How to Become a Development Permit Technician


If you enjoy all that comes with clerical work, you have an interest in city planning, and you like working with people, then you should consider becoming a development permit technician. Any why not, this career has it all. It offers you a chance to flex your clerical muscles, while offering some technical challenge in your work, and the opportunity to work with a wide range of people.


Unlike many other clerical roles, working as a development permit technician allows you to get more involved in building your city, and not be so heavily focused on filing and data entry. Best of all, you’ll get to work with all sorts of different people, from developers and land-use planners, to architects and the general public.


So, if you’re interested in a career with structure, and you enjoy clerical tasks but don’t want them to completely dominate your work, then read on. We’ll fill you in on the details of this career, including an overview of what these technicians do and what you’ll need to do to become one.



Education Required to Become a Development Permit Technician

Minimum Requirements: You will typically need at minimum a high school diploma or GED Certificate in order to qualify for jobs in this field.


Additional Education: Although not typically considered mandatory, some municipalities may prefer candidates that have completed some coursework from a vocational school or college related to this field. This may include coursework in areas such as Public Works Inspection, Computer-aided Architectural Drafting, Blueprint Reading, the Uniform Building Code, and Bookkeeping and Accounting.





Job Description

Development permit technicians are responsible for performing clerical and technical work related to property development permits for the City or Municipality. They generally work under the supervision of Planning Directors or Building Supervisors.


Their role involves providing assistance to the public on the application and issuance of building division permits; ensuring that plans and drawings are ready for review, and verifying that all necessary approvals are met.



 Typical Duties of the Job

Although your duties could vary, as a development permit technician you would likely be responsible for the following:


• Explain and process building permit applications for the public, developers, architects, and contractors

• Review permit and plan submittals for accuracy and completeness

• Collect fees and provide cashiers function for a variety of city functions, process daily deposits

• Prepare and maintain building permit files and monthly reports

• Take minutes of Planning Commission meetings

• Organize daily building inspections

• Assist in the research and analysis of planning and development data and refunds

• Perform clerical work for the Planning, Building and Development departments of the City or Municipality



Experience You’ll Need for this Role

Employers generally prefer candidates that have a few years worth of experience in administrative support and customer service roles. Some employers may also prefer that you have one year of experience working in the permit processing department at some capacity, although it is not generally a requirement for employment.


Success Tip: Typically, any combination of education and experience that provide the knowledge and skills that you require for this role will qualify you for the job.



Basic Soft Skills Needed

In order to qualify for a job as a development permit technician, your resume will need to demonstrate that you have certain skills, and a certain knowledge base, including:


• Ability to read and interpret simple construction plans

• Able to prepare and maintain records and files

• Able to communicate clearly and concisely both orally and in writing

• Able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with stakeholders

• Able to use tact and diplomacy when dealing with frustrating or difficult customers

• Able to use sound judgment within established guidelines

• Proficiency with various types of computer software

• Familiarity with data entry and record keeping techniques 



Additional Job-Specific Hard Skills

Some employers may need a candidate who can jump right in without training. If that’s the case, you may also need to have these hard skills that are specific to the field:


• Able to interpret and explain applicable codes, regulations, ordinances and laws

• Knowledge of basic building construction methods, practices and materials

• Working knowledge of relevant federal, regional and local laws, codes and ordinances

• Able to use basic mathematics in the calculation of construction fees, taxes, and building valuation

• Working knowledge of general City operations

• Ability to verify that plan submittals are complete and in conformance with required submission standards





Helpful Personal Characteristics to Have

Much like every other career, becoming a development permit technician isn’t for everyone. To take enjoyment from you job (and to do quality work) you will need to have the following characteristics:


• Punctuality

• Enjoy working with the general public

• Enjoy clear rules and guidelines in your job

• Enjoy working with computers

• Enjoy compiling and organizing information

• Enjoy a 9-5 type schedule for your workday



Average Salary Level

The salary level you could earn as a development permit technician can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your level of education

• Your level of experience

• The specific responsibilities of your job

• The region in which you work

• Many other factors


Unfortunately there is no salary information available for this career from reliable sources. We can however, get a good idea of what you could earn by looking at the salary levels of workers in very closely related fields.


Development Permit Technician Salary United Kingdom: According to the National Careers Service, workers in the Administrative Assistants occupational group can earn a salary of between £12,000 and £20,000 per year.


Development Permit Technician Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Secretaries and Administrative Assistants occupational group is $35,330 per year. 



Who Employs Them?

As municipal governments issue development permits, you would likely be employed with a municipal government, or a union that represents municipal employees.



Job Opportunities

Our job board below has development permit technician postings in your area, when available:




Working Conditions

Hours: You would likely work normal daytime business hours. The demands of this role may occasionally have you staying late, or come in on weekends, in order to accomplish special tasks, attend planning meetings, or to meet deadlines. 


Setting: You would work in an indoor office setting most of the time, and have frequent contact with the general public. On occasion, you be required to travel to sites and perform inspections to assure that buildings meet up to current safety and environmental codes.


Physical Demands: As a development permit technician, your day would involve a mix of standing, walking, and sitting. Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects weighing up to twenty-five pounds may sometimes be required of you. Repetitive movements of the hands (such as typing) are also part of the job.



Career Advancement Possibilities

As you gain experience in this role, you would have the chance to move into supervisory, and department management positions. You could also move laterally, into roles of equal or greater responsibility within other city departments.


Success Tip: With additional education, you could potentially use your experience and connections in the office to become a city planner.



Similar Professional Guides in Our System

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Development Permit Technician, as they are in the same general field, or they involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities.


• Administrative Assistant

• Building Inspector

• Drafting Technician

• Real Estate Developer

• Urban Planner

• Zoning Inspector



References for this Career Guide

To find out more about what a development permit technician does, what qualifications you’ll need, how much you could earn, and other details of this career, please consult the following resources:


Residential Building and Development:Development permits for new houses.” (n.d.). City of Calgary website. Retrieved November 10, 2019.


Please Note: Much of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



Scholarships for Becoming a Development Permit Technician

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to this profession. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on the following pages:


Business Administration Scholarships

Civil Engineering Scholarships

Urban Planning Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this line of work. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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