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Career and Education Opportunities for Community Planners in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Community planner career and educational opportunities abound in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There are currently 570 working community planners in Michigan; this should grow by 14% to about 640 working community planners in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for community planners are expected to grow by about 17.8%. 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.

Income for community planners is about $14 hourly or $30,190 per year on average in Michigan. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $35,650 per year. Earnings for community planners are the same as earnings in the general category of Social Science Technical in Michigan and the same as general Social Science Technical category earnings nationally. People working as community planners can fill a number of jobs, such as: transportation planner, planner, and engineering technician.

The Grand Rapids area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can get a degree as a community planner. The most common level of education for community planners is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years training to become 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 Grand Rapids include:

  • 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.
  • 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

Calvin College - Grand Rapids, MI

Calvin College, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Calvin College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,171 students and an admission rate of 94%. Calvin College has a bachelor's degree program in Social Sciences which graduated two students in 2008.

Aquinas College - Grand Rapids, MI

Aquinas College, 1607 Robinson Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506-1799. Aquinas College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,159 students and an admission rate of 82%. Aquinas College has a bachelor's degree program in Social Sciences which graduated two students in 2008.

Grand Valley State University - Allendale, MI

Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Dr, Allendale, MI 49401-9403. Grand Valley State University is a large university located in Allendale, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 23,932 students and an admission rate of 78%. Grand Valley State University has a bachelor's degree program in Social Sciences which graduated two 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: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.