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Career and Education Opportunities for Urban Planners in Las Cruces, New Mexico

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for urban planners in the Las Cruces, New Mexico area. About 240 people are currently employed as urban planners in New Mexico. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 13% to about 280 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%. 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 $22 hourly or $47,640 annually on average in New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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: planning director, master planner, and planner.

The Las Cruces area is home to six schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Las Cruces where you can get a degree as a urban planner. The most common level of education for urban planners is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Las Cruces 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.


New Mexico State University-Main Campus - Las Cruces, NM

New Mexico State University-Main Campus, 2850 Weddell Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001. New Mexico State University-Main Campus is a large university located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 17,198 students and an admission rate of 61%. New Mexico State University-Main Campus has a bachelor's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning.


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.


Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico photo by Yassie

Las Cruces is situated in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. It has a population of over 91,865, which has grown by 23.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Las Cruces, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Las Cruces are valued at $133,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Las Cruces, down from nine hundred eighty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Las Cruces are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 28.4% of Las Cruces residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.1%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Las Cruces is 5.6%, which is less than New Mexico's average of 7.5%.

The percentage of Las Cruces residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 77.3%, is more than both the national and state average. Mesilla Park Baptist Church, Greater Saint John Church of God in Christ and Valley View Baptist Church are among the churches located in Las Cruces. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Las Cruces is home to the Mesquite Street Original Townsite Historic District and the Walden Hall as well as Frenger Park and Preciado Park. Visitors to Las Cruces can choose from Scoggin Blue LLC, SpringHill Suites Las Cruces and Villa Del Telshor Apartments & Corporate Suites for temporary stays in the area.