Salary Survey Summary

The APA/AICP 2014 Planners Salary Survey gives current and comprehensive information on the compensation of "planners" - that is, domestic APA members (Regular, New Professional, Life, Faculty) members employed or self-employed full-time and year-round as planners or in planning-related positions. It updates surveys conducted every other year since 2004 by APA and AICP.

The typical (median) planner is 44 years old and has been in the planning field for 15 years. Almost all (95%) planners indicated at least one area of specialization, the most common being community development/redevelopment (51%) and land-use or code enforcement (45%). Other common areas of specialization include transportation planning (30%), economic planning and development(25%), environmental and natural resources planning(24%), and urban design (21%). 71% of planners work in public agencies and 21% in private consulting firms. 62% of planners report their principal place of employment is located in a city, another 22% indicated a suburb, 11% a small town, and 4% a rural area.

The typical full-time planner reported a 2014 annual salary of $74,000; this is up 4.2% from the $71,000 reported in 2012, which exceeds the 3.2% core rate of inflation (CPI - all urban consumers) during the period.

Annual Salary

base: 9,032 full-time planners


The median (50th percentile) total compensation, including other cash compensation in addition to salary, is $75,800 in 2014, up from $73,000 in 2012. At the 25th percentile (25% earn less), total compensation in 2014 is $60,000, and at the 75th percentile it is $99,000.

Without accounting for other variables, typical AICP members earn median salaries $15,700 more than non-AICP members. When we control for experience, AICP members still earn a higher salary across the board, but at narrower margins.

Salary x AICP Status

base: 9,032 full-time planners


The strongest correlation to salary is experience:

Salary x Experience

base: 9,032 full-time planners


Another key variable in understanding salary levels is the nature of the employer:

Salary x Employer


base: 9,032 full-time planners


And the location of employment:

Salary x Area

base: 9,032 full-time planners


Salaries vary significantly by region (Census Division). This table shows the top states for median salary in 2014:

Top States for Median Salary

n 25% earn less 50% earn less 75% earn less
California 1,128 $76,600 $95,100 $123,500
District of Columbia 94 $77,800 $92,000 $114,300
Nevada 85 $66,000 $85,000 $106,500
New Jersey 186 $70,000 $85,000 $109,300
Hawaii 50 $63,200 $83,300 $114,500
Connecticut 113 $65,700 $82,000 $101,800
Washington 382 $68,000 $82,000 $100,000
Massachusetts 249 $65,000 $78,500 $98,000
New York 352 $62,000 $77,000 $102,800
Maryland 211 $62,000 $76,500 $100,000
Illinois 375 $61,500 $75,400 $100,000
Alaska 57 $63,500 $75,000 $97,000
Colorado 271 $60,000 $75,000 $90,400
Virginia 442 $58,400 $74,100 $99,500
New Hampshire 49 $56,000 $73,400 $87,400
Arizona 173 $60,000 $73,000 $92,500
Oregon 207 $62,000 $72,700 $90,000
Alabama 59 $56,100 $72,000 $87,400
Florida 692 $55,900 $71,500 $95,000
Texas 460 $56,100 $71,000 $90,000

The gender gap in earnings still exists, though it has changed slightly for the better in the last four years. For example, in 2012, females earned 88 cents on the dollar, whereas earnings in 2014 are up to 91 cents on the dollar. The gender gap grows with increasing experience:

Salary x Gender and Experience

base: 9,032 full-time planners


How to Access Full Survey Results

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The salary survey is for the use of individual APA members only. It is not to be distributed by any member either in print or electronically.

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