Career Definition of a Regional Planner
Regional planners create long- and short-term plans for the use of land in their communities. Regional planners write detailed reports on current land use and recommend new land usage, such as where to build schools and roads or make changes to zoning laws. Many regional planners specialize within the field in areas such as the environment, transportation planning or code enforcement.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in a related field|
|Job Skills||Versed in land use & related laws, planning and recommendations, communication skills|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$71,490 for all urban and regional planners|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||13% job growth for all urban and regional planners|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A bachelor's degree is required for a career in regional planning, although job prospects are greater for those with master's degrees in fields such as urban planning or regional planning. The Planning Accreditation Board (www.planningaccreditationboard.org) certifies 74 master's and 16 bachelor's degree programs in the United States. Classes in these planning programs include land use law and urban economics.
In addition to having extensive knowledge of land use and related laws, regional planners must be able to plan ahead and visualize the impact of their recommendations. Regional planners also must have strong written and verbal communication skills.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), employment of regional planners is expected to grow 13% from 2016-2026. Most new jobs for regional planners will relate to local government and will be created in rapidly growing, affluent communities. BLS figures show that, in May 2017, the median salary for regional planners was $71,490.
Alternative Career Options
Additional career choices for regional planners
A civil engineer takes part in all phases of construction projects, from design to completion. Projects may include bridges, roads, and transportation facilities. Civil engineers' duties may include drawing up plans, estimating costs, preparing and filing permit applications, and making public presentations about planned projects. It's possible to get an entry-level job with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from an ABET-accredited program; however, career advancement requires a graduate degree and professional licensing. State licensing requirements apply when civil engineers provide their services in a public capacity. Professional licensing requires extensive experience and passing several exams. Civil engineering jobs are predicted to increase 11% from 2016-2026, per the BLS. The BLS also reports that civil engineers earned median pay of $84,770 in 2017.
A surveyor uses special instruments to take measurements of land for purposes like real estate and construction. Surveyors work outdoors staking property lines and recording coordinates; they also prepare reports that describe and map their findings to share with clients. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field is required for employment; state licensing is also generally required when surveyors do public work. Licensing requirements often include completion of an ABET-accredited program and sitting for an exam. The BLS predicts that the number of jobs for surveyors will increase 11% from 2016-2026. The BLS also reports that surveyors earned median pay of $61,140 in 2017.