Urban and Regional Planning Careers

urban-planner-500Urban and Regional Planners help plot what our cities and counties will look like in the future. From deciding the direction of overall growth to approving plans to build a new subdivision, planning professionals ensure that growth is balanced with needs for utilities and other civic services.

The overwhelming majority of Urban and Regional Planners work with local and state governments, although some do work for larger architectural and engineering firms. In that regard, you can expect an office job. However, since the role is in the service of the community, there is a great deal of interaction required with the population at large. Many of those meetings take place outside of normal business hours, so you may find your nights and weekends full of community events.

Urban and Regional Planning Career Snapshot

Further details on a career as an urban and regional planner are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average annual salary for urban and regional planners.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Master’s degree while 8% have a Bachelor’s degree.

Urban/Regional Planning Education

The overwhelming majority of Urban and Regional Planners have a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. While the role requires that qualification, planners study a wide range of fields as undergraduates. The minority that do not have a Master’s degree work as junior planners, with a BA in planning. Familiarity with software ranging from desktop publishing and spreadsheets to map making packages will be very useful. The education received during the Master’s degree is vital in order to retain licensing requirements that are all but universal across jurisdictions.

Urban/Regional Planning Job Outlook

As you might expect, cities are not going away, so the job of an Urban and Regional Planner is safe. Over the next several years, demand for the position is expected to grow by about 6%, meaning that it is in line with the rest of the labor market in the United States.

Urban/Regional Planning Salaries

Urban and Regional Planners make around $68,000 a year on average according to BLS.gov May 2015 reports, but there is a great deal of variation depending on where you live. As the position is largely driven by local tax revenues, planners who live in more affluent areas can expect to earn higher wages. The highest 10% of Urban and Regional Planners make just over $100,000 a year, while those at the lowest 10% make just shy of $43,000.

Urban/Regional Planning Job Duties

Urban and Regional Planners are involved in every stage of a community’s life. They help to set the agenda for future growth, from mandating what areas can be zoned for different uses to helping to attract new businesses to a region. They work alongside politicians and civil engineers to plan roads and other infrastructure. Finally, they also work with the public at large to make sure that new construction adheres to proper codes.

Urban and Regional Planning Skills & Traits

Urban Planner Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Urban Planners:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Reading Comprehension
• Critical Thinking
• Decision Making
• Speaking
• Oral Expression
• Oral Comprehension
• Written Comprehension
• Written Expression
• Deductive Reasoning
• GPS receiver
• Laser printers
• Notebook/personal computers
• CAD software
• Desktop publishing software
• Developing Objectives
• Communicating with Others
• Getting Information
• Communicating with Others
• Performing with Public

Related Careers

What Do Related Careers Pay?