Median Salary: $85,010
Salary Growth (2009–2015): +15%
Total Employees: 10,500
Change in Employees (2009–2015): +30%
Urban planners create and execute land development proposals for governments, developers and consulting companies. They must work and consult with a wide variety of people in their jobs, including social scientists, lawyers, regional authorities and special interest groups. Once a proposal is approved, they are responsible for coordinating the work of urban planning technicians executing their plans.
The direct pathway to a job in the field is to enrol in an urban planning program at university. Related areas of study such as geography, architecture or engineering may also allow you to enter the industry, while an additional master’s degree in urban planning definitely gives applicants an advantage in the labour market. Beyond education, urban planners must also have memberships in the Canadian Institute of Planners and the appropriate provincial planning institute in order to be employed. Some companies may also look for applicants with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, granted by the Canada Green Building Council.
The median salary of an urban planner in 2015 was $85,010. Entry-level jobs start at around $50,000, and compensation generally maxes out at around $100,000 for those in their late careers, according to PayScale Canada.
There’s been a hike in demand for urban planners from governments and developers in recent years, as land use issues have become increasingly complicated in both rural and urban regions. The labour market, however, has also become more competitive—the number of graduates holding a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning more than tripled between 2001 and 2011, while master’s graduates doubled, according to Service Canada.