What is an urban planner

What is an urban planner?

If you are thinking of pursuing a career as an urban planner, you may be wondering what it involves. If you are a recent graduate, you may want to look into civil engineering courses offered by the United States Army Corps of Engineers and state departments of transportation. More experienced engineers may work for private firms or general contractors. An undergraduate degree in civil, structural, or urban planning is also beneficial. Although undergraduate degrees in structural engineering are not common, many employers will look favorably upon an urban planner with a master’s degree. This is the highest level of education and is respected by employers of all sizes.


As an urban planner, you’ll be handling several tasks on a daily basis. You’ll need to understand various computer programs and complex relationships, as well as time management skills. As a result, an advanced degree is the best way to become an urban planner. You can also pursue a certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) online. The different certifications require different levels of education and experience, but all require passing an exam.

In addition to being able to make decisions, an urban planner also needs to be an excellent communicator. This is important for collaborating with stakeholders and completing tasks on time. Writing skills are essential as they will need to write research reports and grant proposals and correspond with colleagues and stakeholders. In addition, a planner must be proficient in spreadsheet and presentation software. A master’s degree is preferred. An associate’s degree is also an option if you have strong communication skills.

Another skill you’ll need to excel in the field is analysis. Since urban planners make plans for a city based on various data, it’s important to be highly analytical. They need to make predictions about population trends, employment levels, and health. They must also be able to interpret data based on demographic and market studies. They also need to have strong communication skills and an understanding of public opinion and the nuances of public opinion.

An urban planner must be socially skilled, comfortable working in teams and working independently. As an urban planner, you’ll also need to be organized, stay focused, and manage time. As an urban planner, you’ll work closely with many stakeholders and may have to make decisions that involve public safety, budgets, and land. Nevertheless, the work can be rewarding. If you’re looking to make a career change, the field of urban planning is for you!

A great way to network within your community and with other urban professionals is to engage with the local community. This can help you establish relationships with local government officials, as well as gain valuable insight into what your community needs. This way, you can build trust and support for your plans. Your ability to interact with the public can help you gain the support of local residents, business owners, and activists. Additionally, your ability to communicate clearly in written form is critical in many aspects of the job.


In an educational program for urban planning, students take coursework in geography, environmental history, social theory, and architecture. They may also study state and local politics and public policy. In addition to planning, students take classes in economics, statistics, probability, international economics, geographic information systems, and contemporary social issues. After completing an urban planning program, students can start pursuing their degree or pursue additional graduate studies. For example, many MUP graduates go on to earn a Ph.D. in urban planning, which is more research-based and focuses on scholarly activity.

In addition to the practical training, students at UC Berkeley learn analytical and decision-making skills, and work closely with local and state planning officials to develop plans for cities. After graduation, they advise policymakers on how to make their cities more prosperous and equitable. The programs also teach students how to present arguments for and against development proposals. UC Berkeley’s Master’s in Urban Planning program draws upon its affiliation with Columbia University and its faculty.

Education for urban planners is usually a seven-year degree. Some students choose to work part-time while pursuing a master’s degree, while others choose to pursue an internship while completing their master’s degree. Regardless of how you decide to pursue a master’s degree, you can expect a promising career outlook. Among the top 10 degrees for creative people, urban planning allows you to combine your passions for design and innovation.

While certification is not required for entry-level planning jobs in the United States, some employers require them. However, you can pursue certification in the field, which is offered by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). AICP certification requires several years of experience in urban planning, as well as an essay detailing each position in an environmental planning position. The AICP certification requires renewal every two years. Some states require planners to be licensed or registered.

The educational background of an urban planner is varied. Most enter after completing an undergraduate degree in economics, geography, environmental studies, or political science. After completing an undergraduate degree, they will enter a postgraduate program to earn a master’s degree in urban planning. Typical graduate courses include workshop courses, lab work, and research. However, some programs emphasize regional planning. A bachelor’s degree in geography may help a student get a job in this field.


Salaries for urban planners in the U.S. vary widely, based on the city in which they work and their experience. Federal government workers make an average of $88,230 per year. Those working in the architectural and engineering professions make on average $72,910 per year, while those who work in scientific research earn approximately $62,460. However, the salary of an urban planner is significantly higher than that of other professionals.

The salary of an urban planner depends on the organization in which they work, as well as the location. In most cases, urban planners work for local governments ranging from a New York borough to a three-county regional association in Tennessee. The salary is usually directly linked to the number of citizens in the area, as government institutions typically have smaller budgets than private firms. But most private firms will offer higher salaries than state-level urban planners.

To become an urban planner, you must complete a bachelor’s degree. Most urban planners will spend seven years in school, completing a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. However, some entry-level jobs require 1 to 2 years of experience. As you gain experience, you may also be able to move up the ranks and take on higher-level positions. With these increased responsibilities come higher incomes.

The average salary for an urban planner in the United States is about $56,350 per year. Salaries for this occupation vary considerably, with the lowest paying state being Kentucky. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule. Some urban planners focus on zoning and land use requirements. Others specialize in sidewalks, streetlights, environmental restoration, and transportation systems. If you want a salary above $60k per year, be sure to pursue your education and experience.

The salary of an urban planner may vary depending on the location of the city or region you work in. Those in urban areas earn the highest salaries. Salaries can be somewhat higher in some areas than others, but the overall outlook for this career field is very positive. If you love problem-solving and have a passion for improving communities, this might be the perfect career for you. It is not uncommon to see a local government official remark that their salary is higher than the average for urban planners in their area.

Work environment

The Work environment of an urban planner is diverse. It requires specific knowledge and experience, as well as soft skills such as communication and organization. Planning often requires research into community needs, existing infrastructure, and opportunities for growth. Urban planners are often on deadlines and must work under pressure. They may be the point person for community projects or supervise the work of other planners. Those with these skills should be comfortable with dealing with the public.

For entry-level jobs, students will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most students spend around seven years in school to complete their bachelor’s, and then continue onto a three-year master’s degree program. To get started, some students may seek internships or part-time employment at local government agencies, or they may pursue their bachelor’s degree first. While earning a master’s degree, urban planners can also take on part-time internships while pursuing their master’s.

An urban planner must possess a strong knowledge of environmental regulations, demographics, and market analysis. The job is extremely diverse, and planners may be responsible for designing and implementing green city projects. They may also be asked to solicit proposals for environmentally-friendly technologies, such as LED lighting, solar roadways, and wind turbines. Urban planners can also help cities make changes to zoning issues to improve the overall quality of life in their communities.

While city planners often work for the local government, they are not confined to a specific work environment. They may spend a great deal of time in government offices, collaborating with local officials to ensure compliance with city ordinances. Other opportunities include working for a private architectural firm. You can find internships and fieldwork in urban planning through undergraduate and graduate programs. All these experiences can give you the insight you need to succeed in this job.

Working in a public office environment requires an individual who can maintain a balance between working hours and other commitments. A typical day would include working at a desk, reading and writing, and attending meetings during the day. You’ll also spend considerable amounts of time traveling to analyze the conditions of land. The work environment of an urban planner is very demanding and may require long hours and frequent meetings. This job requires a strong passion for organization and efficiency.