Land Planner: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Land planners require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties, and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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A land planner organizes and designs plans for land use. They evaluate population number and the environmental and economic factors that will be affected, normally working with land developers and public officials to establish a cost-effective, salubrious, and ethical habitat. Land planners can earn a degree in a number of relevant fields, and most of them have a master's degree with experience.

Essential Information

Land planners fall under the category of urban and regional planners. They are specialists who determine how plots of land should best be used within a community. Their roles focus on community creation and revitalization, as well as the accommodation of population growth.

These professionals usually have both a master's degree and relevant work experience; licensing is sometimes required, and land planners might earn voluntary certification. They interact with developers, public officials, and citizens to create development plans that balance the needs of the community with commercial, economic, and environmental concerns.

Required Education Master's degree
Licensing and Certification Some states require licensure; voluntary professional certification is available
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 11% for urban and regional planners
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $73,050 for urban and regional planners

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description and Duties

In their professional roles, land planners work together with government officials, developers, and other interested parties to make large-scale decisions regarding land use. Because these decisions are impacted by already existing regulations, and because the decisions will have impact on levels both economic and environmental, land planners act as specialists and investigators, determining the true long-term impacts of decisions.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), positions for urban and regional planners are expected to grow much faster than average for all industries over the 2018-2028 decade, at a rate of 11% ( Economic downturns affect the jobs of land planners since they're employed by communities attempting to spur growth or reacting to it. Nonetheless, the BLS predicts that in coming years, these jobs will keep pace.

The median annual wage for the profession in May 2018 was reported as $73,050 by the BLS.

Education Requirements

Urban and regional planners generally have an advanced degree and training in gathering and interpreting data. According to the BLS, 72 universities in the country offered accredited master's degree programs in the planning field, as of 2015. One common degree offered is the Master of Urban Planning (MUP). Programs might offer courses on such topics as:

  • Urban planning
  • Environmental planning
  • Community assessment
  • Planning law and regulation
  • Planning ethics

Certification and Licensure Requirements

Some states, including New Jersey and Michigan, require urban planners to have registration or licensure. Land planners either graduating from an urban and regional development program or moving to a new area should check local and state regulations. Professionals can also gain voluntary certification through an organization such as the American Institute of Certified Planners.

After finishing all the necessary education and other requirements, a land planner should expect a salary of around $73,050, as stated by the BLS in May of 2018. The higher a degree and more experience they have, the likelier they are to procure a job.

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