Online Urban Planning Degree Programs

Urban planning programs offer training in community structure and how to improve community organization for maximum efficiency. See what your program options are, how online courses are delivered and what you'll study. Explore the job responsibilities this degree program can prepare you for. Schools offering Land Use Planning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Study In an Urban Planning Degree Program?

Urban planning programs teach effective strategies for creating economic development, facilitating community discussion and implementing development plans. You will also learn how to analyze and plan for appropriate land use in new developments and redevelopment projects.

Because community planners often work with local officials and civic organizations, they receive training in leadership strategies to encourage cooperation and decision-making processes. Courses, such as business ethics and finance, are included in many programs to prepare you for possible business responsibilities. If you choose an emphasis in real estate, you'll also take courses in real estate law, market research and geographic information systems.

Skills Gained Leadership, analysis and development, resourcefulness, profitable and ethical decision-making
Online Degrees Partial online learning available
Online Learning Requirements Computer with updated browsers and high speed internet; self motivation
Career Outlook (2014-2024) 6% growth
Median Salary (2014) $66,940

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Is This Degree Available Online?

Online degree programs in urban planning are rare, although many programs do offer online classes. On-campus urban planning degrees are available at the undergraduate level, but are more common at the graduate level.

How Are Online Courses Structured?

Online courses typically have technology requirements, such as a computer, up-to-date browser and a high-speed Internet connection. Your instructors may use discussion forums, webinars, course websites and e-mail to conduct classes. You must be self-directed in an online education, keeping up with readings, assignments and other course requirements. Although many courses can be taken online, you may have to complete an internship with an urban planner working for the local government or business.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

As an urban planner, also referred to as a community developer or a city planner, you will evaluate land use, consider solutions to infrastructure problems and develop plans for community development and revitalization. It's important for urban planners to stay current on local environmental and economic concerns because they may be asked to help to solve problems related to these issues. Knowledge of laws and regulations concerning building and zoning codes is also essential. Urban planners develop plans regarding recreational facilities, airports, libraries, public transportation, hospitals, landfills, school building, roads and public housing.

Because this field is so broad, many urban planners specialize in one or two particular areas. Some specialize in community revitalization, which involves improving a region to make it more attractive to businesses, residents and tourists. Other planners focus on environmental concerns, such as conserving forests, preserving wetlands, controlling pollution and creating green environments. Other areas of emphasis to consider include code enforcement, transportation systems and urban development.

What Is the Outlook for This Career?

As the population continues to grow, urban planners will be needed to make the best use of available land, preserve historic landmarks and encourage environmental conservation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 6% employment growth for urban planners between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov).

Urban planners who hold master's degrees and are certified will have the greatest opportunities for advancement. Certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners requires fulfillment of education requirements, work experience and an examination (www.planning.org). Additional certifications in specializations are also available.

Salaries vary depending on the type of employment, level of education and certification. The median salary for urban planners in 2014 was $66,940, according to the BLS. Urban planners who work for local government earned a median income of $65,730 in 2014, while those who are employed by architecture and engineering firms were paid $72,490 that year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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