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Chicagoan strongly considering planning

Demian64

Member
Messages
9
Points
0
Hey Folks,

I live in Chicago and I am currently unemployed. I formerly worked as a Systems Administrator/Support/Web Administrator primariy in web. So you can see why I am out of work. I was never REALLY happy with the work except when I worked briefly as an Information Architect, a pursuit that is referred to by some as a the Urban Planning of the Web.

I find myself a little disenchanted with the whole field as you are always stuk inside and the work doesn't really present and socially redeeming opportunities.

I have a BA in Psychology and I've been drawing people, maps, trees, buildings and so on since I was a kid. My dad had hoped I would go into Architecture but obvisouly I didn't.

I am constantly talking about how communities ought to be set up, designed,, etc. And I've always had an interest in econmoic theory, community and interpersonal dynamics. So it seems like planning would be a natural choice for me.

I am considering UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) MUPP programs and find that it suits my needs quite well.

Could anyone here share the career outlook for the Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana tri-state area? I've looked at the salry ranges from several different sources and none of them seem to match up either. Can anyone provide a realistic number for entry level UP's with a MUPP?

So glad I found this site. The discussions look great and informative. GLAD to be here!!

Sean
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
Demian64 said:
Could anyone here share the career outlook for the Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana tri-state area? I've looked at the salry ranges from several different sources and none of them seem to match up either. Can anyone provide a realistic number for entry level UP's with a MUPP?
I've worked in both Illinois and Wisconsin. There are more jobs in Illinois but the atmosphere is nowhere near as enjoyable as Wisconsin (politics). You are right to get a masters. Get experience as well. It is a competitive market compared with the growth areas of the south or west.

As for salaries, they will vary quite a bit depending on city, suburb or rural community. The range is likely to be from the high 20's to the mid-30's for someone with a degree and little experience. With five year's experience it is a broader range; $40,000 to $60,000. That will largely depend on what you have done to make yourself an attractive hire. Some of the larger or wealthier communities will pay their senior staff and director very well; 80's and up. As they are very competitive positions, though, do not expect to get one soon.

When you consider pay, bear in mind the effect of cost of living. I saved $4000 a year on housing alone when I moved from Buffalo Grove to a larger apartment in Madison. Cost of living calculators say I would need to earn at least $40,000 a year more to enjoy the same standard of living in Chicago that I do in this small town. Of course, it doesn't factor in quality of life - I doubt I could find a 240-acre farm to move to in Chicago.
 

Demian64

Member
Messages
9
Points
0
What is the best way to get experience prior to completing a masters? Does construction work/surveying count? Drafting, etc.?

Thanks for the info!

My fiancee got her BS in Enviromental aspects of Biology from UW Madison. GREAT city. We've considered moving there in the future.

She's considering the MUPP as well and, as I've said, has her BS in Environmental Studies and a Law degree with a certificate in mediation and currently works for the dept. of Land Use for the City of Chicago. I would imagine that she would make more than an entry-level employee.
 

Lake_Country

Member
Messages
13
Points
1
Illinois-Wisconsin job market

You may have to gain experience in the South or West first. If you are persistent, love zoning, and work hard, the jobs are here. Wisconsin is a good place to get trained, but the planning jobs are a bit harder to get. Minnesota and Iowa are more receptive to planning in general. Illinois is expensive up north, but give living south of Joliet a chance.
 
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