What is an Urban and Regional Planner? Education, Jobs, and Career Pathway

What is an Urban and Regional Planner? Education, Jobs, and Career Pathway

Urban and regional planners are professionals who play an important role in shaping the physical development of communities. They are responsible for creating plans and strategies for land use, transportation, housing, and economic development that meet the needs of both the current and future populations of a specific area.

Their work involves analyzing data, gathering community feedback, and working with other professionals such as architects, engineers, and government officials to create and implement plans.

Some examples of jobs that urban and regional planners might do include:

  • Developing plans for new neighborhoods or communities
  • Zoning and land use analysis
  • Researching and analyzing demographic trends
  • Reviewing building and development proposals
  • Creating and implementing economic development strategies
  • Designing transportation systems
  • Supporting disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts

Education and Training Requirements:

Most entry-level positions in urban and regional planning require at least a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, geography, or a related field. However, some positions require a master’s degree for advancement or specialization.

Urban planning programs typically include coursework in land use and transportation planning, community and economic development, and environmental planning. Many programs also offer opportunities to gain practical experience through internships or cooperative education programs.

Career Pathway:

Urban and regional planners typically start their careers in entry-level positions such as planning technician or assistant planner. With experience, they can advance to roles such as senior planner, project manager and eventually to director-level positions. Certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) can also help urban and regional planners advance in their careers.

Getting into the Field:

There are several paths to getting into the field of urban and regional planning. One option is to pursue a degree in urban planning or a related field. Networking with other professionals and attending industry events can also help individuals learn about job opportunities and make connections in the field. Finally, internships or volunteering with local planning agencies or community organizations can help individuals gain practical experience and make valuable connections in the field.

Job Level Union Status Salary Average (US National) Salary Average (Best Paid Geography) Salary Average (Least Paid Geography)
All Workers N/A $85,488.00 San Francisco, CA – $113,640 Gulfport-Biloxi, MS – $51,400
All Levels Union $82,409.60 San Francisco, CA – $103,670 Missoula, MT – $56,220
All Levels Nonunion $81,536.00 San Francisco, CA – $103,670 Gulfport-Biloxi, MS – $51,400
Full-time All Levels $82,118.40 San Francisco, CA – $103,670 Gulfport-Biloxi, MS – $51,400
Not able to be leveled N/A $86,195.20 San Francisco, CA – $113,640 Saginaw, MI – $48,410
Time-based pay All Levels $81,827.20 San Francisco, CA – $103,670 Fort Smith, AR – $53,210

Urban and regional planners are responsible for developing plans and programs for the use of land and the revitalization of urban areas. They typically require a master’s degree in urban planning or a related field. According to the data, the national average salary for urban and regional planners is $85,488 per year. However, there are variations depending on job level, union status, and geography.

In terms of union status, urban and regional planners who are unionized earn an average salary of $82,409.60 per year, while non-unionized planners earn slightly less with an average of $81,536 per year. The effects of unions on this job are not significant, as the difference in salary is relatively small.

When looking at geography, San Francisco, CA is the best-paying city for urban and regional planners, with an average salary of $113,640 per year, while Gulfport-Biloxi, MS is the least-paying with an average salary of $51,400 per year.

Overall, urban and regional planning is a stable and well-paying career field, with opportunities for growth and advancement.