Find out what it means to be a planner and what it takes to become a professional planner.

The Profession

A profession is defined as an occupation requiring the mastery of a complex body of knowledge and specialized skills through a combination of formal education and practical experience, with its primary orientation to the community interest rather than to individual self-interest, and having a code of ethics.

Planning Career Fundamentals

What Skills Do Planners Need?

Successful planners need to possess a set of specialized skills that allow them to navigate through the complexities of the planning process. Find out what kind of skills a great planner possesses.

Where Do Planners Work?

Planners work in every state and around the world. They work in rural areas, suburban areas, and large cities. They are a part of federal, state, and local governments; nonprofits and real estate development companies and multi-disciplinary consulting firms.

Planning Specializations

Most planners perform their work in a field of specialization within the larger planning profession. Some planners spend their entire career within one of these specializations; others move between them or find employment opportunities that combine specializations.

A Typical Day for a Planner

Planners spend much of their time working with others. The planner's role is to help others see the big picture and to relate the project to a community’s goals and guidelines.

Landing a Planning Job

Visit Jobs Online, APA's searchable database of planning employment opportunities. If you're looking to hire a planner, you can advertise in Jobs Online or place an ad in Planning magazine.

Explore the salary potential of planning jobs in APA's Salary Survey.

Read summaries of typical job descriptions for seven common planning classifications, and get Job Tips for New Planners.

Read "Silver Lining: Planners find bright spots in tough times," from Planning magazine.

Associated Careers

Planners work in multidisciplinary teams and frequently work with engineers, architects, landscape architects, and economic development specialists. See descriptions of associated professions, including mandatory continuing education comparisons.