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Career and Education Opportunities for Community Planners in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for community planners in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area. The national trend for community planners sees this job pool growing by about 17.8% over the next eight years. In general, community planners compile data from various sources, such as maps, reports, and field and file investigations, for use by city planner in making planning studies.

Community planners earn approximately $16 hourly or $34,670 annually on average in Arkansas. Nationally they average about $17 hourly or $35,650 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Social Science Technical, people working as community planners in Arkansas earn the same. They earn the same as people working in the overall category of Social Science Technical nationally. Community planners work in a variety of jobs, including: engineering technician, planner, and planning assistant.

The Fort Smith area is home to nine schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Fort Smith where you can get a degree as a community planner. Given that the most common education level for community planners is a Master's degree, you can expect to spend about six years studying to be a community planner if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Community Planner

In general, community planners compile data from various sources, such as maps, reports, and field and file investigations, for use by city planner in making planning studies.

Community planners participate in and support team planning efforts. They also ready reports, using statistics, charts, and graphs, to illustrate planning studies in areas such as population or zoning. Equally important, community planners have to ready, maintain and update files and records, including land use data and statistics. They are often called upon to conduct interviews, surveys and site inspections concerning factors that affect land usage. They are expected to ready, design and maintain maps and databases. Finally, community planners furnish and process zoning and project permits and applications.

Every day, community planners are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

They also have to be able to research, compile, analyze and organize data from maps and books for use in reports and special projects and serve as liaisons between planning departments and other departments and agencies. And finally, they sometimes have to inspect sites and review plans for minor development permit applications.

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

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Fort Smith include:

  • Social Research Assistant. Assist social scientists in laboratory, survey, and other social research. May perform publication activities, laboratory analysis, or data management. Normally these individuals work under the direct supervision of a social scientist and assist in those activities which are more routine.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Community Planner Training

Carl Albert State College - Poteau, OK

Carl Albert State College, 1507 S McKenna, Poteau, OK 74953-5208. Carl Albert State College is a small college located in Poteau, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,454 students. Carl Albert State College has an associate's degree program in Social Sciences which graduated eleven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified GIS/LIS Technologist: This is certification is for technicians who integrate a variety of spatial data sets into a GIS format designed for graphic output or analysis.

For more information, see the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - Imaging & Geospatial Information Society website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith, Arkansas photo by Infrogmation

Fort Smith is located in Sebastian County, Arkansas. It has a population of over 84,716, which has grown by 5.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Smith, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Smith are priced at $151,400 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred one new homes were constructed in Fort Smith, down from two hundred ninety-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fort Smith are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is food, construction, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 17 minutes. More than 18.6% of Fort Smith residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Smith is 8.1%, which is greater than Arkansas's average of 6.9%.

The percentage of Fort Smith residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 68.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Mallalieu United Methodist Church, Loves Chapel Seventh Day Adventist Church and King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in Fort Smith. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fort Smith is home to the Fort Smith Trolly Museum and the Fort Smith Inter-Faith Community Center as well as Riverfront Park and Kay Rodgers Park. Shopping centers in the area include Laville Shopping Center, Maybranch Shopping Center and Midland Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Fort Smith can choose from Patel P L, Westark Inn Motel and Stonewall Jackson Inn for temporary stays in the area.