Summary of 2018 Planners Salary Survey Results

Respondent Profile

The typical (median) planner is 42 years old, has been in the planning field for 14 years, and most commonly specializes in land use, community development, and/or comprehensive or long-range planning.

72 percent of planners work for public entities and 21 percent in private consulting firms.

54 percent of planners reported their principal place of employment is located in an urban area, 32 percent in a suburban area, 11 percent in a rural area, and 2 percent in an exurban area.


The typical (median) planner reported an annual base salary of $79,000 as of January 1, 2018; this is up slightly (2.2 percent) from $77,300 reported two years ago.

A large majority (73 percent) of planners never bill hourly for their professional planning services.  Among those who do, the typical (median) planner reported an hourly rate of $122.50 as of January 1, 2018.

Because few planners ever bill hourly, the remaining analysis of compensation is reported for base annual salary only.

Not surprisingly, experience in the planning field correlates positively with salary.

Without accounting for other variables, the typical AICP member earns $17,000 more in salary than the typical APA member who is not AICP-certified. When we control for experience, AICP members still earn a higher salary across the board but at narrower margins.

Another key variable in understanding salary levels is the type of employer.

There are also differences in salary by the location of employment.

Salaries vary significantly by region. The top 10 states for median salary as of January 1, 2018, are shown.

The typical male earns $9,100 more than the typical female, an increase from the gap of $7,700 in 2016.

The difference may be attributed, at least in part, to experience levels.

While it is not large, a gap in salary exists by race. The median salary among those who indicated they are white is $4,000 higher than those who indicated they are a race other than white.

Full Survey Results

APA Members Only

Full survey results are available to and may be used by APA members only. APA members may not distribute survey results either in print or electronically.

Benefits Offered

Planners' Compensation Packages

What Comprises Annual Base Salary?

Employment and Work Environment Characteristics

A Portrait of Planners

Salary Survey Results Breakout Tables

Salary Worksheet

Planners Salary Calculator

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