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Careers in Planning

Urban planning is a profession geared towards improving the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places to live. Many communities face challenges associated with population growth (or decline), increased cultural diversity, natural resource depletion, and environmental degradation.  Urban planners understand the different elements that must exist to create a viable community and have the skills to address these challenges. They collaborate with politicians, community organizations, community residents, architects, engineers, and land developers to identify community goals and develop and implement short- and long-range plans and strategies to accomplish them.

Urban planning is a broad and multidisciplinary field of practice that offers many career paths in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Most planners work in the public sector for cities, counties, states, regional agencies, the federal government, as well as major international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. Planners in the private sector work for consulting firms, real estate developers, architecture and engineering firms, utility companies and law firms. Their work may be specialized, such as negotiating easements for utilities, or more general, such as preparing comprehensive plans for cities. Planners also work for various non-profit organizations nationally and internationally, such as United Way, AmeriCorps and community development organizations.

While some planners may be generalists with some familiarity of issues and processes several areas, most are specialists with technical expertise in specific areas of planning such as:

Planners may work for a variety of organizations throughout their careers. Planning jobs are available in large and small towns, in dense urban areas and in rural areas, and for groups such as the Native American tribal offices.

Urban planning is also a promising field of employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment for urban planners to grow by 10% from 2012 to 2020 or approximately 4,000 new jobs.

For more information about urban planning and careers in planning see the related links below.