How Do You Become a City Planner?

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City planners are a vital component to a structured and well balanced city. City planners don't just develop cities, they develop plans and programs to allocate public land and resources within a specific, defined area in an attempt to maximize inhabitants' satisfaction with their surroundings.


To become a city planner, you will need to earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university. Most city planners will have an undergraduate major in urban planning or geography, with an additional major or a minor in political science, history, public policy and administration, economics, sociology, architecture, environmental science or civil engineering. After you have completed your undergraduate studies, you should consider pursuing a master's degree in urban planning to build the breadth and depth of your planning knowledge base.

Coursework for urban planning will most likely include human geography, regional planning and development, urban geography, social theory, landscape architecture, urban planning theory, environmental history, state and local politics, public policy, statistics and probability, international economics and development, geographic information systems (GIS) analysis, public and government finance, urban planning law, contemporary social problems, political behavior, and urban economics.


Internships are a great way to gain real world experience while still in school. Most individuals will complete at least one internship prior to graduation. Most college advisors will have information on internship opportunities. You can also visit your school's career services office for guidance on landing an internship. The career services staff will help you learn how to write a resume, give you tips for interviewing and help you target your internship search to the specific urban planning sub-fields and geographic regions that most interest you.

City Planning Careers

Many urban planning jobs are found beyond those available at the local government level. There are opportunities for planners at the local, state, regional and federal levels of government. If you are so inclined, you will also be able to find job openings with private sector employers such as real estate developers, construction companies, commercial real estate management companies, urban planning consulting firms, architecture firms, large law firms and global professional services firms, according to Environmental Science.

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If you are a driven, self-disciplined person who wants to make a real difference in people's lives and has an appreciation for mixing different disciplines into your work, become a city planner to put yourself on the path to a rewarding career.