Town Planner Apprenticeship

Town Planner Apprenticeship

Apprentice town planners design buildings, parks, and streets to be visually pleasing and functional.

As a town planner or planner, you will be involved in the management and development of cities, towns, villages, and the countryside. To allow for healthy expansion, you must balance the conflicting requirements of housing, industrial development, agriculture, recreation, transportation, and the environment.

Regeneration within towns and cities is an important component of planning, and your job will need you to evaluate the usually contradictory viewpoints of local businesses and communities.

If you operate in a rural area, you must ensure that growth is sustainable and that the correct development balance is achieved to safeguard the countryside. You will also make an effort to make a positive contribution to the battle against climate change.


Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:

  • develop local or national planning policies for government
  • prepare and make decisions about planning applications, plans and proposals
  • advise the public and business professionals on planning rules, regulations and policy
  • research and assess technical information, data and surveys
  • visit sites and attend planning inquiries
  • write reports for politicians, developers and the public.


  • Starting salaries for apprentice town planners are typically in the range of £18,000 to £25,000.
  • With experience, in roles such as principal planner and team leader, salaries can reach £30,000 to £45,000.
  • Chief planning officers, heads of departments and directors can earn salaries of more than £55,000. In some instances, they can reach up to £100,000.

Working hours

Working hours vary based on the sector and employment level, but you can usually expect to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, 38 to 40 hours per week. More senior positions need a higher degree of devotion. There may be substantial contact with the public, politicians, and pressure groups, including meetings at night or on weekends.

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Your working environment may be you’ll travel often.


Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice town planner include:

  • Level 7 Chartered Town PlannerEntry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification takes 60 months to complete.


On a town planner apprenticeship, you’ll learn:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of geography
  • the ability to work well with others
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • business management skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.


Many town planners work in the public sector for a variety of employers including:

You might also work in the private sector for a consulting firm or, if you have sufficient experience, open up shop as an independent consultant. In this context, the RTPI offers information and help. For example, a consultant may specialise in a specific area of planning or cover a wide variety of themes and work with other professionals such as architects and surveyors.

Professional development

You must pass the RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence if you have completed an authentic RTPI qualification and want to become chartered (APC).

Before applying for the APC, you must have a minimum of 24 months (full-time equivalent) experience in spatial planning at a suitable professional level, with at least 12 months as a Licentiate Member of the Institute.

You must maintain a log book for at least one year as a Licentiate member (usually longer if you have yet to gain experience) and locate a suitable mentor for yourself. The logbook will illustrate your planning experience and growth, which is required when applying for the APC. RTPI Chartered Town Planner has further information.

The RTPI has an online learning platform via which you may study programmes. For more information, visit RTPI Learn.

Joining the RTPI Young Planners Network in your early career will provide you access to training, social events, and resources tailored to persons in the early phases of their professions.

Career prospects

Employers’ career paths differ; however, earning chartered status with the RTPI increases your chances of moving to senior positions. As a result, career progress may become quicker during this period.

Transitioning from assistant planner to senior planner in the public sector may take three to five years. After that, it is possible to advance to the post of the county planning officer. However, senior management roles sometimes need a lot of experience, maybe ten years or more.

If you have geographical mobility, you can shift between local governments. It is also possible to transition between the commercial and public sectors, from local government to consultancy or charity.

Updated on January 22, 2024

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