Urban and regional planners essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $65,230
- 2011, number of jobs: 37,620
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 16 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: Master’s degree
Urban and regional planners; what they do:
Land is a limited resource, so urban and regional planners certainly have a large responsibility in determining how best to develop land and accommodate growth by creating communities on limited land space. Both an urban planner career and a regional planner career include revitalizing existing facilities and areas such as updating a building, trying to attract more businesses, adding a park, or adding a homeless shelter.
Urban and regional planners must research and consider a lot before determining how best to use land. Both an urban planning career and a regional planning career involve collecting, studying, and considering economic and environmental studies, censuses, and market research data, as well as conducting field investigations, analyzing factors affecting land use.
Urban and regional planners must be able to communicate and work with a variety of people such as public officials, developers, and the public while working on various projects. They also make project presentations to officials and planning commissions.
Both an urban planning career and a regional planning career involve reviewing site plans submitted by developers. They may or may not recommend the approval of a project. Part of their determining process includes whether plans adhere to current building codes and environmental regulations.
Some urban and regional planners specialize in areas or topics, such as land use and code enforcement planners, transportation planners, environmental and natural resources planners, economic development planners, and urban design planners.
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Urban and regional planners job titles:
- Town Planner
- Community Development Planner
- Planning Director
- Neighborhood Planner
- City Planner
- Community Development Director
- Regional Planner
- Building, Planning, and Zoning Director
- Community Planning and Development Representative
Urban and Regional Planners Education, Certification and License Requirements
Both a professional urban planning career and regional planner career require a Master of Urban Planning degree and at least one to two years of work experience in a related field such as architecture, public policy, or economic development. Some colleges and universities offer a Master of Urban Planning degree or a Master of City Planning degree. Many schools allow students to specialize in a specific area of interest.
Urban and regional planners programs cover subjects such as:
- Structure of cities
- International sustainable living
- Planning negotiations
- Public financing
- Land use for transportation
New Jersey is the only state currently requiring licensure of urban and regional planners, although Michigan does require planners to register in order to use the title “community planner.”
Through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), urban and regional planners may earn a professional AICP Certification. This certification is not required, but recommended to help provide an edge when job seeking.
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Urban and Regional Planners Job Outlook
Forecast: 16 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for urban and regional planners, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Employment growth for urban and regional planners is naturally driven by population growth. In metropolitan areas, planners devise new plans on where to put additional people with a limited space to work with. Suburbs are also growing exponentially. Along with housing, urban and regional planners help develop infrastructure such as roads, sewer systems, and schools.
Other factors driving the demand for urban planners and regional planners include the increased focus on sustainable and environmentally-conscious building, environmental regulations, historic preservation, permits, and storm water management.
Urban and regional planners may experience the biggest growth influx in the private engineering, architectural, and consulting services. Planners are negatively impacted when they work for local or state governments and the municipalities have too little money for the needed or desired development.
Urban and Regional Planners Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $65,230
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $81,630
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $51,740
- Local government agencies
- Architectural, engineering, and related services
- State government
- Management, scientific, and technical consulting services