do independent consulting work. Extensive training in addition to a college degree is a requirement for successfully entering this field of work. Here are some helpful tips on how to become an urban planner in Canada.


  1. Recognize that urban planners must have strong analytical skills and organizational abilities. You must be creative and have initiative in targeting issues that may affect society relative to land use and formulating plans to resolve them. You need a firm understanding of demographics, economics, as well as government regulations and legislation.
    • Urban planners in Canada must have developed skills in using statistical methods and conducting a market analysis. Additional aptitudes include design skills and knowledge of computer applications like AutoCAD, Illustrator, Photoshop and SketchUp, in addition to strong writing and research skills for preparing reports and making presentations.
  2. Realize that you must have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in urban and regional planning to enter this field of work. A more extensive education at the level of a Master's Degree may be required for some positions as an urban planner.
  3. Understand that licensing and accreditation is a required process for becoming an urban planner in Canada. The Canadian Institute of Planners provides professional accreditation signified by the designation of Member, Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP).
    • When planning your education you should take into consideration that the university that you will be attending offers a degree program that is recognized and accredited. This will be important following graduation during the process of obtaining your license and earning professional accreditation within the industry.
  4. Decide if you want to pursue a specialization during your educational training. Examples include public administration and environmental management. Possible job titles include city planner, recreation and park planner, regional planner, industrial planner, and urban designer.
  5. Consider an internship if you are currently a college student pursuing a degree in urban and regional planning. You would work alongside an experienced urban planner, learn about the field and gain valuable experience.
    • Meet with your college's academic advisor to discuss the possibility of an internship. It is a common practice for a college to arrange internships for students during their studies while in school.
  6. Volunteer at a local urban planning office during your college summer semester break. Even if your duties are entry level office tasks you will have the opportunity to learn more about the field of urban planning.
  7. Attend job fairs, seminars, conferences and workshops for urban planners. You will have the opportunity to meet with professionals already working within the field. Job fairs will provide you with access to potential employers that are seeking to fill positions.
  8. Browse the many online job boards, post your resume and make yourself more visible to companies that are actively recruiting. Preparation and persistence are essential to becoming an urban planner in Canada.

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