According to an RTPI statement today, the move "is the first step in creating an apprenticeship that will combine academic education with vocational training to equip future employees with vital skills as well as a degree".
The body said that, under the apprenticeship scheme, school leavers "will be able to earn a wage from an employer while being sponsored to complete a full bachelor’s or master’s degree without paying fees".
It said added that existing graduates or employees with no planning qualifications may also be eligible.
Currently, the vast majority of planners enter the profession after graduating from RTPI-accredited undergraduate or postgraduate planning degrees.
The RTPI said that, once the scheme has been developed and agreed by the government in full, employers and universities offering RTPI-accredited planning courses could start to train the first apprentices from spring 2018.
The body said that a "Trailblazer Group", consisting mainly of private and public sector employers, would now develop "the standard and the end-point-assessment" for the degree apprenticeship.
RTPI head of careers, education & professional development, Andrew Close said: "Many employers of planners have expressed a strong interest in alternative, workplace routes to becoming town planners. It is also timely in light of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.
"The apprenticeship will ensure that graduates gain the practical skills and academic training to succeed in the workplace. We hope talented young people will be attracted to embark on a town planning career through this pathway."
The Trailblazer Group consists of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils (co-chair); CBRE (co-chair); Brighton and Hove City Council; Edgars Ltd; ELG Planning; Indigo Planning; the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; Savills; Sedgemoor District Council; Sport England; South Cambridgeshire District Council; St Albans City & District Council; Thurrock Council; and Winchester City Council.
More information on the scheme can be found here.