How to Become a Land Use Developer

A land use developer, also known as an urban or regional planner, develops the plans for the way land will be used. These plans will accommodate the anticipated growth of a community so that all important services and amenities are covered. The majority of land use developers work with government officials to complete their work.

Job Overview

A land use developer will meet with public officials and developers to discuss plans for development on a piece of land. They will analyze the effect of a proposed use on the environment and the economy.

Master's Degree
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
They will also do research in the field to analyze these potential effects. A land use developer will also look at the plans that commercial developers submit to ensure that they follow protocol and do not have an adverse affect on the environment or economy. The end goal is to see the community’s land put to the best possible use.

This job is an interesting mix of office work and field work. While much of the planning is done in an office setting, it does require the developer to spend time in the community analyzing the effects of a proposed development. This can keep the job interesting.

Requirements and Qualifications

The only states to require licensure or registration for land use planners are the states of New Jersey and Michigan. Planners can get certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners after meeting the organization’s criteria. This certification is not required. However, it does show experience and professionalism and can make getting a job easier.

Typical Education

The undergraduate degree for a land use developer is less important than the master’s studies. Most programs will accept students with a range of undergraduate degrees under their belts. Economics, political science, environmental design and geography are good fits for this program. The main caveat of becoming a land use developer is the master’s degree program you choose. This career requires a master’s degree from an accredited urban or regional planning program.

Steps to Become a Land Use Developer

To become an land use developer, you must first complete an undergraduate degree program, then be accepted into a master’s program in an accredited urban or regional planning program. Then you will need to gain one to two years of work experience in a related field. Public policy and architecture are common fields to choose. Part-time internships during your master’s program may be a way to get this experience.

Salary and Job Outlook

Land use developers earn a good wage. The median wage for this career in 2010 was $63,040, with the top 10 percent earning over $96,420 and the bottom 10 percent earning less than $40,01, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The technical nature of this job and its demand are part of what leads to this high wage. Those who work for state governments earn more than those who work for local governments, but land use developers employed by firms who working as independent consultants earned the most.

Job outlook for urban planners is also better than average. While all occupations are expected to grow at a rate of 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, urban and regional planers are expected to see a growth rate of 16 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As suburbs continue to grow and cities continue to expand outward, the demand for this career is going to continue to grow.

If you think a career as a land use developer or urban planner sounds intriguing, we can get you started on the right path. Fill in our online form for more information about this career option.

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