Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

James L. Moseley


Continuing education and training is pivotal in today's fast-paced technology driven society. A profession is defined by the theories and techniques that competent practitioners utilize in their everyday work. Therefore, determining the competencies that practitioners must possess for any given profession is a prerequisite for a respected profession. Most professions are bounded by competencies that are dictated by professional organizations and education programs, yet the real test is how practitioners view these competencies as they relate to their job. For a profession to reach the ultimate goal of improving society the first step is to align professional organization, education, and practice.

This research is a needs assessment that investigates education and training needs of planning professionals and determines the alignment between professional organizations, planning education, and planning practice. Thus the focus of this study is to conduct a needs assessment to investigate the specific knowledge, skills and values under each related outcome criteria defined by the Planning Accreditation Board as it relates to the training needs of planning practitioners, as well as specific competencies defined in the review of related literature.

Using a descriptive research method three types of questions were answered: (1) How professional planners allocate their time on various professional competencies on a typical work day? (2) What professional competencies are important in their job? and (3) What professional competencies do they feel they possess for their job? The web based survey drew 270 planning practitioners from 26 states to participate in the survey. The results of this study indicate that planning professionals valued competencies defined by PAB more than the amount of time they spend on each of the competencies. In addition, the needs assessment revealed 8 out of 18 competences that had the greatest gap between the amount of time practitioners stated they spend on the competences compared to how important they felt the competencies were to their job. Finally, planning practitioners indicated that they were the most competent in verbal communication skills and problem solving skills, while, stating they were least competent in linear regression, forecasting / modeling skills, and communication using social media.