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Become A Regional Planner

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Working As A Regional 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

  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Regional 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 Regional 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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Do you work as a Regional Planner?

Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$39,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$167,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
EDAW
Highest Paying City
Denver, CO
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Regional Planner make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Regional Planner in the United States is $80,973 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $167,000.

Real Regional Planner Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Urban and Regional Planners Genentech South San Francisco, CA Feb 20, 2013 $115,000
Urban and Regional Planners URS Corporation San Diego, CA Jun 02, 2014 $112,486
Urban and Regional Planners Dy Consulting Engineers, P.C. DBA Dy Consultants Garden City, NY Jan 28, 2014 $100,000
Urban and Regional Planners T.Y. Lin International Fort Lauderdale, FL Oct 16, 2012 $100,000
Urban and Regional Planners Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. Austin, TX Jul 27, 2012 $100,000
Urban and Regional Planners HNTB Corporation Miami, FL Aug 23, 2011 $88,026
Urban and Regional Planners Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 09, 2012 $86,600
Urban and Regional Planners East Central Intergovernmental Association Dubuque, IA Aug 18, 2011 $86,274
Urban and Regional Planners New York City Economic Development Corporation New York, NY Aug 11, 2011 $85,145
Urban and Regional Planners International Economic Development Council, Inc. Washington, DC Jul 20, 2012 $84,781
Regional Planner Americas Celanese Corporation Dallas, TX Oct 01, 2012 $84,242
Urban and Regional Planners Perkins + Will, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 07, 2014 $82,000
Urban and Regional Planners Greenbergfarrow Irvine, CA Nov 09, 2012 $80,891
Urban and Regional Planners CDM Smith Inc. Dallas, TX Mar 03, 2014 $78,541
Urban and Regional Planners Eastshore International Corp. Coral Gables, FL May 09, 2012 $68,494
Urban and Regional Planners 5 Design Inc. Los Angeles, CA Mar 28, 2014 $67,870
Urban and Regional Planners New Star Realty Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jun 26, 2013 $67,870
Urban and Regional Planners Landrum and Brown Inc. Cincinnati, OH Apr 02, 2014 $67,776 -
$100,000
Urban and Regional Planners Callison, LLC Dallas, TX May 02, 2014 $67,392 -
$80,000
Urban and Regional Planners Centralina Council of Governments Charlotte, NC Jan 30, 2013 $67,130
Urban and Regional Planners Centralina Council of Governments Charlotte, NC Oct 25, 2013 $67,130
Regional Planner/Analyst Celanese Corporation Irving, TX Jul 31, 2014 $67,000 -
$85,000
Urban and Regional Planners WEMI:T LLC New York, NY Jul 11, 2011 $58,282
Urban and Regional Planners Sam Schwartz Engineering PLLC New York, NY Sep 06, 2011 $58,250
Urban and Regional Planners Bassenian Lagoni Architects Newport Beach, CA Feb 07, 2011 $58,219
Urban and Regional Planner Community Design + Architecture, Inc. Oakland, CA Sep 11, 2013 $58,000 -
$63,000
Urban and Regional Planners Martinez & Cutri Corporation San Diego, CA Jun 05, 2012 $58,000
Urban and Regional Planners DKS Associates Oakland, CA Jul 31, 2012 $57,429 -
$78,000
Regional Planner Association of Bay Area Governments Oakland, CA Sep 03, 2014 $56,820 -
$69,060
Regional Planner Association of Bay Area Governments Oakland, CA Sep 16, 2014 $56,820 -
$69,060

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Top Skills for A Regional Planner

  1. Customer Service
  2. Emergency Management
  3. Technical Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Publish Availability Reports for customer service teams for product availability information and for any material shortages.
  • Coordinated activities with Emergency Management and other government partners.
  • Provided technical support and additional investigative expertise to ZE staff.
  • Recognized with a Galaxy Level 3 and 4 awards for project management that saved $5.4 million in 2004.
  • Conducted regional infrastructure assessments on regional capacity through facility design and coordinating regulatory permitting processes.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Regional Planners

  1. Nevada
  2. Oregon
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Washington
  5. Alaska
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Colorado
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Maryland
  10. California
  • (27 jobs)
  • (62 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (85 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)
  • (81 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)
  • (245 jobs)

Regional Planner Demographics

Gender

Male

57.3%

Female

32.0%

Unknown

10.7%
Ethnicity

White

63.8%

Hispanic or Latino

13.5%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

38.5%

Portuguese

15.4%

French

15.4%

German

7.7%

Japanese

7.7%

Russian

7.7%

Italian

7.7%
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Regional Planner Education

Schools

State University of New York Oneonta

6.6%

University of North Florida

6.6%

San Diego State University

6.6%

Indiana Wesleyan University

6.6%

Morgan State University

5.3%

Iowa State University

5.3%

University of North Texas

5.3%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

5.3%

University of Phoenix

5.3%

Kansas State University

5.3%

Ohio State University

5.3%

Florida State University

5.3%

University of Pennsylvania

3.9%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

3.9%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

3.9%

American University

3.9%

Southern University and A & M College

3.9%

University of Alabama

3.9%

University of Southern California

3.9%

Michigan State University

3.9%
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Majors

Business

22.3%

Urban Planning

18.7%

Public Administration

7.0%

Geography

6.3%

Management

5.7%

Marketing

4.7%

Law

4.0%

Supply Chain Management

3.7%

Communication

3.0%

Political Science

3.0%

Education

2.7%

Finance

2.7%

Homeland Security

2.7%

Economics

2.3%

Health Care Administration

2.3%

Criminal Justice

2.0%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

2.0%

Public Health

1.7%

Environmental Science

1.7%

Industrial Engineering

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.7%

Masters

37.3%

Other

12.6%

Certificate

3.6%

Associate

3.6%

Doctorate

3.4%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.2%
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