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How much do you get paid?

mugbub

BANNED
Messages
67
Points
4
I'm making less than 40k a year after being out of school 3 years. Is this below average? How the hell do I make a little money in this profession? Oh and another thing- I'm not about to go back to get a Masters when it probably won't boost my pay. Where's the return on investment? Pay me more.
 

Ian Anderson

Cyburbian
Messages
41
Points
2
Get a masters in public administration, then you'll be able to make much more. Plus you're more portable: you could leave planning and get into education, utilities, etc.

But, if you like the degree you have, I'm assuming a bachelors, and you are making just below 40k after three years, then I'd count your blessings. Sounds like you've done quite well for yourself without an advanced degree.
 

Sarah

Member
Messages
8
Points
0
Private sector consulting firms generally pay higher, but they expect masters degree(s) for senior positions. Try getting a masters in a related field: landscape arch or engineering or business (an MBA will pay more, for sure)--you'll have a complementary education, opening more doors.

Of course, private sector work demands more hours, more flexibility and more creativity along with higher pay.
 

DesertDweller

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
Believe it or not, there are cities out there that actually will pay you better than the private sector. And many of these have EXCELLENT benefits packages in addition (paid retirement, ample holidays, sick time,educational benefits, Deferred compensation plans, etc.)

I work for a high growth desert city. I have been with the city for approximately 6 years and earn in the mid to high 60's (and have only reached the mid-point in the salary range!) Educationally, I have a Bachelors Degree. Experience-wise, I started with the city with approximately 4 years under my belt (my starting salary was in the very low 30s).

The work can be frustrating at times, but it is generally a very fulfilling as a professional planner. I am fortunate to work for a city where there is much activity for planning staff, and I am not just talking plan review. We do it all, from long range planning to census work to specific area plans (including mixed-use standards development).

My advice is to investigate the desert southwest cities. You will be pleasantly surprised!
 

kbm

Member
Messages
15
Points
1
$40K after three years with your bachelors? I think that's quite amazing, but then are we talking rural south or NYC or San Francisco? When I graduated with my Masters, I went into a government planning job making $25K in rural South Carolina, and had to take a second job to pay back student loans. It totally depends on your geography.
 

Lisa in Las Cruces

Cyburbian
Messages
27
Points
2
I agree. I make 38K with a bachelors, six years experience and AICP certification and consider myself to be doing fairly well. Again, it all depends on the cost of living where you are. I struggled with the Masters or no Masters debate too but now that I'm getting my MPA, I find it to be so valuable just in my day-to-day job functions that I wonder now why I waited so long! Anyway, like Ian said, the MPA is more versatile and since my getting tired of planning is no longer an IF but a WHEN (unfortunately), I need that flexibility.
 
Messages
1
Points
0
I practiced archaeology for a number of years before earning a graduate planning degree. As an archaeologist, I earned under $12K/year without any benefits -- I found myself "digging my way out of work," or employed as a seasonal with the Feds. When first considering the planning degree program, I asked a college department head if folks could find employment. He said half his students were currently employed in the profession, and the other half found work upon graduation. Ah . . . the right answer. My work as a planner has been in southern New England, where I took a public sector job in 1988 for $28K, and quit it in 1999 at $54K. I'm currently working as a consultant for $68K. During the interview with my current firm, I was told they looked at my resume because of AICP certification.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
33
In my community in beatiful suburban Milwaukee, a planner with a bachelors and three years experience would come on board at about $33,000 unless you're distinctly above the other applicants, then I might offer $35,000. I consider our cost of living to be fairly normal.

If you're in a region with "normal" cost of living, you're doing quite well. I have planners working for me that have masters and 5 years experience, and they make as much as you. However, our benfits are EXCELLENT and we have a top notch merit pay system that elevates these fine people another 5-7% above base every year (in addition to COLA).

I agree with Ian and 'not getting rich' - If you get a complimentary masters like Public Adminsitration and it'll go a long way for you. My salary increased 70% over two years once I finished my MPA. Return on investement? Oh yeah!

Another good reason for the MPA - there are so many excellent planners who can't manage people or policy - their skills are desireable and very practical but sometimes also very self-limiting. It defintiely sets you apart at promotion time.

PS: AICP is nice, but around here we don't pay much extra for it - $2500 a year if you are lucky.

Anywho, since you aren't looking for the advanced degree at this time, I'd say you're compensated quite well.
 

in the dark

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
In my office, our director and the finance person are the only people who know how much everyone makes. I don't know how much my fellow planners make, neither does my department head.

Jobs are advertised with no pay scale given, and pay negotations are strictly behind closed doors with the director.

Is this normal?? We're in the Deep South (SC), and pay tends to be low in our area -- something about the quality of life is supposed to be offsetting this...

We also have no idea what our boss does with his time. He's at meetings 4-5 days a week out of the office, but we never know where -- evidently it's none of our business. Is this also normal? My last boss was like that too.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
38
Hey, I thought we were all planners for the love of the job, not for the income (or lack thereof).

in the dark......our salary is listed in an unlocked file cabinet in our copy room. No secrets here.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,870
Points
38
Our salaries (for all town employees) are published yearly as part of the Town Report.
 

Mary

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
I believe that the salaries are technically public record. Most places I've work don't encourage you getting the info but they wouldn't stop you from getting it either.

PS my boss is always in a meeting or so it occassionally seems. I'm sure he's busy you just never really know for what unless you're called upon to do research for part of it.

By the way "I don't make Jack" I suspect you're not underpaid at all. Planning is not a way to get rich unless you own your own consulting firm or something and I suspect they. I HAVE my masters I've been out of school since 93 and even had a bit of work experience before that and I only make about 46K. To top that off my boss at one point implied that I was ONLY paid as much as I get because of my education and AICP.
 
Messages
8
Points
0
I work for a rural/resort oriented county in the West. Because of the resort atmosphere, Planners cannot afford to live in the county. I live 50 miles from work. The drive is not bad, actually quite nice once I get out of the city I live in and on the other side of the mountains. Carpooling also helps out. My salary is now at $39K. I started out as a planner in another western state at $23K four years ago, with a BS only and so far, no AICP....yet. As far as resort oriented communities, our pay is still below other resort communities, but for public sector, I think I am doing well.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,529
Points
55
That's about right, if you're in a part of the country with an average cost of living. Planners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have the lowest salaries; if you're doing development review in Harrisburg or Altoona, you're lucky to get $30K.

My salary is below normal for someone with my experience, but I took this position to become "more rounded" and get some department head experience, because it offered the opportunity to break out of the development review typecasting so many planners find themselves in. Still, I find I'm getting a lot of resentment from other municipal employees, because my salary seems so much compared to theirs.
 

planasaurus

Cyburbian
Messages
215
Points
9
I made 24K out of college with a masters. I could habe done a little better but I wanted to work for a specific City because of the very exciting planning that was going on.

40 K without a masters is very good. If money is the only reason for getting a masters I would suggest not doing it. You should have a better reason.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
34
It could be worse...you could be getting paid in Canadian dollars. I just figured out what I make in Yankee bucks and...gulp! Holy *&%!

Still, I guess money isn't everythin- ah, who am I kiddin'!
 

planasaurus

Cyburbian
Messages
215
Points
9
I Love Canada!

Yea, I thought about looking for a job in Canada about a year ago, but reconsidered after realizing that I would not be able to pay my student loan (in U.S. dollars).
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
28
lets see im 5 years out of school with only a BS in Geography and make just under 43,000.

Location, location, location

and being willing to take on the hard jobs and demand more pay.

D
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,398
Points
32
Re: 43K!

El Guapo wrote:
43K here allows you to live like a God!
That's right! 43K and I probably could save some money....
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
28
Re: 43K!

El Guapo wrote:
43K here allows you to live like a God!
Yha well in the DC metro area that is chump change. a tiny one room apt is just under or right at 1000 bucks a month.

The cost of living is out of this world, heck i gota pay 50 bucks a year for "dog tax" on 2 30 lb dogs with no working "parts"

go figure

*dreams of that law degree and the real money*
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
Points
29
I agree...

I lived just outside of DC in MD. Sucks. Set the way back machine to inflation and crime! That is why I only visit now. Come to the heartland - Corn is Fun!

Welcome to Missouri - Yeah we got cable!
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
33
Huh?

El Guapo wrote:
Come to the heartland - Corn is Fun!
Well we've got cows and cows are much more fun (ever see one run?). And when was the last time anyone went corn tipping?
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
34
43K U.S.?! That's like a billion dollars a year in Canadian funds. Still Toronto's pretty cheap comparatively...
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,985
Points
29
Another classic moment in time

bTurk, I bow before you. You are a God amongst posters.

"like for war?" OMG
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,529
Points
55
Re: $43K

That's the total amount of revenue sharing disbursement to municipal governments from the Province of Ontario in 2002.

"Let's doonlood the Queen E to Grimsby, eh?"
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
$47K w/ masters and 3 years exp.

When my husband and I got our first New York paychecks after moving back from SC, I literally got a little lightheaded to see how much our checks were for - almost double what we made in South Carolina, and that was even if you threw in the income from our second jobs at Books a Million and Blockbuster so that we wouldn't default on our student loans.
 

KanPlanner

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
With a Bachelor's degree in Education and Masters in Planning, 3 months after graduating from "Planning school" my first job, with little experience, was 48K...in Oklahoma(Cost of Living In Oklahoma is 87% of the national average)!! After 7 years of teaching I made less than half of the beginning planner salary! I love this profession!!!
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
my first job was in Peoria, IL i make 41k.

i've been out of school for 1.5 years and this is my second job, first one was for a planning/engineering firm for 36k.

cost of living here is 94% of the national average, although the stats i found were old. i'd say it's close to 98% now.

Ed
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Not enough...

42k + real good bennies.

But then, I get to live in the Cascades of Oregon. Cost of living is actually pretty low here. Much higher in Eugene or Portland.
 
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