Environmental Planners


Employment Prospects


About 39,100 urban and regional planners are employed in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The majority (71 percent) work for local governments. Many others work in the private sector for architectural, engineering, scientific, management, and technical consulting companies. State and federal government agencies that focus on housing, transportation, or environmental protection also employ planners.

Starting Out

Many environmental planners get their start while in school, working part time or interning with an environmental or urban planning agency. Professional associations such as the American Planning Association and the National Association of Environmental Professionals also offer numerous resources, including networking opportunities and job listings. 

Advancement Prospects

Environmental planners can advance to become senior environmental planners, handling larger and more complex projects. With years of experience, they may become managers or directors, overseeing the work of more staff members or more departments or regions. Planners who are on staff with companies may leave the position to start their own environmental planning businesses. They may provide consulting services to other companies and take contract jobs with agencies. Another path of advancement may lead planners back to school, to teach environmental planning in colleges and universities. They may also share their knowledge by writing books and articles about the subject, and participating in speakers' panels at professional association conferences.

Tips for Entry

Read publications such as Planning (http://www.planning.org/planning) to learn more about industry trends and potential employers.

Visit https://www.planning.org/jobs/search and https://naep-jobs.careerwebsite.com for job listings.

Join professional associations, such as the American Planning Association (APA), to access training and networking opportunities, industry publications, and employment opportunities. The APA offers great resources at its Web site, https://www.planning.org/advance.

Attend the APA’s National Planning Conference (http://www.planning.org/conference) and other industry events to network and interview for jobs.

Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office.