The rise in population in the Turks & Caicos Islands calls on the field of Urban Development to oversee making accommodations for this growth through creating communities, expanding housing, and even rejuvenating community facilities to support sustainable growth. If you’re interested in a career that allows you to make lasting contributions for a community’s sustainable growth, read on for how you can learn more about studying Urban Development in the U.S.
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Jump to:2-Year Degree 4-Year Degree Beyond a 4-Year Degree
A 2-year degree can serve as an opening to gaining foundational experience in urban development. You can also learn about other careers related to urban development while in a 2-year program. Courses in these programs can include architechtural drawing and design, public speaking, economics, introduction to business, introduction to management, and communications. If you’re looking to start in building and construction, courses in a 2-year degree program may include building construction drawing; construction law; and learning about construction materials, construction documents, construction estimating, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards (which can lead to a career as an occupational health and safety specialist).
Entry level careers with a 2-year degree can include property management facilities specialist, architechtural drafter, a skill constructution worker, or a foreman.
Some schools have career maps to show you how you can progress from studying to working at the highest level in that career field. Here is a career map for property management and a career map for building construction.
Source: Broward College (Fort Lauderdale, FL, U.S.A.)
A bachelor’s degree will help you narrow down a specific path that you want to follow for the specific career you have decided on. In the U.S., bachelor’s degree programs will vary by the school you’ve selected, so check what programs are offered around urban development or your desired career at the school that you’ve selected to attend. Depending on the school, these programs can be called urban studies and management (with a concentration in project management). Similar majors that can also lead to a career in urban planning include geography, civil engineering, economics, architecture, political science, and environmental science.
Courses in an urban studies major can include urban and regional planning, introduction to public and community service, city planning and community development, environmental policy, public policy, financial administration, transportation and society, urban politics, mapping, urban sociology, and issues in public administration and public policy. Courses in a management major can include public speaking, communications, law and business, principles of finance, operations of supply chain management, principles of management, project management, negotiation and conflict resolution, and basic marketing. A bachelor’s degree with these majors (urban studies and management) can lead you to careers such as management consultant, business analyst, human resource specialist, urban and regional planner, construction manager, or landscape architect. If you studied civil engineering, you could become a civil engineer. If you studied architecture, you could become an architect. If you studied geography, you could become a geographer, cartographer, or surveyor.
Beyond a 4-Year Degree
Many careers in urban development can be accessed from having a bachelor’s degree. However, having a master’s degree or doctorate will allow you to have an even further concentrated and highly specialized career. Master’s degree programs can include architecture, civil engineering, urban planning and regional development, management, supply chain management, urban and community design, economics, policitcal science, and geography. These majors can lead to careers as an architect, civil engineer, economist, political scientist, and geographer. The specific courses you would take will vary by the school you attend, but you should expect the courses to be much more advanced than that of a bachelor’s degree program, and many will require you to conduct research as a major part of the program or participate in hands-on experience such as internships, independent studies, practicums, and community-based projects. Many of these programs also have a thesis or dissertation as a requirement where you will have to conduct research and possibly defend your research (which is why public speaking is very important).
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The following are technical routes you can take to achieve a career in urban development:
Jump to:Apprenticeships & Internships Vocational Training
Apprenticeships & Internships
Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training and education while you work. This can look like working or volunteering with little experience but being trained to improve your skills. Not only are you learning the necessary job skills, but also the demands, hours, ways to interact with the public, procedures, and problems that usually arise on the job. This is an all-encompassing experience. Apprenticeship and internship opportunities in urban development can be found through internet searches, networking, or through your school. These may exist at construction companies, city planning departments, and other local and national organizations.
If there is a business, organization, or person whose work interests you, ask them for the opportunity to intern or shadow them to learn more about the field and career. This is a great way to show your interest in the field and secure future opportunities to gain experience.
There are several occupations in the construction field that do not require a degree that would allow you to get a start in urban development. These include carpenters, masons (brick and cement), construction laborers, crane operators, cost estimators, riggers, plumbers, or tile setters. On the more administrative side, occupations can include building inspector, occupational health technician, transportation inspector, or even legislator. These careers do not require any degrees but will require hands-on experience to learn the trade.
Try not to decline unpaid opportunities especially if you have no experience. Eventually, you may become a paid worker. Through volunteering, you are gaining valuable hands-on experience that can be recorded on your résumé/CV, and you are building a network that you can lean on once you’ve elevated in your career. Ask different departments on campus about job shadowing, internship, or volunteering opportunities on campus or in the surrounding community.
You can review the Minnesota State CAREERwise website to explore careers similar to urban development in the Architecture and Construction and Government and Public Administration career clusters. Here are more resources to learn more about careers in urban development:
- U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Urban and Regional Planners | Similar Occupations
- U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development : Internships
- All Things Urban
- Urban Institute
- Professional Associations: Urban Planning Assocations | Urban and Regional Planning Research Guide
Check with your institution of interest to find out more about their admissions application, program requirements, and the best way to map out your future for studying urban management.
Unsure about what Urban Development is? Read our explanatory post here.