Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Salaries do not seem that bad.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    105

    Salaries do not seem that bad.

    I always go to the APA website and frequently check their job posts. Most salaries (and the only ones posted are from the puclic sector), the salaries seem good. I bring this up because a lot of people seem to complaing about pay. I know it depends on geography but salaries all seem decent. For instance an enviromental planner position was availble in the bay area. 3-5 years experience was what was preferred and the salary was $83k-$103K. Now I know that area is one of the most expensive areas in country, but those salaries don't seem that bad, esp. for three years experience. I doubt everyone in the bay area makes 200k. But whatever, my question is do people on this website tend to exaggerate that they don't get paid well for being an urban planner, or is it really like how everyone says on these boards.

    Maybe I am just young and naive. I mean a salary of 65k in chicago well give u a comfortable life, where you can live in a decent neighborhood, and have a nice car (by nice car I mean like a toyota camry or honda accord, and of course 60k is comfortable when you are single and no kids).

  2. #2
    People in every field feel that they don't make enough money. Even doctors complain about malpractice insurance being so high that they barely scrape by. We're a nation of whiners. For planners with a masters and a couple years experience, I think they're paid at about the median of what other fields pay.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Ocean to the east, land to the west
    Posts
    1,083

    Varies

    I agree that the salary you refer to is pretty good- in general it appears that the planning jobs in CA pay fairly well- even given the higher cost of living there. But this varies a lot by region. Here in southern New England most planning jobs cluster around 40-60K. That is OK when you're single and willing to live in a small place or have roomies, but can be a challenge later in life. The salaries are lower in northern NE (although it seems that NH pays better than ME or VT).

    In general I think public-sector planning salaries are like most government salaries- better than non-profits, esp. given the benefits of a government job, but worse than most private-sector endeavors. When I was younger I never worried about what I was earning, in part because I chose grad school based on financial aid and not just reputation. It was more important to feel challenged and be living where I wanted. If I had loans to pay I would have felt differently. And now that I have a family I feel differently. But generally you aren't in planning to make a fortune.

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,654
    Cyburbia's Unofficial Salary Survey - http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=24218

    Most are in the 50-60K range.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  5. #5
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    578
    In the bay area that salary will only allow you to live comfortably if you are single, or your other makes equal or more. You will not be able to afford housing with in the city or the immediate surroundings and you will not be able to support a family if your other doesn't work.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    4

    Yes, Planner pay is improving

    Associate Planner here in Bay area
    2.5 years experience
    Salary ranage for my current job $80k to 94

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,805
    I would be very disappointed if people exaggerated their salaries on here

    There are also some other things to consider besides the gross salary in a job. There is a book called Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute by Jack Chapman. It is a specific job hunting book targeted towards salary negotiating, annual reviews, etc.

    The book talks about bennies (benefits) and perks (I forgot what this one stood for, it's been a while). Anyway, the bottom line is that your job package is a combination of many things, not just your salary (does your employer pay for your medical coverage, tuition reimbursement, 401k, etc.).

    If you do read through this book (or other books on salary negotiation) keep in mind that the tone of these books suggests that these positions are for either sales positions or for profit-making companies. I have emailed the authors of several books to write books targeted to salary negotiation tips for public-sector jobs (which I have yet to see, maybe someone might have ideas).

    What is a "good" salary today might be a horrible one tomorrow. The Bay area is one of, if not the most expensive areas of the country to live in. You have some data as to what the current salaries are. Check back every year to see if these same communities are willing to pay salaries that have at least increased at the same rate or higher than the cost of living (not inlfation). Your state and federal bureau of labor statistics should give you more information about that rate.

    Your buying power as a consumer decreases over time. 65000 in Chicago is going to buy you less in 5 years than it does today (unless we do something about our trade imbalance, borrow less as a country, or dump all of our personal money into a Swiss Bank). If you can find a community (probably a rapidly-growing one) that is increasing its salary every year, than I would recommend going for that position.

    But like most people on here, and I have stressed on here before, planning is not a profession to a make a huge amount of money, and your personal control of your finances plays a larger role in how you view your net income

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    4

    Not exaggerating

    I'm not exaggerating here.. I feel lucky at payday, but my superior are extremelydifficult. You couldn't imagine!! My salary is slightly higher than most Associate Planners in the Bay Area. In many ways, I'm trapped by my salary and I will be here for a while..

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    22
    I think the pay to graduate-level education is what may bother most people....

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,608
    Blog entries
    3
    I am regularly asked to post ads for planning positions with a county government in Pennsylvania. These are high-level positions, requiring graduate education, years of experience, AICP certification, and the other typical qualifications. The salary offered is always in the low $30K range.

    Entry and mid-level planners in the Bay Area might get salaries that approach the six digit range. In New York City, which has the highest cost of living in the United States, it's not the case. Here's some openings with the New York City Department of City Planning.

    CITY PLANNER, LEVEL I
    $43,037 (less than 2 years current City employment)
    OR:
    $49,492 (more than 2 years current City employment)

    CIVIL SERVICE TITLE: CITY PLANNER I
    $41,382 (New City employees, or less than 2 years City employment)
    OR:
    $47,589 (More than 2 years current City employment)

    CIVIL SERVICE TITLE: City Planner II
    SALARY RANGE: $48,878 to mid $50’s, commensurate with experience.

    ASSOCIATE URBAN DESIGNER, LEVEL II
    $55,955 (Employed by the City less than 2 years)
    OR:
    $64,348 (Employed by the City for 2 years or more)

    ASSISTANT URBAN DESIGNER
    $42,783 (Employed by the City less than 2 years)
    OR:
    $49,201 (Employed by the City more than 2 years)

    CIVIL SERVICE TITLE: ASSOCIATE CITY PLANNER, LEVEL I
    $54,939 (less than 2 years current City employment)
    or
    $63,180 (more than 2 years current City employment)

    New York state has one of the highest tax burdens in the country. Also consider the employee's cut of insurance and retirement. At the end of the day your take home pay will probably be close to the low-to-mid $20s.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Consulting salaries
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 03 Mar 2006, 10:33 AM
  2. Consulting salaries
    Student Commons
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 27 Jan 2006, 1:09 AM
  3. Louisiana Planner Salaries
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 16 Jan 2004, 5:13 PM
  4. Indiana salaries
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 6
    Last post: 05 Jan 2004, 2:34 PM
  5. Planners salaries?
    Student Commons
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 01 Apr 1998, 4:42 PM