Urban and Regional Planners
Develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.
Sample of reported job titles: City Planner, Community Development Planner, Community Planner, Development Technician, Housing Development Specialist, Neighborhood Planner, Planner, Planning Consultant, Planning Technician, Regional Planner
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Design, promote, or administer government plans or policies affecting land use, zoning, public utilities, community facilities, housing, or transportation.
- Advise planning officials on project feasibility, cost-effectiveness, regulatory conformance, or possible alternatives.
- Create, prepare, or requisition graphic or narrative reports on land use data, including land area maps overlaid with geographic variables, such as population density.
- Hold public meetings with government officials, social scientists, lawyers, developers, the public, or special interest groups to formulate, develop, or address issues regarding land use or community plans.
- Mediate community disputes or assist in developing alternative plans or recommendations for programs or projects.
- Recommend approval, denial, or conditional approval of proposals.
- Conduct field investigations, surveys, impact studies, or other research to compile and analyze data on economic, social, regulatory, or physical factors affecting land use.
- Evaluate proposals for infrastructure projects or other development for environmental impact or sustainability.
- Discuss with planning officials the purpose of land use projects, such as transportation, conservation, residential, commercial, industrial, or community use.
- Keep informed about economic or legal issues involved in zoning codes, building codes, or environmental regulations.
- Assess the feasibility of land use proposals and identify necessary changes.
- Determine the effects of regulatory limitations on land use projects.
- Review and evaluate environmental impact reports pertaining to private or public planning projects or programs.
- Supervise or coordinate the work of urban planning technicians or technologists.
- Develop plans for public or alternative transportation systems for urban or regional locations to reduce carbon output associated with transportation.
- Identify opportunities or develop plans for sustainability projects or programs to improve energy efficiency, minimize pollution or waste, or restore natural systems.
- Coordinate work with economic consultants or architects during the formulation of plans or the design of large pieces of infrastructure.
- Advocate sustainability to community groups, government agencies, the general public, or special interest groups.
- Investigate property availability for purposes of development.
- Conduct interviews, surveys and site inspections concerning factors that affect land usage, such as zoning, traffic flow and housing.
- Prepare reports, using statistics, charts, and graphs, to illustrate planning studies in areas such as population, land use, or zoning.
- Prepare, develop and maintain maps and databases.
- Prepare, maintain and update files and records, including land use data and statistics.
- Research, compile, analyze and organize information from maps, reports, investigations, and books for use in reports and special projects.
- Respond to public inquiries and complaints.
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- Analytical or scientific software — Citilabs TRANPLAN; Location allocation decision support system LADSS; Scientific Software Group ModTech; Transportation planning software
- Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Microsoft SharePoint
- Compliance software — Accela PERMITS Plus; Accela Tidemark Advantage
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD ; Bentley MicroStation ; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks ; Trimble SketchUp Pro (see all 13 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Database software ; Microsoft Access ; Oracle software ; Structured query language SQL (see all 7 examples)
- Data mining software
- Desktop communications software — RhinoSoft FTP Voyager
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign ; Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker
- Development environment software — Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Suite; Software development tools
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat ; Interwoven software
- Electronic mail software — Email software; IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Accela KIVA DMS; SAP ; WorkTech MAXIMO
- Geographic information system — ESRI ArcGIS software ; ESRI ArcView; Geographic information system GIS software ; PlanGraphics Citywide GIS Utility (see all 8 examples)
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe FreeHand; Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Graphics software (see all 5 examples)
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — Geomechanical design analysis GDA software; Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE; Spatial decision support systems SDSS software; Telogis GeoBase (see all 9 examples)
- Object or component oriented development software — Oracle Java
- Office suite software — Corel WordPerfect; Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Microsoft Project ; Oracle Primavera Systems
- Spreadsheet software — IBM Lotus 1-2-3; Microsoft Excel
- Time accounting software — Sage Timeslips
- Web page creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver
- Web platform development software — Hypertext markup language HTML
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Design civil structures or systems.
- Inform the public about policies, services or procedures.
- Advise others on business or operational matters.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Communicate with the public on environmental issues.
- Mediate disputes.
- Review plans or proposals for environmental conservation.
- Research impacts of environmental conservation initiatives.
- Communicate with government agencies.
- Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
- Analyze impact of legal or regulatory changes.
- Review environmental permits, plans, or reports.
- Develop environmental sustainability plans or projects.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Collaborate with technical specialists to resolve design or development problems.
- Promote environmental sustainability or conservation initiatives.
- Obtain property information.
- Analyze geological or geographical data.
- Collect information from people through observation, interviews, or surveys.
- Compile geographic or related data.
- Prepare maps.
- Provide technical information or assistance to public.
- Record research or operational data.
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- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 92% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 76% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 60% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With External Customers — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 68% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 56% responded “Some freedom.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “More than half the time.”
- Contact With Others — 48% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 54% responded “40 hours.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Very important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 58% responded “Some freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 40% responded “Important results.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 28% responded “Very important.”
- Public Speaking — 72% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 54% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 46% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 48% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
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|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: IEA Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
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- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
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- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$36.52 hourly, $75,950 annual|
|Employment (2020)||39,100 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||3,700|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Correctional Association
- American Institute of Certified Planners
- American Planning Association
- American Public Works Association
- American Society of Landscape Architects
- Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
- Congress for the New Urbanism
- Institute of Transportation Engineers
- National Community Development Association
- National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Urban and regional planners
- Planners Network
- Planning Accreditation Board
- The American Institute of Architects
- Transportation and Development Institute
- Urban Land Institute
- WTS International
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