Urban and Land Use Planners

Occupation:Urban and Land Use Planners
Category:Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

About the job

Nature of work:

Urban and land use planners develop plans and recommend policies for managing land use, physical facilities and associated services for urban and rural areas and remote regions. They are employed by all levels of government, land developers, engineering and other consulting companies, or may work as private consultants.

Job duties:
Urban and land use planners perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Compile and analyze data on demographic, economic, legal, political, cultural, sociological, physical and other factors affecting land use.
  • Confer with municipal, provincial and federal authorities, civic leaders, social scientists, lawyers, land developers, the public and special interest groups to formulate and develop land use or community plans.
  • Prepare and recommend land development concepts and plans for zoning, subdivisions, transportation, public utilities, community facilities, parks, agricultural and other land uses.
  • Prepare plans for environmental protection, such as wildlife preserves, national and provincial parks, and protection of watersheds.
  • Present plans to civic, rural and regional authorities and hold public meetings to present plans, proposals or planning studies to the general public and special interest groups.
  • Review and evaluate proposals for land use and development plans and prepare recommendations.
  • Process applications for land development permits and administer land use plans and zoning by-laws.
  • Formulate long-range objectives and policies relative to future land use and the protection of the environment.
  • Supervise and coordinate work of urban planning technicians and technologists.
Sample job titles:
  • environmental planner
  • land use planner
  • licensed professional planner
  • municipal planner
  • park planner
  • planner
  • recreation planner
  • site planner
  • transportation planner
  • urban and regional planner

Familiarity with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is useful.

Job requirements:
  • A bachelor's degree in urban and regional planning, geography, architecture, engineering or a related discipline is required.
  • A master's degree in one of these disciplines may be required.
  • Membership in the Canadian Institute of Planners is usually required.
  • Membership in a provincial planning institute may be required in some provinces.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is offered by the Canada Green Building Council and may be required by some employers.
Other considerations:

Progression to management positions in planning is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. However, competition for positions may be low due to few qualified jobseekers. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Urban and Land Use Planners most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 79% of Urban and Land Use Planners who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $78,582. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Urban and Land Use Planners225Moderate growth20Low
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum: $17,526
Median: $67,506
Maximum: $109,569
Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology25,875Strong growth3,095Low
Minimum: $17.69
Median: $31.35
Maximum: $47.18
Minimum: $13,568
Median: $60,422
Maximum: $107,009
Urban and Land Use PlannersCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
Percent employed full-time94%94%
Percent self-employed5%7%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentUrban and Land Use PlannersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Bretonxx13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley6%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeUrban and Land Use PlannersCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4443
GenderUrban and Land Use PlannersCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
EducationUrban and Land Use PlannersCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax0.7%$28,107
High school4.3%x12.1%$35,125
Trades certificate4.3%x6.8%$54,923
College certificate or diploma8.5%x33.7%$52,476
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax3.7%$52,446
Bachelor's degree42.6%x29.7%$58,011
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax2.0%$54,917
Master's degreeN/Ax9.7%$37,706
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%$57,566
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Licensed Professional Planner
Right to Title:This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. The job title is protected (you may not use this job title without a professional designation). Professional designation shows that the holder has met provincial requirements for the job. Employers may require professional designation, however, you do not need professional designation to legally work in this job.
Regulating body:
Licensed Professional Planners Association of Nova Scotia
PO Box 29089
Halifax, NS B3L 4T8
Useful contacts:
Atlantic Planners Institute
35 Ascot Court
Fredericton, NB E3B 6C4
Tel: (506) 455-7203
Canadian Institute of Planners
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1112
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3
Tel: (800) 207-2138
Fax: (613) 237-7045

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:City/urban, community and regional planning
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply principles of planning, analysis, and architecture to the development and improvement of urban areas and surrounding regions, and to function as professional planners. These programs include courses in principles of architecture; master plan development; service, communications, and transportation systems design; community and commercial development; zoning; land use planning; applied economics; policy analysis; applicable laws and regulations; and professional responsibilities and managerial duties.
See all institutions providing this program+
Acadia University
15 University Avenue
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
(902) 542-2201
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
Program Name:Sustainability studies
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
Additional resources: