Career Outlook

As cities around the world face a growing number of complex, multi-stakeholder development challenges, there is an increased demand for skilled urban planners who can address these challenges and shape the urban design and community development strategies of the future. In fact, according to the American Planning Association, most urban planners spend much of their time working collaboratively with others in order to find new solutions.

As the United States adds another projected 80 million people to its population over the next 40 years (2020-2060), nearly all of this growth will occur in existing metropolitan areas (U.S. Census, 2017). The demographic composition of urban communities will grow older and more diverse, requiring city leaders to invent new housing production strategies and entirely new modes of economic development and the production of jobs. 

On a global scale, populations in urban areas around the world are projected to shift from 50% of the world’s population to 75%, representing over 2.5 billion additional people living in cities. The list of megacities, those with a population over 10 million people, is expected to grow from 31 to 43 by 2050. “Many countries will face challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, transportation, energy systems and other infrastructure; as well as for employment and basic services such as education and health care.” (United Nations, 2018)

This section has testimonials from current students and alumni.

  • Headshot of Yinuo Wei, Alumna

    It's easy for students to communicate with our professors because the classes are small. My professors were caring and helped me by giving career advice and guiding me to find a great job at the World Bank.”

    Yinuo Wei, Alumna Master's in Urban & Regional Planning

These urban growth projections coincide with the need of all metropolitan regions to address human development and social justice goals, adapt to a changing climate, secure sources of water, deploy new forms of energy production, and find new ways to comprehensively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These problems cannot be solved by policymakers in the abstract; they need regional, place-based, and community-based solutions. Solutions cannot only be posited; they must be implemented and scaled. The need for urban planning professionals who understand the urban investment and development process is immense.

Greater complexity in urban systems and communities has spawned a new generation of public-private collaboration in cities. No longer are the job prospects of an urban planner limited to the local public sector. Graduates of the Georgetown Urban & Regional Planning program are working for technology start-ups, business coalitions, private consultancies, non-profit research and advocacy organizations, and all levels of the public sector.

As a result of Georgetown’s program, you’ll have the professional skills and interdisciplinary expertise that today’s employers demand. You’ll leave the program ready to make an impact through a variety of roles within the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.


Average salary of urban planners in Washington, D.C. —the highest in the U.S. $93,850 Where do people in this field work? Local government, excluding education and hospitals 66% Architectural, engineering, and related services 13% State government, excluding education and hospitals 10% Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 5% 46% Percentage of urban planners with a master’s degree Transportation SpecialistSenior PlannerMaster PlannerPlannerCommunity PlannerCity PlannerDeveloper AdvocateDirector of PlanningUrban PlannerRegional Planner Top titles within the urban planning industry:

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Planning Association, Sokanu