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Investment in free Student membership now paying off, says RTPI

08 January 2020

The future of the planning profession is looking bright says the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), with more of the Institute’s Student members continuing along the path to Chartered status than ever before.

According to the RTPI’s end-of-year figures, half of eligible Students in 2019 converted to paid-for Licentiate membership following the completion of their course. This represents a 10% increase on the previous year and follows a similar significant increase in Student-to-Licentiate conversion in 2018.

46 Membership RTPI YP 2019 - 080

Total number of members of all classes leading to Chartered membership - Student, Licentiate, Affiliate and Associate – also rose, with a year-on-year increase of 8%.

As the RTPI celebrates the 60th anniversary of its Royal Charter, Chief Executive Victoria Hills said that the new figures showed that both the RTPI and the planning profession as a whole were in good health.

She also stressed that work would continue over the coming years to grow Chartered membership through the RTPI’s new ten-year Corporate Strategy.

She said: “It’s vital that we continue to attract the brightest and best to become Chartered members and to do this we need to focus on planners at an early stage of their careers - these encouraging numbers certainly validate the Board’s decision to invest in free Student membership.

“A strong and diverse workforce of Chartered planners is essential to enable the public and private sectors to deliver on the challenges faced by the UK. The RTPI’s Corporate Strategy for 2020-2030 will enable us to continue to demonstrate the value of membership to Students and promote Chartered status to all those entering the profession.”

Overall number of members at the end of 2019 was 25,579. This is the highest figure ever reached, and is an increase of 2% year-on-year.

This total figure is made up of 3,555 Student members – free membership for those on RTPI-accredited courses, introduced in 2014, gives students the opportunity to access services provided by the RTPI at an early stage of their career.

After finishing their course, eligible Students are able to apply for Licentiate membership, the first step to becoming a full Chartered Member through the Licentiate Assessment of Professional Competence.

The RTPI also announced a 16% year-on year increase in the total number of first-time applications for Chartered status through its Assessment of Professional Competence.


The RTPI is committed to supporting and working with planners at every stage of their career. Benefits for members include careers advice and guidance, support in gaining Chartered status, discounts on events and training, and access to The Planner magazine. Join the RTPI today.