How to Become a Thriving Urban Planner?

Countless individuals don’t know urban planners exist. However, these individuals work with a city to determine how best to use different areas of the municipality. When doing so, they take several factors into consideration, including potential population growth and visual appeal. They work with officials to create a land plan use and may be asked to review an existing one to approve or modify it. However, they don’t only focus on the land, but also on public facilities. How does one thrive in this field? 

Skills Needed to Be a Successful Urban Planner

Successful urban planners begin their careers by earning an Urban Planning Degree. This ensures they have the skills needed to succeed. Skills required in this field include communication skills, managerial ones, writing talent, the ability to make decisions, and more. The planner will conduct presentations for community leaders, public officials, and interest groups and will manage projects and groups through their day-to-day activities. 

In addition, they write reports and grant proposals and will exchange correspondence with other stakeholders. As part of their duties, they must consider all alternatives to determine which is best for the project being undertaken. They must then share their decision with others through their communication and writing skills. 

Pursuing a Career in Urban Planning

A person interested in becoming an urban planner needs to obtain a bachelor’s degree in this field. During their coursework, they learn about site planning, public development, budgeting, and more. A person might seek a degree in environmental design or public administration before moving on to urban planning. Every person should attempt to secure an internship as part of their schooling to gain valuable experience. 

Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree, a person interested in urban planning should move on to a master’s degree program. O*NET Online reports over 80 percent of individuals in this field have a master’s degree. To be competitive, a person must take advanced classes. Students taking part in one of these programs will learn how to write policies, plan urban spaces, and more. They study policy analysis, urban transportation, building codes, and other topics. 

Again, take part in an internship if possible while pursuing a higher degree. Learn about environmental problems in the area and become involved in local matters. This gives you a better understanding of the challenges seen in urban planning and how to overcome them. 

Becomes certified as an urban planner. The American Institute of Certified Planners offers many to choose from and requires nothing more than the successful completion of an exam in the desired area. However, only those with a bachelor’s degree in urban planning who have work experience can sit for one of these exams, and a person must take part in continuing education to maintain their certification. 

Job Opportunities

Men and women who secure a degree in urban planning find job opportunities in a variety of locations. Over 65 percent work for a government agency, but engineering and architectural firms also hire people with a degree in this field. States employ urban planners as do technical consulting and managerial firms. 


Urban planners bring in a nice salary. For example, someone with only one year of experience in the field can make as much as $46,807. With more experience, a person finds their pay increases, and some in the field now make $90,000 a year. This depends on the employer. 

While becoming an urban planner takes time, people find this career to be rewarding. Men and women serving as planners find they have a major impact on their community. Consider a job in this field today, as it is one people truly enjoy. 

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