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Thread: Lowest salaries for planning jobs that you've seen

  1. #226
    Cyburbian
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    $16.25/hour; 3 years of experience; BA in related field; Maryland

  2. #227
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Senior Planner
    $34,866
    Pennsylvania
    Masters and 3 years...
    "The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

  3. #228
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    !!!!

    Quote Originally posted by Kingmak View post
    Senior Planner
    $34,866
    Pennsylvania
    Masters and 3 years...
    #$@%^ and &%#$@^ Them right up the $#%
    Skilled Adoxographer

  4. #229
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jacindad2 View post
    I currently work as a Business Analyst/Project Manager for a Software Development Co. My experience is more on the business side than IT, but my salary is decent for the Tampa bay area (no healthcare or retirement plan matching) and i have the flexibility of working from home. However, I have decided to persue a Masters Degree in Urban Planning. My undergrad is in Urban Studies and i have always wanted to do planning work, BUT I am a bit discouraged by the salaries and find it difficult to imagine spending more money on a graduate degree only to come out making significantly less than i do now. This is particularly important because i have a family to support.

    I love the planning field and have an intense interest in urban planning, but this thred has seriously made me rethink persuing that field at this time.
    If you have an intense interest in planning, work towards getting onto your local planning commission or zoning board. Involved in planning without having to be destitute.

  5. #230
    Cyburbian
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    I have no say in this but I've always believed that planners were underpaid. I think the 30-40K salaries are ridiculous (IMO, low 50s is a good ideal starting salary)-- engineering interns make more than that, and don't even try to say that planners aren't just as valuable as engineers, let alone their interns.

    Pay scaling in our industry is a little weird, though. Once you elevate to planning manager and above, it's not uncommon to be making close to six figures, if not more. My first boss made over 100K and I think the director above him close to 200K.

  6. #231
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    ARRGGH

    Quote Originally posted by Backstrom View post
    I have no say in this but I've always believed that planners were underpaid. I think the 30-40K salaries are ridiculous (IMO, low 50s is a good ideal starting salary)-- engineering interns make more than that, and don't even try to say that planners aren't just as valuable as engineers, let alone their interns.

    Pay scaling in our industry is a little weird, though. Once you elevate to planning manager and above, it's not uncommon to be making close to six figures, if not more. My first boss made over 100K and I think the director above him close to 200K.
    GRRRRRR!!!!
    Skilled Adoxographer

  7. #232
    Cyburbian
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    Arrowhead Development Commission - Duluth MN

    Minimum Qualifications: Bachelorís degree in planning-related field with
    knowledge of GIS and its applications preferred. Must have solid public
    presentation and communication skills, have proficient personal computer skills,
    be detail oriented.

    www.ardc.org.

    Starting: $15.31 /hour

  8. #233
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Backstrom View post
    I have no say in this but I've always believed that planners were underpaid. I think the 30-40K salaries are ridiculous (IMO, low 50s is a good ideal starting salary)-- engineering interns make more than that, and don't even try to say that planners aren't just as valuable as engineers, let alone their interns..
    So much of it is regional. Local governments in some areas don't consider the position of paying competitive salaries to attract and retain"the best and brightest", but rather look at what other communities are offering. Low-50s is the norm for mid-level planners in Upstate New York, and on the high side for Pennsylvania. A PD position for a fairly large UNY city was recently advertised, with the offered salary in the mid-50s. Here's a posting for a PD for an exurban suburb.



    Upstate New York can be bizarro world when it comes to local government salaries. In this part of the country, if you look at published public payrolls of municipal and government workers, the top earners will be cops and firefighters, followed by teachers. Laborers make decent money compared to elsewhere, in part because it's a highly unionized state. Even low level local government workers in UNY tend to make decent living wages. However, planners will make a lot less compared to elsewhere.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  9. #234
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by paiste13 View post
    Arrowhead Development Commission - Duluth MN

    Minimum Qualifications: Bachelorís degree in planning-related field with
    knowledge of GIS and its applications preferred. Must have solid public
    presentation and communication skills, have proficient personal computer skills,
    be detail oriented.

    www.ardc.org.

    Starting: $15.31 /hour
    FWIW, RT earns that as an intern...at a non-profit.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  10. #235
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Full disclosure...I make less than the job I posted

    My beef is not with low salaries, but low salaries and requiring a BA/BS and two years experience. Or like the one I posted, a SP job that REQUIRES a Masters and 3 years. Who in the right mind would even...?

    I understand completely the 16-18/hr range for a BA with no experience. But I also understand that there are tens of thousands of unemployed geography, poli sci, planning, etc. BA's without jobs. If you don't require some experience, have fun sorting through 300+ applications...
    "The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

  11. #236
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by estromberg View post
    If you have an intense interest in planning, work towards getting onto your local planning commission or zoning board. Involved in planning without having to be destitute.
    This.

    The planning field tends to treat its practitioners poorly vis a vis other fields demanding a similar degree of education, experience, and time commitment. It asks too much and provides too little reward. I've met lifer planners who have a sort of Stockholm Syndrome about the job, and it's sad. I got out a few years ago, sit on a local board, and enjoy things a whole lot more from this side of the table versus serving in the role of blue shirt staffer/whipping boy/lazy government worker on the dole. Your mental health will thank you.

  12. #237
    Cyburbian jwhitty's avatar
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    Professional planners complaining about salaries without listing local/regional economies and student loan repayment rates makes my head hurt.

    You can end up with more in the bank and a higher material quality of life, than living in (potentially) fancier places.

    Case in point: Lansing, NY vs say Columbus, OH
    53k in Lansing is equal to 42.6k in Columbus, per Sperlings.

    On the flip

    53k in Lansing is equal to $100,106 in San Francisco, California.

    In Ohio, you can fill up a 457b and crush loans on the 10 year repayment schedule. In Lansing you're getting close to the maximum allotment to take advantage of PSLA, better stock up on the 457b to lower that AGI. In San Fran, that program is impossible with a comparable salary. Which location is more likely to afford the practitioner a house? Salary doesn't mean jack, unless it is tied to an economy.

  13. #238
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Location and pay scale is an issue. When I first started looking for planning jobs I found an entry level planner could make about $40k. I got lucky and pulled a local job in the Phoenix area for about $60, but I saw jobs in LA paying $40 which no one can live on. You would have to do a couple hour commute and the housing cost is outrageous. My last director had the same problem. He was offered a job in the Phoenix area for $100+ and one near San Diego for a similar pay. He just couldn't make the San Diego job pencil out for what he wanted. Personally I think I've been lucky in my planning career to stay around the $60k mark and being in rural Kansas my costs are fairly low.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  14. #239
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    This.

    ... I got out a few years ago, sit on a local board, and enjoy things a whole lot more from this side of the table versus serving in the role of blue shirt staffer/whipping boy/lazy government worker on the dole. Your mental health will thank you.
    This is my fantasy. Out of curiosity what field did you end up in?

  15. #240

    CIty of Houston Senior Planner

    Two years ago, we received job notices that the City of Houston was looking at hiring for a Senior Planner. What was great was that for a Senior position they only wanted three years of experience. The not so great? $16 an hour. At the time I was working at an internship in the Portland, OR area making $16.75/hour. It's more expensive here than in Houston...but not that much more.

  16. #241
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop View post
    This is my fantasy. Out of curiosity what field did you end up in?
    I'm at a community development nonprofit now, doing grant management and grant writing work. I still get to deal with planners on a frequent basis, since we have a number of the typical alphabet soup entitlements (CDBG, HOPWA, many others) funding our projects. Nonprofits can get a little crazy sometimes, no question about it - but it doesn't compare to the stress of the public sector fishbowl and having applicants scream "I pay your salary!" at you because you denied them a variance (yes, this actually happened to me).

  17. #242
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yup......

    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    I'm at a community development nonprofit now, doing grant management and grant writing work. I still get to deal with planners on a frequent basis, since we have a number of the typical alphabet soup entitlements (CDBG, HOPWA, many others) funding our projects. Nonprofits can get a little crazy sometimes, no question about it - but it doesn't compare to the stress of the public sector fishbowl and having applicants scream "I pay your salary!" at you because you denied them a variance (yes, this actually happened to me).
    I'm right there with you Machete......similar work and at a nonprofit (with GIS thrown in) It is very nice not having to deal with the public directly.....almost worth the 36% drop in pay
    Skilled Adoxographer

  18. #243
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by warderjack View post
    Two years ago, we received job notices that the City of Houston was looking at hiring for a Senior Planner. What was great was that for a Senior position they only wanted three years of experience. The not so great? $16 an hour. At the time I was working at an internship in the Portland, OR area making $16.75/hour. It's more expensive here than in Houston...but not that much more.
    Planning salaries in the Houston area are finally becoming a bit more competitive when compared to even a place like the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Houston is cheap, but not that cheap and as the area continues to explode in growth the rental market is really beginning to tighten up. I just landed a Senior Planner position in suburban Houston for 60k, 3-5 years ago you would have been lucky to get 50k for the same position. On the flip side suburban communities in the Dallas area were paying 40-50k for entry-level planners.

  19. #244
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    Planning salaries in the Houston area are finally becoming a bit more competitive when compared to even a place like the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Houston is cheap, but not that cheap and as the area continues to explode in growth the rental market is really beginning to tighten up. I just landed a Senior Planner position in suburban Houston for 60k, 3-5 years ago you would have been lucky to get 50k for the same position. On the flip side suburban communities in the Dallas area were paying 40-50k for entry-level planners.
    congrats mang

    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  20. #245
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Raf View post
    Off-topic:


    congrats mang

    Off-topic:
    Thanks, it was a tough desision and I will take a bit of a pay cut going back to Texas but my $ goes a bit further in Texas than here in California. The gf and I loved California, but we realized we didn't want to get married and have kids while the family is 1,700 plus miles away. Plus heading back to Texas I anticipate that I can get a house in 12-18 months. All in all California was fun but as I approach 30 it was time to make some long term plans to settle down somewhere and California just wasn't it.

  21. #246
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    I'm right there with you Machete......similar work and at a nonprofit (with GIS thrown in) It is very nice not having to deal with the public directly.....almost worth the 36% drop in pay
    I left the Planning and Zoning Department as a GIS person to be GIS Coordinator for a water district. My background in planning and zoning made me a perfect fit when the ZBA had an opening in my town and I love serving on it.

  22. #247
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    Planning salaries in the Houston area are finally becoming a bit more competitive when compared to even a place like the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Houston is cheap, but not that cheap and as the area continues to explode in growth the rental market is really beginning to tighten up. I just landed a Senior Planner position in suburban Houston for 60k, 3-5 years ago you would have been lucky to get 50k for the same position. On the flip side suburban communities in the Dallas area were paying 40-50k for entry-level planners.

    Wow.. and I saw an ad a few months ago for a Senior Planner position in the tiny (but filthy rich) city of Poway, California, offering $160,000. I thought that was a bit exorbitant. Class warfare in planning salaries, I guess.

  23. #248
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    Wow.. and I saw an ad a few months ago for a Senior Planner position in the tiny (but filthy rich) city of Poway, California, offering $160,000. I thought that was a bit exorbitant. Class warfare in planning salaries, I guess.
    Oh here we go...

    commie planners
    "The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

  24. #249
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
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    I get $17/hr as a receptionist... but I'd plan for minimum wage if you offered it to me.

    (I'd be homeless in a matter of a couple months though)

  25. #250
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    WOW

    WHAT???

    City: Anonymous

    Planner I

    Salary: $24,990 with major medical coverage for employee only (10% paid by employer)

    Typical Functions

    Oversees the recruitment, employment, evaluation, and release of staff and contract personnel.
    Supervises all organization staff, either directly or indirectly through senior staff
    Develops organization-wide or department-wide goals, objectives, policies and procedures
    Prepares division/department/organization operations budget
    Ensures that the Board of Trustees is kept fully informed on the condition of the agency and about any trends, events, or emerging issues of
    significance to the agency's success
    Report events and activities to senior management and elected and appointed officials
    Represents the organization on regional/local boards
    Implements General Plan or other planning projects
    Reviews all departmental reports and presentations
    Evaluates planning-related legislation and applicability to department projects
    Evaluates proposals to local governments for organization's planning consulting services
    Attends 11 substantial evening and weekend meetings per month

    Typical Knowledge

    Considerable knowledge of the theory, principles and techniques of the planning profession and development process
    Considerable knowledge of federal, state and local laws, ordinances and codes pertaining to a wide variety of planning topics
    Considerable knowledge of principles of personnel management, including supervision, training and performance evaluation
    Considerable knowledge of the methods and techniques of research and analysis
    Considerable knowledge of the principles of budgeting and finance
    Knowledge of real estate terminology, laws, practices, principles, and regulations
    Knowledge of computer applications including Microsoft Office, Internet applications, and GIS
    Fluent in Chinese, Khoisan and French Canadian

    Typical Skills

    Effective and persuasive leadership comfortable with all levels of staff, public and others
    Proven management skills and ability to manage day-to-day operations
    Strong written and oral communication skills, including the editing, oversight or preparation of technical reports, and the presentation of
    information to government entities and various committees
    Strong interpersonal and public relations skills to work effectively with various officials, staff, citizens and other customers
    Strong organizational skills
    Ability to understand and manage high-profile, sensitive or controversial political situations
    Strong problem-solving and negotiation skills
    Ability to exercise sound and independent judgment within general policy guidelines
    Must be able to write code in Cobol, Fortran, Pascal and Machine Code

    Minimum Qualifications

    This position level requires a PhD degree in planning, public administration or a related field and a minimum of 18 years of progressively responsible planning experience. Generally, eight years of experience must be in a supervisory capacity. FAICP Certification is required, or ability to obtain certification within one year. Preference may be given to applicants possessing qualifications above the minimum.
    Skilled Adoxographer

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