A bachelor's degree program in urban planning offers students research opportunities and practical application in urban development. Upon completion of a program, graduates could qualify for certain entry-level positions as urban planners in the private or public sector. Voluntary certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is also an option.
Some programs are only available on a limited basis, taking academic performance into consideration during the admissions process. Students will need to complete their pre-professional and general education courses prior to admission.
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Bachelor's Degree in Urban Planning
Most urban planning bachelor's degree programs entail coursework in politics, urban affairs, social sciences and ethics. Students learn about policy procedures, commercial and residential zoning restrictions, sustainability and economical issues. Specific course topics might include:
- Community outreach projects and globalization
- Analysis of urban policies, public affairs and legal responsibilities
- Environmental considerations
- Land-use and development
- Budgeting for urban growth
- Urban and regional restructuring
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for urban and regional planners are anticipated to increase 6% between 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary for urban and regional planners in May 2015 was $68,220, based on BLS estimates for the profession.
Some states, counties and cities accept a bachelor's degree for entry-level jobs, such as civil engineer or administrative support, though many require a master's degree for advancement. Additionally, a few states regulate the profession, requiring licensure or registration. Other advancement options might exist by earning professional AICP certification. Testing for this designation requires a specific combination of education and experience and is only available to AICP members.
A bachelor's degree in urban planning focuses on the skills and knowledge needed for urban development. Students can expect positive job growth in the field, and can choose to pursue further education or licensure.