Brief description of the position:
Urban and regional planners develop plans and programs to create, grow, or revitalize a community or area. They do this by identifying a community’s needs to help it manage changing economic, social, and environmental issues. For example, urban and regional planners can help a community plan a new park, try to draw new businesses to the region, or examine plans for new public facilities to ensure they will meet the community’s needs. Planners may work on broader plans or more specific issues, but all planners focus on the best use of a community’s land and resources. Urban and regional planners work with a variety of groups, including public officials and community members, to identify a community’s needs and goals. They then use research and data analysis to create strategies that meet these goals. Some of the tools and technology that planners use in their work include geographic information systems (GIS), statistical software, financial spreadsheets, presentation programs, and database software.
Many planners focus on a specific area, and one example of a planning specialization is transportation planning. Transportation planners identify a community’s transportation needs and develop plans and models to address those needs. They also assess the impact of changes to the transportation system and try to develop and model solutions to possible transportation patterns in the future.
Urban and regional planners earned a median annual wage of $63,040.
Secondary and Postsecondary Education
Students who wish to become urban and regional planners may come from a variety of backgrounds when they enter college. People with a range of bachelor’s degrees can enter a planning master’s degree program and become certified as planners. Master’s programs focus on workshops, seminars, and laboratory courses that teach students how to analyze and solve planning programs. Some planners may have a background in public administration, architecture, or landscape architecture.