How to Become an Urban Planner

Urban Planners specialize in planning for a projected population occurring in cities, suburbs or rural areas.

This job is extremely important because these professionals use their knowledge to create plans that help prevent problems in the future caused by population growth.

Urban Planners create long term and short term plans revolving the use of land for cities, suburban and rural communities.

Typical areas that these professionals plan for include the following list:

  • Traffic congestion
  • Commercial development
  • Housing development
  • Environment
  • Transportation systems
  • Land use and development
  • Historic preservation
  • Redevelopment

By using an Urban Planner’s expertise a city can prepare for future growth to prevent traffic congestion, lower pollution and limit suburban sprawl in some circumstances.

Urban Planners expand on what already exists such as roads and housing developments and create plans that will benefit the growing population.

The majority of Urban Planners work for local or state governments.

These Urban Planners are typically called City Planners

Urban Planners provide services to the public and their work is needed by state and local governments in order to provide and regulate things such as commercial development, transportation systems and pollution control.

Continue reading below to learn information on how to become an Urban Planner , a general job description and salary and wage information.

Education Requirements to Become an Urban Planner

The minimum educational requirement in order to become an Urban Planner is a Bachelor’s degree.

However, a candidate with a Master’s degree will have plenty of more opportunities available to them because employers are more likely to hire those with an advanced degree.

The majority of state, local and federal government positions require a candidate to have a minimum of a Master’s degree for entry level positions.

Some helpful programs of study at the Bachelor’s level include Environmental Design, Economics, Geography or Political Science.

A handful of educational institutions offer a Bachelor’s in Urban Planning which may qualify them for some government entry level positions.

However, candidates with an advanced degree still have the competitive edge.

Candidates will also have a competitive edge if they seek certification.

The American Institute Certified Planners (AICP) administers the certification exam and requires candidates to fulfill educational and experience requirements.

Urban Planner Job Description

These professionals make plans for a city or community based on the information they have regarding the projected population growth.

Their goal is to help government officials improve community stressors such as environmental, social and economic problems.

They do this by suggesting future locations for schools, roads, shopping centers and other infrastructure and buildings.

They may also recommend zoning parameters for land being used for private property.

Urban Planners create problem solving plans that promote the most effective use of land.

The type of land they take into consideration includes property that has residential, business and government buildings.

Before a plan can be created and put into place, Urban Planners must take inventory of the current infrastructure and community design.

They will collect data regarding how the land is being used and for what purposes.

In the report, they will include information on the location of roads and highways and how many cars can be driven on them; the location of airports, sewer and water lines and how many people they can service; and information about building such as schools, libraries and other buildings.

Some Urban Planners may also be responsible for considering protecting natural resources and animal habitats under protection.

They will consider pollution and effective ways to reduce it as well as the preservation of wetlands, forests and other geological locations.

They will plan the locations of landfills and suggest ways to make the land striking.

Urban Planner Salary and Career Path

Faster than average growth is expected for professional Urban Planners.; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of urban planners is around $63,000.

This career has an estimated growth of approximately 19% will occur through the year 2018.

This growth is expected because of the projected population growth in many parts of the country including small cities.

Urban Planners help create plans that include making adjustments and changes for growing communities.

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