Developing Programs and Plans For Land Use: Urban Planning

When other kids were building robots and spaceships did you use your Lego to construct cities instead? Do you have a keen interest in urban spatial structure and the way in which cities work? Are you passionate about sustainable development? If this sounds like you, then you might have a bright career as an urban planner ahead of you. However, competition is tough in this field and an Urban Planning degree is definitely required to get your foot in the door. With enough determination, perseverance and the right degree behind your name, you could be shaping the way that urban environments look. It is definitely very rewarding and you’ll be making your mark on the world in a way that few other people can.

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Urban Planning Degree Information

Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning

The Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning is typically a 120 credit hours program that takes more or less four years to complete. Courses may include Sustainable Cities, History of Planning, Social Statistics, as well as a number of electives. While this type of degree can prepare you for entry level positions in the field, it is mostly a stepping stone to earning a master’s degree, which is required for most urban planning positions.

Master of Urban and Regional Planning

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning is typically a 52 credit hours program, which means it can take up to two years to complete. Course topics may include Urban Economy, Land Use Planning Law, Planning Research Design, Urban Land Economics, Urban Spatial Analysis, Land Use Planning & Management, Sustainable Community Development and more. This type of degree is also available as an online program.


Optional certification for planners is also available from the American Institute of Certified Planners. In order to become certified, planners must fulfill all the experience and education requirements as well as complete an exam. After passing the exam the credential is valid for two years and must be maintained by the planner. In addition, the American Institute of Certified Planners also offers their Certified Environmental Planner credential. In order to qualify for this credential, planners must have AICP membership as well as a number of years of experience in environmental planning. Those who qualify can then pay to take an exam, which upon successful completion will grant them the certification. Like the AICP Certification, the AICP CEP certification is valid for two years before renewal is required. Some states also require planners to be licensed through the state in addition to their professional certification.

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Urban Planning Degree FAQ

Is It Possible To Earn An Urban Planning Degree Online?

While most Urban Planning degrees are campus-based, there are a few online programs available. These programs are typically at a master’s degree level and can be completed 100% online. This makes them ideally suited to those who have family or work obligations that make it impossible to adhere to a campus-based schedule. Completing this program online only requires access to a computer with an internet connection. Some courses may also require an internship, which must obviously be completed in person.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study Urban Planning?

Confidence is very important in the field of urban planning as is the ability to communicate effectively and work well with others. You should be comfortable working on large projects and goal-oriented enough to see them through to completion. In addition, creativity is beneficial while also being pragmatic enough to keep the big picture in mind. Urban planners shouldn’t shy away from having to crunch data in order to get the information they need or interacting with a variety of people on a daily basis. Your analytical skills, as well as your leadership, will be vital for this line of work. Finally, you should be able to handle stressful workloads and be able to work under strict deadlines if required.

What Type of Careers May Be Available With An Urban Planning Degree?

Most people who earn a degree in urban planning go on to become urban or regional planners. Others also choose career paths as town planners or transport planners. Some of the largest employers for people with this degree include local government, architectural, engineering, and related services as well as state government and federal government.

What Type of Responsibilities Might I Have When Employed As An Urban Planner?

When employed as an urban planner, you might be required to handle a number of responsibilities on a daily basis. These include meeting with a variety of people, gathering and analyzing data from a variety of sources as well as conducting field investigations. You might also be required to review the site plans that developers have submitted and determine whether proposals can be approved or should be denied. When employed in this position, it will also be your responsibility to ensure that your knowledge of environmental regulations, building codes and other related legal issues is up to date. This line of work typically also involves the use of various tools and technology. These range from specialized software to spreadsheets and presentation programs. Finally, you might have to collaborate with architects, environmental engineers, civil engineers and other professionals on a regular basis.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn When Working In The Urban Planning Industry?

When working as an urban planner your geographical location as well as the amount of experience that you have can both influence your earnings. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, urban and regional planners earned a median annual wage $74,350 in May 2019. This figure is as high as $116,280 for the highest ten percent and as low as $45,850 for the lowest ten percent. Federal government tends to be the highest paying employer for this industry, followed by architectural, engineering, and related services. A projected growth of 13 percent is also predicted between now and 2026, which is faster than the average for all other occupations.

What Are The Other Advantages To Completing An Urban Planning Degree?

A degree in urban planning can not only help to prepare you for a career as an urban planner, but will also provide you with plenty of other useful skills. These include strategic thinking as well as analytical research. In addition, the pragmatism, problem solving skills as well as decision-making skills you’ll gain will be invaluable no matter what career path you end up choosing.

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