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Urban And Regional Planning Careers

Career Description

Urban and Regional Planners develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of local jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

Common Work Tasks

  • Develop long- and short-term plans for the use of land and the growth and revitalization of urban, suburban, and rural communities and the region in which they are located
  • Help local officials alleviate social, economic,  and environmental problems by recommending locations for roads, schools, and other infrastructure and suggesting zoning regulations for private property
  • Formulate plans relating to the construction of new school buildings, public housing, or other kinds of infrastructure
  • Help to make decisions about developing resources and protecting ecologically sensitive regions
  • Provide data on the types of industries in the community, the characteristics of the population, and employment and economic trends
  • Deal with bills related to providing money for schools, roads, and public services; try to pass bills to attract businesses and industries to the State
  • Study and report on the current use of land for residential, business, and community purposes
  • Prepare reports showing how programs can be carried out and what they will cost

Other Job Titles

Urban and regional Planners are also known by other titles,  including:

  • City Planners
  • Regional Planners
  • Community Planners
  • Environmental Engineers

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Most entry-level jobs in Federal, State, and local governments require a master’s degree from an accredited program in urban or regional planning or a related field, such as urban design or geography. Students are admitted to master’s degree programs in planning with a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds; a bachelor’s degree in economics, geography, political science, or environmental design is especially good preparation. A few schools offer a bachelor’s degree in urban planning,  and graduates from these programs qualify for some entry-level positions, but their advancement opportunities are often limited unless they acquire an advanced degree.

Planners must be able to think in terms of spatial relationships and visualize the effects of their plans and designs. They should be flexible and be able to reconcile different viewpoints and make constructive policy recommendations.  The ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, is necessary for anyone interested in this field.


The median annual salary for an Urban and Regional planner is $58,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $88,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $37,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of urban and regional planners are:

  • Local Government- $58,400
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services - $66,980
  • State Government - $58,350
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services - $59,800
  • Federal Executive Branch - $83,030

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  15%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 4,900
  • Employment 2006 : 34,000
  • Employment 2016:  39,000

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