City and Regional Planning Aides fall into the Strong Interest Inventory® Conventional Theme Code Category. This Inventory has helped thousands of people over the better part of a century gain insights into their workplace preferences and personal strengths, and then leverage these insights to find the right career for them. The Inventory works on one simple principle: Success is not just about the environment or the individual, but about the relationship between the two. Some people thrive in strictly structured corporate environments, while others need flexibility to be creative. Based on this and other characteristics, the Strong Interest Inventory® sorts careers into six categories. The Conventional category, for instance, contains careers that involve analytical reasoning, logical thinking, and a close attention to detail.
City and Regional Planning Aides are one example of a Conventional career. This career involves researching, collecting and compiling data from many different sources, including maps, reports, books, investigations, and other documents, and presenting them in such a way that city planners can utilize them to make informed decisions about the planning and layout of specific cities. Most frequently, this includes creating and preparing reports that use visuals, such as graphs and charts, to display the results of planning studies, particularly as it relates to population, zoning, land use, and more. If a project involves the coordination among multiple different departments or agencies, a Planning Aide may serve as a liaison, ensuring that all communication is conducted smoothly and clearly. They also fill in any clerical gaps, including typing or proofreading documents, scheduling meetings or appointments, processing mail, and overseeing other forms of internal and external communications.
In some cases, City and Regional Planning Aides may need to respond to complaints, inquiries, or comments from the public, or provide access to information relating to zoning, project permits, and other regulations or application processes. They may conduct interviews or site inspections relating to these and other operations, particularly if they affect zoning, housing, traffic flow, or other city planning issues. Above all, Planning Aides prepare and maintain accurate databases which contain the most up-to-date records of statistics and land use data.
City and Regional Planning Aides use many different kinds of tools and technologies, some of which are staples in any office environment (e.g., desktop calculators, computers, projectors, photocopiers, multi-line telephones, etc.) and some of which are unique to city planning or research (e.g., digital camcorders, microfilm viewers, plotter printers, etc.). From a technological standpoint, Planning Aides need to be comfortable using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, such as Autodesk AutoCAD, as well as query software (e.g., dBASE, Microsoft Access, etc.), graphics software (e.g., Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite) and mapping software (ESRI ArcGIS, ESRI ArcInfo, ESRI ArcView, etc.). Of course, Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and various email interfaces are essential.
Most City and Regional Planning Aides hold at least a Master’s Degree (45%) or a Bachelor’s Degree (35%). Ten percent have completed some college. In these programs, they develop the city planning expertise and communication skills necessary to becoming successful Planning Aides.
Nationwide, just 1,800 City and Regional Planning Aide jobs are projected to be added before 2024. Even though Idaho, for instance, is projected to experience a 100% growth rate, this only increases the total number of jobs from 10 to 20. In Utah, projected to have a growth rate of 36.1%, only 90 jobs will be added. However, the median for City and Regional Planning Aides salary is over $40,000 per year, with Massachusetts and New Jersey leading the nation at over $53,000 each. In both states, the best-paid city and Regional Planning Aides earn salaries over $80,000. The same is true in Virginia and even in Louisiana. However, Louisiana also trails behind at the lower end of the salary range, with the lowest-paid Planning Aides earning just $16,250 per year with a state median below $20,000 per year.
Below are some employment trends for City and Regional Planning Aides:
- Median City and Regional Planning Aides Salary: $20.76 hourly; $43,190 annually
- Employment: 32,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): Average (5% to 8%)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 15,200
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org