Environmental planners and urban planners have a similar focus. These positions evaluate land use and make plans for how to best use that land for urban dwellers. This can include evaluating infrastructure such as schools and transportation systems, housing, recreation areas, business areas, and maintaining green space. Habitat and wetland preservation and restoration, pollution control and monitoring, and other land conservation issues are also part of an environmental planner’s job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predict that land use planning jobs will grow at a faster than average rate for the next several years.
Environmental Planner Job Duties
- *Prepare NEPA documents and equivalent state documents such as CEQA
- *Process permits
- *Researching and analyzing land use issues
- *Conduct environmental assessments to fulfill NEPA and state environmental requirements
- *Develop and recommend biological mitigation for development projects
- *Test water, soil, and air for pollution
Travel to and from project sites plus office work is to be expected when working as an environmental planner. Much of the work is conducted outdoors in all weather conditions. Some weekend and evening work may be required.
Environmental Planner Careers Salary
Most environmental planners earn about $45,000 to $75,000 a year. Management positions can have salaries above $100,000.
Education and Experience Requirements
Most positions will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in environmental planning, urban planning, land use, environmental studies, or other related field. To advance in the field you will need a master’s degree or higher. To get started in environmental planning you will also need one to five years of solid experience with NEPA, (and CEQA in California), and land use projects. Environmental or urban planning positions are not typically entry level jobs.
The urban and environmental planning field incorporates many disciplines. Experience with computers, database software, GIS (geographic information systems), chemistry, environmental law, biology, architecture, geology, and statistics are highly desired skills for urban or environmental job positions.
Where to Find Environmental Planner Jobs
These urban planning careers can be found with state and local government agencies, as well as with private environmental consulting firms.