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Career and Education Opportunities for Urban Planners in Columbus, Ohio

If you want to be a urban planner, the Columbus, Ohio area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 550 people are currently employed as urban planners in Ohio. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 11% to about 610 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.

Urban planners earn approximately $26 per hour or $54,500 yearly on average in Ohio. Nationally they average about $28 per hour or $59,810 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Social Sciences, people working as urban planners in Ohio earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Social Sciences nationally. Jobs in this field include: airport planner, community planning and development representative, and transportation analyst.

There are sixty-three schools of higher education in the Columbus area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbus where you can get a degree to start your career as a urban planner. The most common level of education for urban planners is a Bachelor's degree. 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 Columbus 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.


Ohio State University-Main Campus - Columbus, OH

Ohio State University-Main Campus, 190 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210. Ohio State University-Main Campus is a large university located in Columbus, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 53,715 students and an admission rate of 62%. Ohio State University-Main Campus has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning which graduated one and four 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.


Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio photo by Xnatedawgx

Columbus is located in Franklin County, Ohio. It has a population of over 754,885, which has grown by 6.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Columbus, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbus cost $169,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, six hundred eighty-six new homes were constructed in Columbus, down from 1,008 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Columbus are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is accommodation and food services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 29.0% of Columbus residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbus is 8.5%, which is less than Ohio's average of 10.0%.

The percentage of Columbus residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Hebrew Baptist Church, Heritage Temple Freewill Baptist Church and Higher Ground Always Abounding Assembly Church are all churches located in Columbus. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Columbus is home to the Busch Corporate Center Industrial Park and the J C Penney Catalog Outlet Store as well as Nafzger Park and Lower Scioto Park. Shopping centers in the area include Indianola Shopping Center, Ohio Stater Mall Shopping Center and Shapter Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbus can choose from Drury Inn & Suites Convention Center, Best Western Clarmont Inn and Crowne Plaza Downtown for temporary stays in the area.