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Career and Education Opportunities for Urban Planners in Detroit, Michigan

Urban planners can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Detroit, Michigan area. There are currently 780 working urban planners in Michigan; this should grow by 7% to 840 working urban planners in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for urban planners, which sees this job pool growing by about 19.0% over the next eight years. 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.

A person working as a urban planner can expect to earn about $29 hourly or $60,540 annually on average in Michigan and about $28 per hour or $59,810 per year 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 Michigan and not quite as good as general Social Sciences category earnings nationally. People working as urban planners can fill a number of jobs, such as: urban designer, city planning engineer, and community development director.

There are seventy-three schools of higher education in the Detroit area, including three within twenty-five miles of Detroit where you can get a degree to start your career as a urban planner. Given that the most common education level for urban planners is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become a urban planner if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Urban Planner

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 Detroit 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Urban Planner Training

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Ann Arbor, MI

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, , Ann Arbor, MI 48109. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is a large university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 40,618 students and an admission rate of 42%. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning which graduated fifty-five and two students respectively in 2008.

Wayne State University - Detroit, MI

Wayne State University, 656 West Kirby Street, Detroit, MI 48202. Wayne State University is a large university located in Detroit, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 31,025 students and an admission rate of 79%. Wayne State University has a master's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Eastern Michigan University - Ypsilanti, MI

Eastern Michigan University, , Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Eastern Michigan University is a large university located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 22,137 students and an admission rate of 75%. Eastern Michigan University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning which graduated two and three students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.