Those interested in careers in land design can choose from a number of positions. The most common positions include urban designer, environmental planner and landscape designer. All three professions require a degree either at the bachelor's level, but more commonly at the master's degree level.
Land design is an interdisciplinary field that may include elements of urban design, environmental planning and landscape design. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most urban and regional planner positions require at least a master's degree. Those who excel in this field are comfortable with math and science and demonstrate an ability to encapsulate a large amount of data. Careers in this field attract individuals who are interested in working with their communities to promote positive social, physical and environmental change.
|Career||Urban Designer||Environmental Planner||Landscape Designer|
|Required Education||Master's degree||Master's degree||Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) or Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA)|
|Other Requirements||Certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is recommended||Certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is recommended||Licensure after 1-4 years of training and completion of the Landscape Architect Registration Examination|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||6% for urban and regional planners*||6% for urban and regional planners*||5% for landscape architects*|
|Median Salary||$68,220 for urban and regional planners (2015)*||$62,095 for environmental planner (2016)**||$63,810 for landscape architects (2015)*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com
Job Description for an Urban Designer
Urban designers are urban planners who focus on promoting the most efficient use of the community's resources including buildings, public spaces, streets and transportation. Especially in developing countries, the work of urban designers is necessary to meet the needs of an ever-increasing population.
Using their background in planning and environmental design, urban designers may meet with community leaders, government officials and the public to discuss community land use needs and the best avenues to address them. They may work with architects and consultants to design plans for new development and determine the best use of local land for commercial, recreational and residential buildings and infrastructures. Additionally, an urban designer may be utilized to address the changing needs of residents within a growing community by recommending changes in structures or transportation systems.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that urban and regional planner jobs will increase 6% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that urban and regional planners earned a median salary of $68,220 in 2015.
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Job Description for an Environmental Planner
Like urban designers, environmental planners usually also have backgrounds in urban planning, but their focus is on environmental issues affecting land use. They must be familiar with environmental statutes such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related state and local laws (www.epa.gov). They are typically required to monitor a project's compliance with such laws, including preparing environmental impact statements and other mandated documentation. The overriding goal for environmental planners is to take into consideration the effects on both people and nature in determining the sustainability of a residential proposal or plan.
Career and Salary Information
According to the BLS, environmental planning is considered a sub-field of the urban and regional planning sector. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of jobs for all urban and regional planners was projected to grow 6%, which is about average. Salary.com notes that environmental planners earned a median salary of $62,095 as of 2016.
Job Description for a Landscape Designer
Landscape designers are usually landscape architects who focus on the design of gardens, parks, roads and other outdoor spaces in commercial and residential areas. As part of their jobs, they take into account the aesthetics of the design, the availability of natural resources, and a design's impact on the environment. They create models and draw blueprints using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Throughout the duration of a project, landscape designers may consult with professionals, such as engineers and architects, to ensure that the project stays on task and within budget.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS expected that job openings for landscape architects would increase by 5% from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the median salary for landscape architects was $63,810.
Land designers typically require a master's degree; they can also obtain voluntary certification. Three positions within this field--urban designer, environmental planner, and landscape designer--have a job outlook that is expected to grow about as fast as average.