Urban and Regional Planners: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Most urban and regional planners have a master’s degree from an accredited urban or regional planning program. In 2016, there were 71 programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) that offered a master’s degree in planning.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 13% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Licenses/Certifications
As of 2016, New Jersey was the only state that required urban and regional planners to be licensed. More information is available from the regulatory board of New Jersey.
Median pay: How much do Urban and Regional Planners make?
$70,020 Annual Salary
$33.66 per hour

Urban and regional planners develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

What do Urban and Regional Planners do?

Urban and regional planners typically do the following:

  • Meet with public officials, developers, and the public regarding development plans and land use
  • Administer government plans or policies affecting land use
  • Gather and analyze data from market research, censuses, and economic and environmental studies
  • Conduct field investigations to analyze factors affecting community development and decline, including land use
  • Review site plans submitted by developers
  • Assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes
  • Recommend whether proposals should be approved or denied
  • Present projects to communities, planning officials, and planning commissions
  • Stay current on zoning and building codes, environmental regulations, and other legal issues

Urban and regional planners identify community needs and develop short- and long-term solutions to improve and revitalize communities and areas. As an area grows or changes, planners help communities manage the related economic, social, and environmental issues, such as planning new parks, sheltering the homeless, and making the region more attractive to businesses.

When beginning a project, planners often work with public officials, community members, and other groups to identify community issues and goals. Through research, data analysis, and collaboration with interest groups, they formulate strategies to address issues and to meet goals. Planners may also help carry out community plans by overseeing projects, enforcing zoning regulations, and organizing the work of the groups involved.

Urban and regional planners use a variety of tools and technology in their work. They commonly use statistical software, data visualization and presentation programs, financial spreadsheets, and other database and software programs. Geographic Information System (GIS) software is used to integrate data, such as for population density, with digital maps.

Urban and regional planners may specialize in areas such as transportation planning, community development, historic preservation, or urban design, among other fields of interest.

Planners often collaborate with public officials, civil engineers, environmental engineers, architects, lawyers, and real estate developers.

Careers for Urban and Regional Planners

  • City planners
  • Code enforcement planners
  • Community activism and empowerment planners
  • Community development planners
  • Community planners
  • Economic development planners
  • Environmental and natural resources planners
  • Historic preservation planners
  • Housing planners
  • Land use planners
  • Parks and recreation planners
  • Planners, urban and regional
  • Regional planners
  • Transportation planners
  • Urban design planners
  • Urban planners

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