The Average Salary of Urban Planners

The Average Salary of Urban Planners
  • Type: Career Type
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    Cities, counties and towns employ urban planners to help lead development or renewal of these communities.

    Urban planners are tasked with developing exhaustive plans and programs that encompass land and buildings with an eye toward bettering thesecommunities.


Where the jobs are!

Such professionals go by many different names including city planner, zoning director, community development manager and airport planner. Planners typically have at least a bachelor’s degree with most having at least a master’s degree according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Average Salaries

According to the BLS, the average salary of an urban planner was $66,020 as of May 2010. This figure is the equivalent of $31.74 per hour.

Pay, however, ranged from $40,410 for those in the 10th percentile to $96,420 for those in the 90th percentile. The BLS records 38,830 people engaged in urban planning as of 2010 and predicts much faster than average growth for the 10-year period ending in 2018. That growth rate has been forecast at 19 percent.

Job Duties

Your work as an urban planner can vary widely from position to position. About two-thirds of these positions are with local governments, therefore you will interact with the mayor, the town council and citizens as you do your job.

Your tasks can include urban renewal, zoning enforcement, wetland preservation, public housing, school development and rehabiliation, pollution control and much more. You will conduct surveys and write reports, gathering data and offering that information to government officials to help set policy. These reports will be detailed, providing a plan of action and what it will cost to complete each project. Important skills you will need to have or develop include public speaking, supervising staff and liaising with government officials.


Pursusing a master’s degree in urban planning will give you the best chance of finding work as an urban planner. You’ll be employed by government on the local, state or federal level and will most likely be required to have an advanced degree even for an entry-level position.

While in college, expect to major in urban or regional planning, taking courses in geography, urban design and environmental planning. Courses in law, earth sciences, management, economics and finance can be beneficial to your career. Concentrations in transportation planning, urban design, economic planning, land use and natural resources planning can give you an advantage when seeking employment.

Project Management Skills

Any urban or project management job is required to have a manager who has the knowledge about the project. A project may have different departments with their own unique lines. It is the job of a manager to coordinate those departments to finish any given projects. Since a project manager is required to work with different entities, proper preparation is needed.

Here are the essential reminders for a manager to be successful in a project management job:

Make sure that you will establish your responsibilities with the person who is giving you the project. Know that person’s expectations regarding the project. Doing this will definitely help you to have a clear perception of what your job is. After that, strategic plan to accomplish the project. This entails finding the right persons for the job. Also, you need to know what reports must be filed as well as their respective deadlines.

Before you begin any job, find out the purpose of your project. Go through all the aspects of the project and determine the right time to begin.

Go over the project directory and find out if there are any reports missing. You need to do this to be sure that you’ll have all the necessary cooperation that is required to accomplish the project.
Create your own timeline according to the deadline of the project. Your timeline must be a way ahead of the deadline. This way, you could review the reports and you will be assured that the reports are properly done. Also, set a particular timeline for all the members of the group. This will prevent any delays of the project.

Develop your negotiating skill and communicating skill. In any project, you will always face problems. Make sure that you negotiate well in order fix issues appropriately. Also, miscommunication among your different members may happen. As part of the project management job, the manager is responsible for solving any miscommunication and ensures that the project will be properly done.

Get yourself a person who has done project management. This person will serve as your adviser or mentor. Having a mentor will help you a finding Jobs for a Master’s Degree in Project Management, especially when you are new. Your mentor can give you advice whenever a problem will arise. Furthermore, a mentor can help you solve any conflict in your team. In any project management job, it is best to be prepared. Proper preparation will enable you to finish any given project even if problems will arrive.


Since the BLS first gathered its information, the national economy has changed. States, counties and local governments have felt the pinch and budgets have been cut. However, planning continues with some governments working toward expanding public transportation, preserving open spaces and restoring blighted communities. More than 20 percent of urban planners work in California with high concentrations of these professionals found in Washington, Vermont, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii. Being open to relocation can help further your career.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design
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Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design
  • Michael Bayer, Nancy Frank, Jason Valerius
  • Wiley
  • Edition no. 1 (02/02/2010)
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Last update on 2020-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Categories: Career Planning