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Career and Education Opportunities for Urban Planners in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for urban planners. There are currently 750 jobs for urban planners in Arizona and this is projected to grow 10% to 820 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for urban planners are expected to grow by about 19.0%. Urban planners generally develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of local jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, and metropolitan areas.

A person working as a urban planner can expect to earn about $28 per hour or $58,560 per year on average in Arizona and about $28 per hour or $59,810 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for urban planners are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Social Sciences in Arizona and not quite as good as general Social Sciences category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: transportation analyst, urban renewal manager, and sustainable development policy analyst.

There are seventy-six schools of higher education in the Scottsdale area, including two within twenty-five miles of Scottsdale where you can get a degree to start your career as a urban planner. Urban planners usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a urban planner if you already have a high school diploma.


Urban Planner video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, urban planners develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of local jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, and metropolitan areas.

Urban planners hold public meetings with government officials and special interest groups to formulate, design or address issues regarding land use or community plans. They also assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes. Equally important, urban planners have to layout, promote and administer government plans and policies affecting land use and transportation. They are often called upon to keep informed about economic and legal issues involved in zoning codes and environmental regulations. They are expected to inspect and evaluate environmental impact reports pertaining to private and public planning projects and programs. Finally, urban planners decide on the effects of regulatory limitations on projects.

Every day, urban planners are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for urban planners to mediate community disputes and help in developing alternative plans and recommendations for programs or projects. They are often called upon to advise planning officials on project feasibility, cost-effectiveness and possible alternatives. They also conduct field investigations, surveys, impact studies or other research to compile and analyze data on economic, social, regulatory and physical factors affecting land use. They are sometimes expected to develop or requisition graphic and narrative reports on land use data, including land area maps overlaid with geographic variables such as population density. Somewhat less frequently, urban planners are also expected to investigate property availability.

And finally, they sometimes have to recommend approval, denial or conditional approval of proposals.

Like many other jobs, urban planners must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Scottsdale include:

  • Economist. Conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to aid in solution of economic problems arising from production and distribution of goods and services. May collect and process economic and statistical data using econometric and sampling techniques.
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst. Study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.
  • Historian. Research, analyze, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.
  • Industrial Psychologist. Apply principles of psychology to personnel, administration, and marketing problems. Activities may include policy planning; employee screening, training and development; and organizational development and analysis. May work with management to reorganize the work setting to improve worker productivity.
  • Market Research Analyst. Research market conditions in local, regional, or national areas to determine potential sales of a product or service. May gather information on competitors, prices, and methods of marketing and distribution. May use survey results to create a marketing campaign based on regional preferences and buying habits.
  • Market Survey Representative. Design or conduct surveys. May supervise interviewers who conduct the survey in person or over the telephone. May present survey results to client.
  • School Psychologist. Investigate processes of learning and teaching and develop psychological principles and techniques applicable to educational problems.


Phoenix College - Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix College, 1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013. Phoenix College is a large college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,917 students. Phoenix College has an associate's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning.

Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University, , Tempe, AZ 85287. Arizona State University is a large university located in Tempe, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 67,082 students and an admission rate of 82%. Arizona State University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning which graduated eighty-two and thirteen students respectively in 2008.


Planning and Scheduling Professional: The PSP certification is to recognize specialists who meet a demanding set of planning and scheduling criteria by a rigorous examination, experience, education and ethical qualificaion.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Certified Economic Developer: Economic development organizations need professionals who possess the expertise to combat new challenges that emerge in a constantly changing industry.

For more information, see the International Economic Development Council website.

Certified Recycling Systems Professional: Earning this certification shows your employer and your colleagues that you are committed to only the highest standards in our industry.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.


Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona photo by Flyer84

Scottsdale is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 235,371, which has grown by 16.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Scottsdale, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Scottsdale are priced at $633,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, two hundred thirty-three new homes were constructed in Scottsdale, down from six hundred eighty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Scottsdale are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 44.1% of Scottsdale residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Scottsdale is 6.4%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Scottsdale residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Scottsdale is home to the Arabian Library and the McCormick Ranch Golf Course as well as Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt and McCormick Railroad Park. Shopping centers in the area include Los Arcos Mall, Park Scottsdale Shopping Center and Papago Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Scottsdale can choose from Hyatt Regency & Resorts - Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort, Doubletree Paradise Valley and Innsuites Hotel-Scottsdale for temporary stays in the area.