Urban Planner Salary
Job Description for Urban Planner
Urban planners map out the most effective use of a community’s land and infrastructure. They analyze economic, environmental, and social trends that help in the development of a plan for the land use.Read More...
Urban planners are typically independent contractors hired by a variety of clients: developers, private firms, government, and private property owners. They may develop a plan for a community based on a number of factors, including the goal for the area. Some urban planners focus more on developing and mapping residential neighborhoods, while others may be hired by a large corporation to develop a large group of corporate buildings.
Urban planners are required to know and adhere to local legislation and zoning codes. They must be knowledgeable about the infrastructure of the area they are developing. They must also consider any future issues that may arise, from traffic, crime, and sustainability. Often times, urban planners will be called in to help redevelop an area; this sometimes means that the client wants to create a more dense area.
Urban planners should hold a bachelor’s degree in the field from an accredited university. They also should get professional certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners by meeting specific educational and experience requirements; an exam is also given before they can obtain the certification. The AICP certification is not required to be an urban planner, but it can make candidates more marketable, especially to firms that require the certification before hiring.
Urban Planner Tasks
- Analyze and forecast financial impacts and costs of various strategies.
- Provide land use, environmental, and/or transportation plans and working documents.
- Assess regional environment to create plans, design concepts, and preliminary engineering budgets.
- Characterize population and types of usage for a region to evaluate needs, infrastructure, and costs.
Common Career Paths for Urban Planner
As Urban Planners transition into upper-level roles like City Planners, it's possible that they won't see a change in salary. City Planners earn the same amount as Urban Planners on average. Urban Planners most often advance into Urban and Regional Planner and Transportation Planner positions even though the median salaries are $3K lower and $5K lower, respectively.
Urban Planner Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Urban Planner
Heading up the field in terms of compensation, Michael Baker Corporation offers the most; Urban Planners earn $70K on average there.
Pay for Urban Planners is the lowest at placeworks, which has a median salary of $52K. In addition, there's little room to grow there, with salaries maxing out at $78K.
Popular Skills for Urban Planner
Survey results imply that Urban Planners deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Graphic Design, Project Management, Technical Writing, and Design are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 11 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like ArcGIS, Computer Aided Design, and autodesk autocad. Most people experienced in Geographic Information Systems also know Project Management and Design.
Pay by Experience Level for Urban Planner
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Urban Planners with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. The median compensation for relatively untried workers is $49K; in the five-to-10 year group, it's higher at around $62K. Urban Planners who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $71K. Seasoned veterans with 20 years under their belts enjoy a median income of $92K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Urban Planners, Los Angeles provides a pay rate that is 17 percent greater than the national average. Urban Planners will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+16 percent), Fort Lauderdale (+15 percent), Philadelphia (+13 percent), and Boston (+11 percent). Urban Planners in Indianapolis report much lower salaries than the rest of the country — 25 percent below the national average — proving that residence is a major factor in overall pay. Workers in Austin and Atlanta earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (5 percent less and 4 percent less, respectively).