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Become A Planner

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Working As A Planner

  • Developing Objectives and Strategies
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Getting Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $66,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Planner Do

Urban and regional planners develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

Duties

Urban and regional planners typically do the following:

  • Meet with public officials, developers, and the public regarding development plans and land use
  • Administer government plans or policies affecting land use, the environment, zoning, historic buildings, public utilities, community facilities, housing, community design, and transportation
  • Gather and analyze market research data, censuses, and economic and environmental studies
  • Conduct field investigations to analyze factors affecting community development and decline, including land use
  • Review site plans submitted by developers
  • Assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes
  • Recommend whether proposals should be approved or denied
  • Present projects to communities, planning officials, and planning commissions
  • Stay current on zoning or building codes, environmental regulations, and other legal issues

Urban and regional planners identify community needs and develop short- and long-term solutions to develop and revitalize communities and areas. For example, planners examine ideas for proposed facilities, such as schools, to ensure that these facilities will meet the needs of a changing population.

As an area grows or changes, planners help communities manage the related economic, social, and environmental issues, such as planning a new park, sheltering the homeless, and making the region more attractive to businesses.

Some planners work on broad, community-wide projects; others focus on specific issues. Ultimately, planners advocate the best use of a community’s land and resources for residential, commercial, industrial, educational, and recreational purposes.

When beginning a project, planners work with public officials, community members, and other groups to identify community issues and goals. Using research and data analysis, and collaborating with interest groups, they formulate strategies to address issues and to meet goals.

Planners also may help carry out community plans by overseeing projects and organizing the work of the groups involved. Projects may range from a policy recommendation for a specific initiative to a long-term, comprehensive area plan.

Urban and regional planners use a variety of tools and technology in their work, including geographic information systems (GIS) that analyze and manipulate data. GIS is used to integrate data with digital maps. For example, planners use GIS to overlay a land map with population density indicators. They also use statistical software, visualization and presentation programs, financial spreadsheets, and other database and software programs.

The following are examples of types of urban and regional planners:

Land use and code enforcement planners are concerned with the way land is used and whether development plans comply with codes, which are the standards and laws of a jurisdiction. These planners work to carry out effective planning and zoning policies and ordinances. For example, a planner may develop a policy to encourage development in an underutilized location and to discourage development in an environmentally sensitive area.

Transportation planners develop transportation plans and programs for an area. They identify transportation needs and issues, assess the impact of transportation services or systems, and anticipate and address future transportation patterns. For example, as growth outside the city creates more jobs, the need for public transportation to get workers to those jobs increases. Transportation planners develop and model possible solutions and explain the possibilities to planning boards and the public.

Environmental and natural resources planners attempt to mitigate the harmful effects of development on the environment. They may focus on conserving resources, preventing destruction of ecosystems, or cleaning polluted areas.

Economic development planners focus on the economic activities of an area. They may work to expand or diversify commercial activity, attract businesses, create jobs, or build housing.

Urban design planners strive to make building architecture, streets, and public spaces look and function in accordance with an area’s development and design goals. They combine planning with aspects of architecture and landscape architecture. Urban design planners focus on issues such as city layout, street design, and building and landscape patterns.

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How To Become A Planner

Urban and regional planners need a master’s degree from an accredited planning program to qualify for most positions.

Education

Most urban and regional planners have a master’s degree from an accredited urban or regional planning program. In 2015, there were 72 programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board that offered a master’s degree in planning.

Many master’s programs accept students with a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds. However, many candidates who enter master’s degree programs have a bachelor’s degree in economics, geography, political science, or environmental design.

Most master’s programs include spending considerable time in seminars, workshops, and laboratory courses, in which students learn to analyze and solve planning problems. Although most master’s programs have a similar core curriculum, they often differ in the courses they offer and the issues on which they focus. For example, programs located in agricultural states may focus on rural planning, and programs located in an area with high population density may focus on urban revitalization.

Some planners have a background in a related field, such as public administration, architecture, or landscape architecture.

Aspiring planners with a bachelor’s degree can qualify for a small number of jobs as assistant or junior planners. There are currently 15 accredited bachelor’s degree programs in planning. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree typically need work experience in planning, public policy, or a related field.

Other Experience

Although not necessary for all positions, some entry-level positions require 1 to 2 years of work experience in a related field, such as architecture, public policy, or economic development. Many students gain experience through real-world planning projects or part-time internships while enrolled in a master’s planning program. Others enroll in full-time internships after completing their degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

As of 2015, New Jersey was the only state that required urban and regional planners to be licensed, although Michigan required registration to use the title “community planner.” More information can be requested from the regulatory boards of New Jersey and Michigan.

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) offers the professional AICP Certification for planners. To become certified, candidates must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass an exam. Certification must be maintained every 2 years. Although certification is not required for all planning positions, some organizations prefer to hire certified planners.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Urban and regional planners analyze information and data from a variety of sources, such as market research studies, censuses, and environmental impact studies. They use statistical techniques and technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS) in their analyses to determine the significance of the data.

Communication skills. Urban and regional planners must be able to communicate clearly and effectively because they often give presentations and meet with a wide variety of audiences, including public officials, interest groups, and community members.

Decisionmaking skills. Urban and regional planners must weigh all possible planning options and combine analysis, creativity, and realism to choose the appropriate action or plan.

Management skills. Urban and regional planners must be able to manage projects, which may include overseeing tasks, planning assignments, and making decisions.

Writing skills. Urban and regional planners need strong writing skills because they often prepare research reports, write grant proposals, and correspond with colleagues and stakeholders.

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Planner Jobs

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Planner Career Paths

Planner
Project Manager Program Manager Product Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Planning Manager Project Manager General Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Business Analyst Business Systems Senior Analyst
Business Systems Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Product Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Global Sourcing
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Material Manager Operations Manager
Distribution Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Property Manager Facilities Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Underwriter Team Manager
Group Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager Account Manager
Key Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Self-Employed Housekeeping/Laundry
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Merchandise Planner
Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Production Planner Planner/Buyer Material Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Project Engineer Quality Engineer
Quality Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Account Executive
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager Operations Manager
Sales And Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Purchasing Manager Operations Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Production Manager Processing Manager
Senior Process Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Security Officer Technician
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Production Planner Production Supervisor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Planner?

Planner Demographics

Gender

Male

53.3%

Female

44.4%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

60.6%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

8.7%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.1%

French

9.9%

Mandarin

5.9%

German

5.7%

Italian

4.2%

Chinese

4.2%

Portuguese

3.5%

Arabic

2.7%

Japanese

2.4%

Korean

2.2%

Carrier

1.7%

Hindi

1.5%

Russian

1.5%

Cantonese

1.3%

Urdu

0.7%

Swedish

0.5%

Romanian

0.5%

Vietnamese

0.5%

Thai

0.5%

Polish

0.5%
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Planner Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.7%

Florida State University

6.0%

Arizona State University

5.5%

Pennsylvania State University

5.5%

Michigan State University

5.3%

Iowa State University

4.7%

Webster University

4.6%

Auburn University

4.5%

University of Arizona

4.4%

Ohio State University

4.3%

Florida International University

4.0%

Syracuse University

3.8%

Liberty University

3.8%

University of Washington

3.7%

University of Florida

3.6%

American University

3.6%

Fashion Institute of Technology

3.4%

University of Houston

3.2%

University of North Texas

3.2%

Northeastern University

3.2%
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Majors

Business

34.6%

Urban Planning

6.9%

Management

6.4%

Marketing

6.3%

Communication

4.3%

Finance

4.3%

Accounting

3.7%

Supply Chain Management

3.7%

Psychology

3.4%

Electrical Engineering

2.8%

Computer Science

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.8%

Public Administration

2.7%

Project Management

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.2%

Education

2.2%

Political Science

2.2%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Mechanical Engineering

2.1%

Environmental Science

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.2%

Masters

24.2%

Other

18.9%

Associate

9.0%

Certificate

3.9%

Doctorate

1.7%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.3%
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Real Planner Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Brand Planner Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Dec 22, 2015 $145,000 -
$165,000
Planner VIII CDM Smith Inc. Denver, CO Dec 08, 2016 $138,902
Coastal Planner Moffatt & Nichol Long Beach, CA Jul 25, 2016 $130,000
Support Planner Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Apr 26, 2016 $120,400
WW SDM Planner Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 31, 2015 $120,000 -
$140,000
Planner Envogue International, LLC New York, NY Oct 17, 2016 $120,000
Aggregate Planner Xilinx, Inc. San Jose, CA Dec 13, 2016 $115,816
Applecare Planner Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 05, 2015 $115,000 -
$135,000
Planner Henningson, Durham & Richardson, PC New York, NY Jul 01, 2015 $114,150
Planner VI CDM Smith Inc. Houston, TX Jun 30, 2016 $109,803
Transmission Operations Planner Sunflower Electric Power Corporation Garden City, KS May 01, 2015 $103,979
Planner Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Portland, TX Feb 20, 2016 $102,048
Planner III County of Ventura CA Jul 31, 2015 $78,770
Planner III Alameda County, Ca Hayward, CA Dec 09, 2016 $78,741 -
$94,829
Planner IV CDM Smith Inc. Maitland, FL Jan 05, 2016 $78,416
Planner IV CDM Smith Inc. New Haven, CT Jan 01, 2015 $77,834
FAB Planner Im Flash Technologies, LLC Lehi, UT Sep 06, 2015 $77,000
Wireline (WL) North America (NAM) Segment Planner Schlumberger Technology Corporation Houston, TX Aug 09, 2015 $76,731 -
$85,500
Planner Parker Hannifin Corporation North Haven, CT Sep 17, 2015 $63,700 -
$73,700
Planner Level 3 Communications, LLC Broomfield, CO Aug 31, 2016 $63,036
Planner Hatch Mott MacDonald Holdings, Inc. (HMM) Pleasanton, CA Aug 18, 2016 $63,003
Junior Medical Planner KMD Architects San Francisco, CA Jan 09, 2016 $63,000
Planner Parker Hannifin Corporation North Haven, CT May 08, 2016 $63,000 -
$73,000
Medical Planner WHR Architects, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 28, 2015 $62,500
Planner Its Regional, LLC Metairie, LA Sep 28, 2015 $62,500

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Planner

Average Yearly Salary
$66,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$47,000
Min 10%
$66,000
Median 50%
$66,000
Median 50%
$66,000
Median 50%
$66,000
Median 50%
$66,000
Median 50%
$66,000
Median 50%
$66,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Anchorage, AK
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Planner make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Planner in the United States is $66,321 per year or $32 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $47,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $93,000.

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Top Skills for A Planner

  1. Customer Service
  2. Procedures
  3. Purchase Orders
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Demonstrated excellent customer service skills, including anticipating and responding to customer needs.
  • Performed responsibilities of assisting senior nuclear mechanic in testing nuclear power plants and in preparing operational procedures.
  • Place purchase orders for large quantities of promotional materials while managing item storage and professional distribution.
  • Created seasonal financial plans to guarantee optimal inventory investment, increase merchandise flow, and reduce markdowns ultimately maximize profitability.
  • Assist customers in planning and booking vacation packages/travel to any destination worldwide.

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Top 10 Best States for Planners

  1. Wyoming
  2. New Mexico
  3. Alaska
  4. Montana
  5. Rhode Island
  6. New Hampshire
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Connecticut
  9. Maine
  10. Colorado
  • (23 jobs)
  • (77 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (72 jobs)
  • (74 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (234 jobs)

Top Planner Employers

Jobs From Top Planner Employers

Planner Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Core Network Planner by Fran W (Full Version)

Career Advice on becoming a Financial Planner by Norman D (Highlights)

Career Advice on becoming a Financial Planner by Norman D (Full Version)

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