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Thread: Salaries in planning related fields

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Chicago, Buffalo is home
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    5

    Salaries in planning related fields

    I have followed Cyburbia for years as a business person with a strong interest in planning. I have reached a bit of a crossroads (time to pursue graduate studies even if I stick with business) and am seriously considering enrolling in a MUP program with a goal of changing career paths.

    This will sound pretentious, but I have always put a lot of pressure on myself to make a lot of money and have never thought of planning as a very lucrative field. Am I being unfair? Are their paths I could still pursue within planning if I am unwilling to sacrifice with regard to disposable income? What sort of salary ranges would I be looking at?

    Seeing as how I am new to the field, I would be interested in almost any suggestion and would be willing to pursue a variety of paths, including public, private, pursuing a phd annd teaching at the university level, or consulting work if it allowed me to get into the field on a full time basis. I am also thinking about going for my masters in business before revisiting these thoughts and would be interested to know if anyone has ever come across any MBA planners.

    I know this post is a bit off the wall but would really appreciate any thoughts that the community has. Thanks very much for your help.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
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    2,780
    I'm in the same boat. I, too, would like to "make money" in planning. There are a few options.

    1. Earn an MBA and/or MSRED and work for a developer. You can earn more money than someone doing "planning." However, these jobs have a higher degree of risk, and you are more likely to be axed first when there are downturns in the market. You can earn millions running a development firm.
    2. Earn a JD and practice land use law. Salaries can start from $150,000 and up.
    3. Earn an MUP, MArch, MLA, etc., work for a few years, then either make partner in a established firm or start your own consulting firm (I plan on going this route). Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to make it out on your own fresh out of grad school with this option (unlike starting a business right out of business school). Most clients expect a few years of relevant work when selecting clients. You also have to be very patient and make calculated steps: if you come across as being too agressive, it can backfire. Having just a few years of public sector planning work also boosts your credibility as a consultant. Salaries can range from $0 (a start-up) to $150,000 (running a small firm of 15 people) to upwords of $200,000 (running a larger firm). If you have a technical degree such as engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, an owner with controlling stock in the company can make in the mid 6 figures or higher running a mid-size firm in a larger city (50 people or more).
    4. Earn an MUP or MPA and eventually become a Planning Director or City Administrator (by far the most common route for planners). Salaries can range from $70,000-$150,000 depending on the size and location of the municipality. These are public sector jobs, so eventually you would reach a ceiling in terms of earning potential (salaries are deternined by budgets). The majority of planners don't go into planning to make tons of money. It is a profession that typically provides a working wage.

    I threw around dollar figures based on my own experiences. These will vary significantly by geographic area. I also based these numbers on better economic times. I'm sure some other planners may disagree with my estimates.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    CHICAGO, IL
    Posts
    5

    To nschmidt

    Hey Nschmidt,

    You seem to be very knowledgeable out the Planning field. I can't figure out how to instant message-email on this site-- so I was wondering if you could shoot me an email with your contact info-- I'd be very interested to hear your academic background/credentials? My email is: anandwisc@yahoo.com

    All your posts are appreciated!

    Sincerely,

    AJ

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