City planners determine the best uses for city land. They report to city officials ideal locations for parks, residential areas, and commercial districts. They attempt to solve numerous problems, including decreasing air pollution and traffic congestion. Planners try to ensure residents have easy access to public transportation. They determine where cars should be parked and roads should be built.
Planners determine where roads, schools, and other services should be built after residential areas expand or the city’s population increases.
Planners determine safe areas to locate landfills and pay special attention to protecting wetlands and trees.
Prior to making development plans in a city, planners must be familiar with where city buildings and commercial and residential districts are located. They determine the amount of people utilizing public services, such as libraries and parks, and how many cars travel on city roads. Planners listen to input from community members. With this input and other details, they explain their proposed intentions and expenses associated with them.
Planners are always relying on computers. They frequently prepare reports and create new maps detailing future changes.
City planners spend most of the day inside an office. They work outdoors to learn additional information about changing sections of the city.
Planners usually work normal schedules. Occasionally they attend meetings at night or on weekends. Sometimes they meet with individuals living in areas that are changing.
Planners must work very fast to complete their work since they must make other plans. Occasionally different groups disagree with city plans. When this occurs, urban planners must create a new plan everyone agrees upon.
How do you prepare for this career?
Employers seek planners with specialized training. They usually recruit individuals that have completed a master's program in urban design or city planning. Occasionally they seek people with previous experience working as planners without master's degrees. Completing a bachelor's program in planning and a master's program in a similar subject are useful when seeking a first job. Those wanting to become city planners should enroll in statistics and computer science classes.
City government planning departments usually hire college students to fill summer jobs. This can help them learn important aspects about the job before beginning their careers.
To get hired as certified planners, individuals must complete certain courses. They also must acquire experience in a planning office and pass an exam. Planners must possess effective verbal and written communication skills. They must be effective planners and properly utilize space so city residents can get to work, attend school, and have access to stores.
How much will I earn?
Salaries for urban and regional planners in the 50th percentile were between $44,480-71,390 annually during 2008. Those with salaries in the lower 10th percentile made $35,610 or less while those in the upper 10th percentile made $86,880 or more annually.
How many jobs are there?
During 2008, 34,000 urban and regional planners were employed. The majority worked for city governments. Some planners were employed by private businesses while others were employed by state departments. A small percentage of planners were employed by federal government agencies.
What is the future outlook for this career?
Job growth for planners is projected to increase quicker than average growth in other industries until 2016. Demand will result from population increases, meaning planners will be required to prepare for new roads and infrastructure projects. The majority of job opportunities will be found in rapidly growing cities.
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