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Residential Planner: Salary, Duties, Outlook and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a residential planner. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Residential planners help develop new structures that meet the needs of a residential community. They are expected to have at least a master's degree in planning or urban studies and may be required to be licensed with the state in order to work. This is a slow growing job market; however, with the expected job growth estimated at being 6 percent over the next ten years and those employed earning a median salary of $68,220 a year.

Essential Information

Residential planners are urban planners who specialize in residential communities. A graduate degree in planning and the ability to visualize spatial relationships are important prerequisites to this career. Residential planners may also wish to pursue certification for possible career advancement, and at least one state requires licensure.

Required Education Master's degree in planning or related field
Other Requirements Licensure requirements vary by state; certification may also be beneficial
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for urban and regional planners)
Median Salary (2015)* $68,220 (for urban and regional planners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Residential Planner Salary

From a survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), urban and regional planners earned a median annual wage of $68,220 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). According to the American Planning Association/American Institute of Certified Planners' 2014 Planners Salary Survey, the median annual salary for their members who were working full-time was $75,800 (www.planning.org).

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Residential Planner Duties

Residential planners help develop plans that would be most beneficial for a residential community. Studying and compiling data about a residential community's current needs and situation, they may prepare reports detailing the best use of the community's land and resources and how to implement their vision, which may include the location of housing developments, schools, parks, streets, and highways. Planners must be familiar with applicable zoning laws, land use regulations, and building codes. They may meet with community leaders, planning officials, developers, architects, and other interested parties to discuss planning issues.

Residential Planner Outlook

The outlook for residential planners is average, with jobs for urban and regional planners expected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. The area of greatest growth will be in the private sector, especially in more prosperous neighborhoods and in architecture and engineering firms. However, local governments will also be hiring more planners, as a result of population increases.

Residential Planner Requirements

Employers generally hire residential planners with master's degrees from an accredited school in planning or a related field, such as urban studies or geography. Many colleges and universities offer master's degree programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. While New Jersey is the only state as of 2015 that required planners to be licensed, Michigan requires registration of anyone who works as a community planner.

Residential planners may want to consider certification as an aid to career advancement. The American Institute of Certified Planners offers credentialing to planners who meet certain experience and exam requirements.

Residential planners study a residential community's needs and plan developments to meet those needs. They will typically have a master's degree in planning or urban development, and those interested can become certified. They will need to work with community leaders and learn zoning laws to fulfill the needs of a career that's expected to see average growth over the next decade.

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