The explosion of online education in the past decade is rapidly changing the face of education. In 2006, 3.5 million students were listed as enrolled in an “online learning institution of higher education.” In 2009, it was asserted that 44% of USA post-secondary students were taking either some or all of their courses online. This figure was proposed to almost double by 2014.
Planning pedagogy has shared proliferation in this generation’s educational e-boom. While formally one is eligible for an entry-level planning job with a relevant bachelor’s degree, employment prospects are dismal without some form of further, advanced education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in this field to grow 16% from 2010 to 2020, and the disparity between master’s degrees and lack thereof may spell the difference in advantages seen by the job influx.
Forming a Top 5 list proved to be a somewhat delicate task, as the objectivity of each program’s proprietary is heavily offset by the subjectivity of planning ambition. I implore you to peruse each website with an imperative diligence and never praise rank over personal relevance.
Top 5 Online Education Programs for Urban Planning:
5. Nova Southeastern University - Focus: Urban Studies
4. University of Nebraska- Lincoln - Focus: Community Development
3. Kansas State University - Focus: Community Development
2. Leeds Metropolitan University - Focus: Town and Country Planning
In addition to master’s degrees, a planner may seek the certification of Certified Planner (CP), as distributed by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) of the American Planning Association (APA). This designation affirms a planner’s adherence to the intellectual current of the day, and may enhance employment opportunities.
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