How To Become a City Planner

Job Requirements
  1. Degree Level: Master’s degree.
  2. Degree Field: Accredited program in urban and regional planning.
  3. Experience: 1-2 years or related experience. …
  4. Key Skills: Data analysis, speaking, writing, management, collaboration and teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making.

How to Become a City Planner

What do city planners do?

To plan out uses for land areas, revitalize dilapidated buildings and communities, and plan other development projects, city planners collaborate with a range of public and development professionals. You might also be required to take on a number of significant job responsibilities in a career as a city planner, such as:

What is a city planner?

Professionals who plan out the uses of land within cities and communities based on those communities’ needs are known as city planners or urban planners. City planners typically consider needs for various zoning types, transportation, street and road design, and economic growth and development.

Furthermore, city planners frequently work to increase the economic viability and development of areas that require improvement or are otherwise underutilized. Additionally, these experts could plan and create new structures like schools, parks, community centers, and other buildings.

How to become a city planner

You must complete your undergraduate and graduate degrees before you can start a career as a city planner. The following steps outline how to become a city planner:

1. Complete your bachelors degree

Before you can earn a masters in your desired field of work, you must complete a four-year degree program at an accredited college or university. Although there isn’t a specific degree for city and urban planning, there are other bachelor’s degrees you can get that will get you ready for an urban planning master’s program.

These include degrees in geography, political science, civil and environmental engineering, economics, and architecture. Many aspiring city planners complete internships after receiving their bachelor’s degree to gain practical experience before pursuing their master’s.

2. Continue with your masters degree in city, regional or urban planning

Get a master’s degree in city, regional, or urban planning to further your education. Urban planning laws, metropolitan planning, spatial analysis, GIS technology, and negotiation are topics that are typically covered in the majority of master’s programs in urban planning.

Even if you don’t complete an internship after receiving your bachelor’s degree, you might be able to take part in a workshop or internship during your graduate program.

3. Choose a concentration in city, regional or urban planning

Become knowledgeable in a particular area of city and urban planning For instance, many masters programs in city planning offer concentrations in land use, transportation, and community design and development. As you complete your graduate education, you might also find opportunities for additional work experience, like internships and studio projects, that can help you get ready for a career in your particular concentration.

4. Obtain your certification

Although the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) offers a voluntary AICP certification for city and urban planners, not all states require them to be certified. You must pass a test to become certified, and you must update your credentials every two years.

A Certified Environmental Planner (CEP) certification is also available if you select environmental planning as your concentration. Additionally, every two years, you must renew your AICP CEP certification.

Average salary for a city planner

You can learn more about whether a career in city planning is the best choice for you by reading the frequently asked questions below:

What is the work environment for city planners like?

City planners can find employment with a range of employers, including public companies, private businesses, and governmental organizations, where they typically put in regular full-time hours. Many city planners commute between their offices and various locations, traveling there to conduct assessments for planning.

City planners may work with public officials and the community to initiate and complete projects, and the work can involve demanding projects that these professionals must complete within strict deadlines.

What skills are necessary to be successful as a city planner?

A variety of hard skills and soft skills are needed by city planners. Numerous hard skills used by city planners in their daily work revolve around the use of technology, such as database applications, spreadsheet software, and programs for creating presentations, as well as geographic information systems (GIS, for short), which are used to organize and analyze statistical data. Strong written and verbal communication skills are also necessary for city planners to share information, interact with the public, and work with their peers, superiors, and other people.

How can city planners advance their careers?

Master’s-educated city planners in their fields can advance their careers by gaining work experience and taking on senior-level positions. A second master’s degree in a field like environmental or civil engineering, GIS technology, or another specialized concentration of city or regional planning may be pursued by some city planners.


Is city planners a good career?

Urban Planning is a promising career. Urban planning is a rapidly expanding industry, and between now and 2026, demand for experts in this area is anticipated to rise by more than 30%. Additionally, you only need experience for this career; a college degree is not necessary!

How do I start an urban planning career?

Get a college degree in urban planning, public policy, or a related field to earn a bachelor’s degree. Take courses on subjects such as GIS, sustainability and geography. Get a master’s degree: To increase your chances of finding work, pursue an urban planning master’s degree.

How do I get experience as an urban planner?

Some employers demand that urban planners have up to two years of relevant experience. This can include architecture, public policy or transportation planning. The most typical way for aspiring urban planners to gain experience is through temporary employment or internships.

How do I become a planner?

5 Ways to Use Your Strengths to Be A Better Planner
  1. Commit to your Goals on Paper. When we have unmet goals, they keep circling in our minds, distracting us and occupying mental space.
  2. Practice self-compassion. …
  3. Find intrinsic motivation. …
  4. Work with others. …
  5. Reflect.

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