Are Urban Planners in Demand? Everything You Need to Know About This Job.

Urban planners shape the look and feel of communities

Urban planners develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, deal with population growth, and economically revitalize areas. Are these jobs in demand? Yes. But, with a caveat.

The number of these jobs is expected to grow by 11%, or 3,500 jobs by 2028— faster than most occupations. BUT the majority of urban planners work for government organizations. If governments have to tighten their belts, then they hire fewer employees.

If you are looking for an urban planning job right now, here is a list of affirmations that can build your confidence as your job search.

Affirmations for Urban Planners Job Search

  1. I am adept at meeting with public officials, developers, and the public regarding development plans and land use.
  2. I literally shape communities.
  3. I analyze economic data and do research on complex topics with ease.
  4. I love digging into a project and finding out everything I can to produce the best result.
  5. I have critical thinking skills and I am not afraid to ask tough questions.
  6. When I do my job well the people and community prospers.
  7. I am not afraid to make difficult decisions.
  8. I work for the people and for the greater good of those people.
  9. My presentation skills inform and engage the audience.
  10. I am perfectly suited for this critical job.
  11. I see the big picture and the details at the same time.
  12. My work is behind the scenes, but it sets the stage for success.
  13. I communicate concepts easily and expertly.
  14. Change is inevitable, but planned change transforms communities.
  15. I am a strategic goal-getter.
  16. My work fuels the local and regional economy.

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What Does an Urban Planner Do?

As an area grows or changes, urban planners help communities manage the related economic, social, and environmental issues.

These can be planning new parks, sheltering the homeless, and making the region more attractive to businesses.

Planners work with public officials, community members, and other groups to identify community issues and goals.

Through research, data analysis, and collaboration with interest groups, they formulate strategies to address issues and to meet goals.

Planners may also help carry out community plans by overseeing projects, enforcing zoning regulations, and organizing the work of the groups involved.

Urban planners may specialize in areas such as transportation planning, community development, historic preservation, or urban design, among other fields of interest.

Planners often collaborate with public officials, civil engineers, environmental engineers, architects, lawyers, and real estate developers.

Urban planners make decisions about how geographical areas will develop.

Who Hires Urban Planners? The Government.

Urban and regional planners held about 39,100 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of urban and regional planners were:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals71%
Architectural, engineering, and related services11%
State government, excluding education and hospitals9%
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services3%
Federal government2%

How to Become an Urban Planner


Most urban planners have a master’s degree from an accredited urban or regional planning program. In 2016, there were 71 programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) that offered a master’s degree in planning.

Master’s degree programs accept students with a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds.

However, many candidates who enter these programs have a bachelor’s degree in economics, geography, political science, or environmental design.

Bachelor’s degree holders can qualify for a small number of jobs as an assistant or junior planners.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree typically need work experience in planning, public policy, or a related field. The Planning Accreditation Board has a list of accredited programs in Urban planning.

Other Experience

Some entry-level planning jobs require 1 to 2 years of work experience in a related field, such as architecture, public policy, or economic development.

Many students gain experience through real planning projects or part-time internships while enrolled in a master’s planning program. Others enroll in full-time internships after completing their degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

As of 2016, New Jersey was the only state that required urban and regional planners to be licensed. More information is available from the regulatory board of New Jersey.

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) offers the AICP certification for planners. To become certified, candidates must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass an exam.

What Do Urban Planners Make?

Half of the urban planners nationally earned more than $73,050 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,180, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $114,170. Here are some other estimates.$43-61K a year$41-86K a year$81K a year average

In May 2018, the median annual wages for urban and regional planners in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government$96,420
Architectural, engineering, and related services$78,450
State government, excluding education and hospitals$74,420
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services$73,470
Local government, excluding education and hospitals$71,150

Job Outlook: Fast Growing Occupation

Employment of urban and regional planners is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Demographic, transportation, and environmental changes will drive employment growth for planners.

Planners will also be needed as new and existing communities require extensive development and improved infrastructure, including housing, roads, sewer systems, parks, and schools.

Urban Planner Resume Sample

Urban planner resume sample page 1
Urban Planners resume sample page 2

Get a List of 42 Resume Action Words to Use on Your Resume

Urban Planners Sample Resume Text

Your Name

Urban Planner  

123 Your Street | Your City, ST 12345

(123) 456-7890 | [email protected]


City Planner with 12 years of progressive experience in municipal planning/community development primarily in county and city government. Knowledge in environmental planning regulations and resources, modern practices & principles of city/urban planning. This includes collecting, analyzing, interpreting and presenting environmental, zoning and other city planning data through effective field investigations, surveys and research skills. Strong familiarity with Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) programs and Geographic Information System (GIS) applications and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations. 


TITLE Organization and LocationDates Worked
  • Participate in the preparation of zoning and land use regulations and ordinance revisions for NAME OF CiTY.
  • Review a variety of planning permits and development plans for conformance with applicable codes and ordinances.
  • Perform site inspections to ensure compliance with codes.
  • Prepare clear and concise administrative reports.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
  • Use graphic information such as blueprints, layouts, base maps, or other visual aids
  • Comprehend and make inferences from written material such as census data, surveys, previously done studies, or government document reports
  • Learn laws underlying general plans, zoning and land divisions.
  • Learn about current and trending practices in the field of urban planning
  • Learn to analyze and compile technical and statistical information and prepare reports.
TITLEOrganization and location03/2008 – 10/2011
  • Independently conducted the development of studies, analyses, and recommendations in connection with the current and long-range physical, social and economic development of the LOCATION.
  • Gathered, selected, compiled and analyzed data pertaining to characteristics of the area;
  • Analyzed and summarized existing conditions, derived conclusions, and developed projections based on population trends, highway needs, and future land use.
  • Reviewed subdivision and site plans.
  • Managed applications for re-zonings, conditional use permits and Comprehensive Plan Compliance reviews.
  • Prepared reports and supporting graphic display materials descriptive of research and recommendations for the public.
  • Explained complex planning problems and procedures to the general public in a simplified but accurate way so they could understand.


Master of Urban Planning

School and location

Years attended

Bachelor of Science –Subject

School and location 

1994 – 1997


  • AICP certified planner
  • NAHP certification from the National Affordable Housing Management Association


  • Member, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
  • Former Vice President, American Planning Association

For more information about careers in urban and regional planning, visit

American Planning Association

For more information about certification in urban and regional planning, visit

American Institute of Certified Planners

For more information about New Jersey licensure in planning, visit

New Jersey State Board of Professional Planners

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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