Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) represents, supports, and trains planning professionals responsible for guiding the way that land is used. Founded in 1914, the RTPI has more than 20,000 members in the UK and Europe.

The RTPI develops and maintains professional standards across the different roles in the sector: planning policy, transport planning, urban design, environmental planning, development management, regeneration, and heritage and conservation.

What does the RTPI offer students?

The RTPI offers free membership to students taking an RTPI accredited course. Student membership benefits include careers advice, discounted subscriptions, opportunities to network and volunteer for the Planning Aid programme.

RTPI course accreditation

The RTPI accredits undergraduate and postgraduate planning-related courses from over 30 universities across the country (and further afield) meeting the required standards of the institute. Graduates of courses accredited by the RTPI have reached the required first step on the road towards chartership.

If you've graduated on an accredited course that is no longer open to new applicants or stopped running, that accreditation doesn't expire. The course will continue to be recognised towards chartered membership.

The routes to becoming a chartered town planner

There are several different ways to become a chartered town planner. The best route for you will depend on your planning experience and education:

  • APC route – graduates with an accredited RTPI degree will take the Assessment of Professional Competence route.
  • APC-A method – associate members can become chartered members through the Assessment of Professional Competence Associate pathway.
  • Special entry – the route for planners with at least ten years’ experience at a senior level without an accredited degree.
  • Reciprocal pathway – for chartered or full members of the Canadian Institute of Planners, the New Zealand Planning Institute or the Planning Institute of Australia.
  • EU pathway – for qualified planners from EU member states.

Assessment of Professional Competence

The APC is the usual way for graduates with an RTPI accredited degree to become chartered town planners. It's a work-based programme designed to build on the skills, knowledge and understanding you’ve amassed during your planning training and education, and tests your ability to apply your learning.

To be eligible to apply for the APC, you must be a RTPI licentiate member for at least 12 months (24 months if you’ve no previous experience) before applying for the assessment of professional competence (APC).

To qualify for licentiate membership, you'll need an RTPI accredited qualification (either an accredited combined degree or an accredited specialist degree AND accredited spatial degree at undergraduate or postgraduate level). You must be a licentiate member before applying for the APC.

The five core elements of the Licentiate Route to the APC are:

  1. Earning professional experience: you need to clock up 440 days' worth of relevant spatial planning experience (that works out at about two years full-time). At least half of that needs to be after you've graduated from an RTPI accredited course.
  2. Keeping a log book: a record of your learning, skills and development.
  3. Your professional development plan: a learning plan regularly updated throughout your development in conjunction with your mentor.
  4. Mentoring: a mentor can offer you support and guidance through the process and help you with setting objectives.
  5. Your final written submission: a reflection of your skills and experience sent for assessment.

NB These requirements will change for submissions made from 5 November 2015.

Levels of RTPI membership

There are several different levels of RTPI membership for professionals with varying levels of experience working across the different areas of planning:

  • Affiliate membership – the entry level of membership for those with an interest in planning (no experience or planning qualifications are necessary).
  • Technical membership – for those involved in spatial planning who aren’t eligible for chartered membership.
  • Associate membership – demonstrates a recognised level of competence, experience, knowledge and understanding in spatial planning, with a special pathway to chartered membership.
  • Licentiate membership – the link between student membership and chartered membership. Mentors support licentiates while they gain planning experience and work towards the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
  • Chartered membership – chartered status is an accredited mark of professionalism, ethics, skill and planning experience. A career milestone for planners.
  • Fellowship – an elected level of membership for chartered members, recognising those who have made a strong personal contribution to planning.
  • Legal associate membership – open to solicitors, barristers or advocates working in the sector with at least three years’ planning law experience.

Practising members complete 50 hours of continuing professional development every two years as part of the RPTI’s lifelong learning ethos (licentiates are currently exempt).

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