Urban Designer: Job Description and Info About a Career in Urban Design

Read on to learn what urban designers do. Find out what kind of education and training are required for the job. Learn about the career outlook and earning potential of this career to decide if it's the right one for you.

View popular schools

Career Definition for an Urban Designer

Urban designers take into consideration a project's purpose, size, and geographic data in their design recommendations. Working with private companies or public agencies, urban designers may be responsible for surveying land for a new housing complex, expanding a medical facility or developing a subway system. Urban designers may also participate in educating civic leaders and the public about the details of the projects scheduled for their communities.

Required Education A bachelor's degree as a minimum; a master's degree is recommended
Job Duties Include surveying land; participating in educating civic leaders and the public about projects scheduled for their communities
Median Salary (2015)* $68,220 (all urban and regional planners)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 6% growth (all urban and regional planners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

It's possible to become an urban designer with a 4-year, bachelor's degree from a college or university, but acquiring a master's degree is recommended. Coursework for a degree in urban design may include classes in the history of architecture, industrial design, animation software, and sociology. Some states may require a license to work as an urban designer.

Skills Required

Urban designers need visual conceptual skills and experience with sophisticated design software programs. Successful urban designers are flexible and skilled at responding to changes on design projects.

Career and Economic Outlook

Population growth and urban sprawl will continue to create career growth for urban designers. Job opportunities for urban and regional planners, which includes urban designers, are projected to grow about as fast as average from 2014-2024, at a rate of 6%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that the median salary for urban and regional planners was $68,220 in May 2015.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Architectural History
  • Architectural Technology
  • Environmental Design
  • Interior Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban and Regional Planning

Alternate Career Options

Here are some examples of alternative career options:

Transportation Engineer

A transportation engineer typically coordinates the planning, construction, and maintenance of car, rail, air, and sea transportation infrastructure. Transportation engineers review project plans; address the affects of factors like materials costs, weather delays, and environmental concerns; and coordinate permit applications. This job requires a bachelor's degree in civil engineering for entry-level work and a master's degree or greater for advancement. Transportation engineers who provide public services must have a Professional Engineer credential which requires a minimum of education, work experience, and exam scores; additional licensing requirements may vary by state. The employment rate of civil engineers, including transportation engineers, is projected to be 8% from 2014-2024, per the BLS. The median pay was $82,220 in 2015, and the states where the greatest number of civil engineers worked were California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.

Geographer

Geographers study the physical features of the earth within the context of human activity, like population, politics, economics, the environment, culture, and health care. Geographers collect images gleaned from satellites and field work along with qualitative and quantitative research to create specialized maps of use to governments, business, emergency response teams, and related organizations or services. While it's possible to get a job with a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in geography or a closely related field is a common requirement. Geographers who hold the voluntary GIS (geographic information systems) professional credential may have better job prospects. The BLS estimates that geographers can expect a decline in job growth of 2% from 2014-2024. Geographers earned median pay of $74,260 in 2015, and most worked in Maryland, Texas, California, Virginia, and Colorado.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?