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Why Choose a Career in Planning?

The Challenge

The planning profession is centrally concerned with improving the future well­ being of individuals in society and the quality of life in the communities within which we live. As a planner, you will have a wide range of potential opportunities to advance the goals of society. We work at every scale, from programs affecting the entire nation to analyses and plans for individual development sites. A trademark of professional planners is that we bring a comprehensive viewpoint to public problems and issues. Even so, you will find your niche within the breadth of the planning profession; you might prepare a revitalization plan for a downtown, rewrite a local zoning code that guides the next decade of development, prepare a natural resource atlas in Geographic Information System (GIS) for a growing county, engage in sustainability benchmarking for an environmental group, or tackle the vexing economic development issues in a rural, multi-county region. Whatever is your calling, the planning profession gives you one of the best opportunities to be personally rewarded by making a difference in your community and the world.

Employment and Occupational Outlook

There are approximately 40,000 working planners in the United States. Projected average job growth from 2012 to 2022 is 10% or 4,000 new planning jobs during the decade. 

Salary Trends

The median salary for planners in the U.S. in 2014 was $75,800 a year, according to the American Planning Association's most recent salary survey. The entry level salary range for jobs in North Carolina for which our graduates are qualified is approximately $33,000 to $42,000 annually. For a list of recent jobs in North Carolina for which our graduates are qualified, click on the link below:

Employment Opportunities in Planning

Useful Planning Resources

American Planning Association:

Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning:


The North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association: