Innovators Guide

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Urban Planner Job Outlook

Faster than average employment growth is projected for urban and regional planners. Most new jobs will be in affluent, rapidly expanding communities. Job prospects will be best for those with a master’s degree and strong computer skills.

Employment change. Employment of urban and regional planners is expected to grow 15 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the need for State and local governments to provide public services such as regulation of commercial development, the environment, transportation, housing, and land use and development for an expanding population. Nongovernmental initiatives dealing with historic preservation and redevelopment will also create employment growth.

Most new jobs for urban and regional planners will be in local government, as planners will be needed to address an array of problems associated with population growth, especially in affluent, rapidly expanding communities. For example, new housing developments require roads, sewer systems, fire stations, schools, libraries, and recreation facilities that must be planned for within budgetary constraints.

The fastest job growth for urban and regional planners will occur in the private sector, primarily in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries. For example, planners may be employed by firms to help design security measures for a building that are effective but also subtle and able to blend in with the surrounding area. However, because the private sector employs only 21 percent of urban and regional planners, not as many new jobs will be created in the private sector as in government.

Job prospects. In addition to those from employment growth, job openings will arise from the need to replace experienced planners who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Graduates with a master’s degree from an accredited program should have better job opportunities than those with only a bachelor’s degree. Also, computers and software—especially GIS software—are increasingly being used in planning, and those with strong computer skills and GIS experience will have an advantage in the job market.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition

Find related resources below:

Urban Planner Income     Urban Planner Training


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