Urban planning career entails the technical and political process that focuses on the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and Infrastructure that enters and exits urban areas, such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks, as well as their accessibility.
Over time, urban planning professionals have shifted their attention to the social and environmental bottom lines, emphasizing planning as a tool for improving people’s health and well-being while adhering to environmental requirements.
What is Urban Planning
Urban planning focuses on learning about the development of cities or towns. Urban planning students learn to be responsible for developing new building zones and finding new purposes for abandoned ones. They collect and interpret data and use it to come up with suggestions, plans, and possible solutions.
Urban planning career is usually composed of a mix of theory-based academic study and hands-on practical experience. These programs may incorporate local institutional and geographic contexts to enhance the coursework.
Urban planners can apply the urban planning career’s skills, knowledge, and competencies to many different professions.
Urban Planning Career Path
To pursue a career in urban planning, you must complete a Master’s degree or get relevant work experience. In some cases, you can also work as a part-time intern while completing your advanced degree.
The urban planning career internships will provide valuable hands-on work experience and help you develop professional contacts. While it isn’t necessary to have experience at the outset, some entry-level jobs require one to two years of work experience.
Skills Required for Urban Planning Career
An urban planner’s role entails a variety of skills. Not only do they design the environment, but they also have to analyze data relating to population demographics and the market. A recent survey of 341 professionals, instructors, and students found that the urban planning career required skills differ across countries.
The most critical skills required at the undergraduate level are
- Research methodology
- Analytical thinking
While those skills needed at the graduate level are not as important.
In addition to working with other professionals, urban planners must have strong interpersonal and communication skills. They should be adept at working with teams and modifying land use plans. They should also have excellent computer skills and strong time management skills.
In addition to these career skills, urban planners often work for governments, and their job responsibilities vary from city to city. They perform standard business hours but may have to work night and weekend meetings. As a result, they must be flexible.
Urban Planning Work Experience
While there are some specific requirements, most urban planners complete an internship while pursuing their master’s degree. Many people also work part-time while pursuing their advanced degrees, and intern positions provide them with valuable hands-on experience and the opportunity to build professional networks.
However, some urban planning entry-level jobs require at least one to two years of experience. You can find internship opportunities in various cities and towns if you’re willing to work hard.
Besides being able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people, urban planning professionals also need to be able to analyze data from various sources. They use geographic information systems, statistical methods, and other tools to make sound decisions.
Their decision-making skills are also crucial, as they must communicate with various audiences, from local citizens to government officials. And, of course, urban planners need to be able to handle projects and deadlines efficiently.
What Do Urban Planners Do
The skills required for urban planners vary significantly from one area to another. Some may focus on a specific location, while others may specialize. For example, urban planners may specialize in transportation, regional planning, and economic development.
They might also specialize in the design of infrastructure and economic development plans. They might also focus on transportation or environmental factors. If you’re a social person, you should look for a position where you’re comfortable working in a team environment.
A bachelor’s degree in urban planning is necessary for this profession. However, some entry-level jobs require as little as 1 or two years of work experience. To become a professional urban planner, you should have excellent math skills. Urban planners analyze data and use computer programs to build models and presentations.
If you have strong analytical skills, you should also take courses on trigonometry and computer applications. Alternatively, you may look into internships or part-time jobs at local government agencies.
Urban Planning Career Education Requirements
The education required for an urban planning career varies depending on the area. Most urban planners have a master’s degree in the field. Bachelor’s degree holders can also work as junior planners. Master’s degree holders usually lead planning projects independently.
However, bachelor’s degree holders with a background in other fields can also become urban planners. The median annual salary for urban planners was $74,350 in May 2019.
After completing a master’s degree, most urban planners will work at an internship. However, many work part-time during their master’s program. Internships will give students hands-on work experience and build professional networks. Entry-level jobs may require a minimum of one to two years of experience.
Some jobs require more than two years of experience. Most urban planners spend seven years in school. However, some can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree and then take part-time internships while completing their master’s.
For those interested in an urban planning career, earning a Master’s degree in Environmental GIScience or Environmental Planning may provide the background you need for success. An online bachelor’s degree in urban design or sustainability from a school like Maryville University may provide the foundation you need to pursue your professional goals.
But if you’re already working in an urban planning capacity, a master’s degree in a related field could help you advance your career faster.
In addition to a master’s degree, an education in urban planning may be required for entry-level positions. Depending on the area of study, education in urban planning can start as early as high school. Strong math skills are needed for analyzing data and forecasting.
Computer applications and trigonometry are also crucial in developing urban planning models and presentations. Additionally, getting part-time jobs at local government agencies while pursuing an urban planning career is beneficial.
Suppose you’re interested in working in urban planning firms. In that case, you might consider pursuing certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). If you are in Nigeria, you can seek accreditation through the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP).
By passing the exams, you’ll be able to practice as a certified urban planner. You can find jobs in the field by looking online, but you should also prepare a professional resume and cover letter for any potential employers. It will help you stand out from the competition. Urban planning is a competitive field.
Urban Planning Career Options
There are many career options for urban planners. These professionals can work in
- Government establishments
- Construction companies
- Real estate management companies
Alternatively, urban planners can work with
- Nonprofit organizations
- Architecture firms
- Environmental consulting firms
As a graduate of an urban planning degree, you may also find opportunities in environmental consulting and the charity sector. It’s essential to realize that the educational requirements for an urban planning career may vary based on your area of specialization.
Urban Planners Salary
An urban planner works to improve the community through analysis and design. Their job involves:
- Developing plans for future growth and community development.
- Identifying appropriate locations for Infrastructure.
- Helping local officials find solutions to problems.
In addition to identifying needs, urban planners oversee all aspects of planning and review economic research to ensure that developments benefit their communities. Some urban planners also work as consultants, advising governments and private companies on issues that affect local communities.
An urban planner can earn an average salary of $78,500 annually, with higher-end positions earning more than seventy thousand dollars yearly. Their pay is similar to that of other related careers in the United States but can be higher or lower depending on the area of specialization.
Salary for urban planners is expected to increase by 12.8% over the next five years and varies widely by experience and location.
Aside from being able to collaborate with others, city planners must be able to engage with community members and politicians. Urban planners must balance long-term and short-term goals while considering community values.
They also need to have a good grasp of geographic information systems, which organize and analyze statistical data to guide future planning. These are all skills necessary for urban planners to excel in this field. It’s a rewarding career with high growth potential.
Salaries for an urban planner are highly competitive. Wages in some cities are significantly higher than in others. The cost of living in some states is increased, making the salary in some places offset by the higher cost of living. A high degree of education is another essential factor in urban planning salaries.
In addition to education, experience, and job location, urban planners’ salaries vary from one another. A wage of seventy thousand dollars may not be enough to cover all these costs, but it’s a good start for those interested in the field.
The average annual salary for an urban planner is $79,000. The compensation varies, but the median is about $73,000. The highest paid urban planners are located in the District of Columbia and are paid an average of $113,680 per year.
According to the American Planners Association, the median salary for an urban planner is $82,600. It’s important to note that this average is the national mean; state-specific salaries will differ from those listed on the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
Urban planning careers are highly varied, mainly since different policies and objectives will guide professionals who work in large metropolitan areas than those who work in suburban or rural areas.
Individuals who choose the urban planning career path should understand the importance of incorporating sustainability into various development and revitalization efforts. For example, forging a suburban development plan that involves linking sidewalks and private streets to transit stops can help reduce vehicular trips reducing pollution.
Professionals who want to pursue an urban planning career have a range of professions to choose from, including four popular, in-demand positions:
- Urban planner
- Planning and development surveyor
- Environmental manager
- Community service administrator
Certification as an urban planner is necessary for employment in the field. Certification is earned through a master’s degree in urban planning or a related field. Bachelor’s degrees in geography or economics are also helpful in preparing for this master’s program.
You can get certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), which recognizes the qualifications of its members. Certification looks good on your resume in any state.
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