Urban Planner Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|20 Years +||$21.71||$59.35||$45,150.00||$123,440.00|
An urban planner is a professional whose tasks are mainly involved in designing and implementing plans for effective and fully optimized land use in an urban setting. Urban planners mostly deal with where to put roads, bridges, ports, and parks, mapping out agricultural, residential, and commercial areas, and infrastructure designations.
That said, an urban planner must create and employ land planning schemes that will facilitate economic growth and development, encourage social traffic, and promote environmental sustainability. This means the schemes designed by an urban planner must address critical matters such as traffic congestion, air pollution, crime prevention, and zoning standards.
Typically, an urban planner is hired to be a part of community development organizations, private planning corporations, and other companies that are involved in large-scale communal and commercial projects such as construction of buildings, roads, parks, and other residential and commercial infrastructures. Once a plan has been implemented, the urban planner who created it is also tasked to enforce the policies established in it.
Since the position requires constant communication with government officials, urban planners usually work with government officials in charge with zoning and urban policies. Their daily tasks include:
Because of the wide scope of their responsibilities, urban planners often consult with other specialists and professionals such as geodetic engineers, geotechnical engineers, civil engineers, architects, environmental scientists, soil scientists, economists, and business analysts among others.
Ultimately, the goal of an urban planner is to create a land usage scheme that strives to make buildings, facilities, man-made infrastructures, and open spaces function in a way that will bolster communal and economic development, bring in productive social activities, and maintain environmental growth.
In the United States, there are now 38,320 urban planners working as of May 2011. The median pay rate for an urban planner is $64,100 a year or approximately $30.82 an hour. Planners belonging to the top 10% bracket are making an salary of $98,060 a year or more, while those who are in the bottom 10% are earning an average of under $41,040 per annum.
Local governments have provided urban planners with the highest number of job opportunities. There are currently an estimated 25,160 urban planners employed by local government units in the country and they are paid an average urban planner salary of $64,270 a year. About 5,260 planners are connected with architectural and construction firms and earning $75,850 per annum, which is more generous than the national average.
Companies that pay the biggest salaries for urban planners are those involved in managing existing enterprises. Urban planners working for such employer type are reported to make $91,690 a year on average. Urban planners employed by federal agencies have the second biggest salary figures at $89,500 per annum. However, there is not much opportunity available in either industry, as shown by the numbers of planners working in both sectors.
A master's degree in urban planning is usually required to become a professional urban planner. That said, many urban planners come from varying undergraduate backgrounds. Most urban planning professionals have undergraduate degrees in political science, economics, geography, or environmental design. Those who do not have a master's degree but have obtained a bachelor's degree can still enter the urban planning industry as they can qualify for small positions like junior planners or assistant planners.
As of early 2012, there are now 73 colleges and universities all over the United States that offer master's degree in planning.
Aside from urban planning, subjects such as rural planning and urban revitalization are offered in the same curriculum, depending on the location where the programs are taught.
Successful urban planners are notably known to have solid background in related fields such as architecture, public administration, and landscaping architecture.
There are no existing licensure requirements for urban planners apart from the State of New Jersey. Certification is offered by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Although not a strict requirement, a certification from the said organization can impress potential employers and increase a candidate's probability of getting hired.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 16% increase of urban planners within the 2010-2020 decade. The said government agency describes this probable development as fast as the average for all occupations.
The growth in the urban planning industry is brought by influx of people coming to urban areas, causing for the need to create and implement urban communal and commercial projects. Urban planners will address the expected population growth within cities and analyze and design land usage schemes such as housing plans, road widening projects, creation of sewer systems, and construction of schools and parks among others.
The expected increase in urban populations will also call for plans to deal with potential environmental issues. Urban planners will be working with environmental scientists in designing land usage systems that maintain environmental sustainability and address critical matters such as air and water pollution.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that architectural and construction firms will still provide the most number of opportunities for urban planners. Employment in government positions will decline as many projects will be cancelled because of low funds, especially at the municipal level.
Urban planners begin their careers working architecture and engineering firms. Those with bachelor degrees in political science, public administration, and economics start as government employees.
Urban planning specialists who have considerable amount of experience and knowledge are usually promoted to higher positions in a firm. Others find success in academics as professors of planning at post-college level, or opt for advance education and gain specialization in urban planning such as urban renewal, transportation planning, environmental planning, and urban economics.
Listed below are occupations closely related to the urban planner profession:
The projected growth of urban populations in major cities in the United States will cement the need for more urban planners in the future.
Being a profession that works with other occupations, an urban planner needs to be creative as well as analytical in his approach. Urban planners also need to be good with their communication skills, especially in pitching their presentations and proposals to government officials, planning commissions, and the public. For this, they have the opportunity to earn a lucrative income while affecting their community in a tangible and positive way.