Architectural Planner: Career Summary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an architectural planner. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and career options to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

The term architectural planning can refer to the job tasks performed by architects or urban planners. An architect works on the concept, design and construction of structures. An urban planner coordinates a community's layout.

Career Architect Urban Planner
Education RequirementsBachelor's degree Master's degree
Other RequirementsState license Certification may be required by some employers
Job Growth* (2012-2022)17%10% for urban and regional planners
Median Salary* (2013) $74,110 annually $65,650 annually for urban and regional planners

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

An architect designs structures for human use, such as office buildings or residential complexes. They ensure that a structure is safe and functional. An urban planner studies the issues affecting a community and make recommendations about where buildings, public utilities and other structures should be located. They work with local governments and officials to ensure that a community's land is used as best as possible. Keep reading for more information on these two architectural planning careers.


To work as an architect, every state requires that an individual graduate from an architectural program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, complete an internship after graduation and pass the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). The required internship, referred to as the 'Intern Development Program', lasts three years. Its components are established by the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. The ARE exam consists of nine parts. Each state independently determines the length of time an individual has to pass each part. Each state establishes licensure requirements separately, so additional requirements may be necessary depending on the individual's residence.

Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in architecture are available. A bachelor's degree program may last five years. Master's degree programs are available as a Master of Architecture (M.Arch) and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Architecture. The former of these programs prepares students for architectural practice, while the latter does not. Doctoral programs in architecture are research oriented and prepare students for teaching or scholarship.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected employment opportunities for architects to increase 17% over the 2012-2022 decade. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $74,110 in 2013.

Urban Planners

The majority of planners have master's degrees in the field. Degree options include a Master of Community Planning (MCP) or a dual M.Arch and MCP program. These programs may be accredited by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning or the American Planning Association. MCP programs require two years of study, while dual programs take longer to complete. Doctoral programs in urban and regional planning and design are also available. These programs prepare students to teach. Voluntary certification is available through the American Institute of Certified Planners.

The BLS anticipates job opportunities to grow 10% for urban and regional planners during the years 2012-2022. The BLS reported in 2013 that urban and regional planners earned $65,650 as a median annual wage.

Related to Architectural Planner: Career Summary

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools