A planning technician is employed by local, state, and regional governments to assist in the creation and administration of building and land regulations and construction ordinances. It is an entry level job, and also functions as a clerical support staff position for a city or regional planning office. Planning technicians are in charge of distributing permits and interpreting zoning regulations to the general public.
The collection of fees and dues associated with zoning and business permits is overseen by a planning technician. Organized and detailed records of distributed permits is maintained by a technician, in addition to the supervision of a city or region's customer service office for planning and development. A planning technician researches facts and presents the collection of relevant data to other members of a city planning office or committee. Technicians may need to read and interpret building schematics and blueprints to issue zoning and permit regulations and charge appropriate fees. A planning technician may also serve as a liaison to the public on behalf of a planning office, such as connecting with businesses and individuals at civic events such as council meetings.
Planning technicians use communication and customer service skills to work with businesses and the public. Research and writing ability is needed to draft reports and present data. Teamwork is an important skill for planning technicians to have, as they frequently interact and work directly with other planning office staff. Organization methods and attention to detail are necessary, as technicians are in charge of document services and record keeping.
Education and previous job experience requirements to become a planning technician will vary based on regional standards. Generally, the completion of at least an associates degree is necessary, and an undergraduate degree is often preferred. Many planning technicians have previous administrative and clerical work experience. Some regions allow the substitution of related education, such as a degree in urban development, to take the place of required job experience when hiring a planning technician. Familiarity with office equipment and general computer use is necessary for the work done by planning technicians.
The work week of a planning technician is a standard 40 hour week and is mainly performed inside an office environment. It may be necessary for a technician to work off-site with businesses and individuals facilitating zoning regulation and construction permits, as well as to attend civic functions to interact with the public. The job includes filing, answering phones, and archiving permit and fee records filed by citizens and businesses.