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Career and Education Opportunities for Urban Planners in Honolulu, Hawaii

There are many career and education opportunities for urban planners in the Honolulu, Hawaii area. About 440 people are currently employed as urban planners in Hawaii. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 9% to 480 people employed. 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.

Urban planners earn approximately $29 per hour or $62,210 yearly on average in Hawaii. Nationally they average about $28 per hour or $59,810 annually. Incomes for urban planners are not quite as good as in the overall category of Social Sciences in Hawaii, and not quite as good as the overall Social Sciences category nationally. Urban planners work in a variety of jobs, including: building, planning, and zoning director, community development director, and planner.

The Honolulu area is home to twenty-four schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Honolulu where you can get a degree as a urban planner. Urban planners usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be 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 Honolulu 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.


University of Hawaii at Manoa - Honolulu, HI

University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2500 Campus Road, Hawaii Hall, Honolulu, HI 96822-2301. University of Hawaii at Manoa is a large university located in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,169 students and an admission rate of 69%. University of Hawaii at Manoa has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning which graduated sixteen and two 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.


Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii photo by ErgoSum88

Honolulu is located in Honolulu County, Hawaii. It has a population of over 374,676, which has grown by 0.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Honolulu, 180, is far greater than the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Honolulu are accommodation and food services, educational services, and health care. For men, it is accommodation and food services, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 31.1% of Honolulu residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Honolulu residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 33.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Waiokeola Congregational Church, Daijingu Temple of Hawaii and Wesley Methodist Student Center are among the churches located in Honolulu. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Honolulu is home to the Livingston Pool and the Mamala Bay Golf Course as well as Spalding Memorial Tennis Courts and Kuhio Park. Shopping malls in the area include Aina Haina Shopping Center, Ala Moana Shopping Center and Aloha Tower Marketplace Shopping Center. Visitors to Honolulu can choose from Kosuga Inc, Hawaiian Condo Resorts Inc and Honolulu Airport Hotel for temporary stays in the area.