APA/AICP Planners Salary Survey Summary

The APA/AICP 2016 Planners Salary Survey gives current and comprehensive information on the compensation of "planners," that is, domestic APA Regular, Life, Faculty, and New Professional members employed or self-employed full-time and year-round as planners or in planning-related positions. It updates surveys conducted by APA and AICP every other year beginning in 2004. Unless otherwise noted, the base for the results includes only the 9,709 US respondents who indicated they are full-time, year-round planners.

Respondent Profile

The typical (median) planner is 43 years old and has been in the planning field for 15 years, with specializations most commonly in community development/redevelopment and/or land-use or code enforcement.

70% of planners work for public entities and 23% in private consulting firms.

62% of planners reported their principal place of employment is located in a city, another 22% indicated a suburb, 11% a small town, and 5% a rural area.



The typical (median) planner reported an annual base salary of $77,300 as of January 1, 2016; this is up slightly (4.4%) from $74,000 reported two years ago.

A large majority of planners do not ever bill hourly for their professional planning services (73%). Among the few that do, the typical (median) planner reported an hourly rate of $124 as of January 1, 2016.

Because very few planners ever bill hourly, the following details of compensation are reported for base annual salary only.

Not surprisingly, experience in the planning field correlates positively with salary.

Without accounting for other variables, the typical AICP member earns $16,100 more in salary than non-AICP members. When we control for experience, AICP members still earn a higher salary across the board but at narrower margins.

Another key variable in understanding salary levels is the nature of the employer.

There are also differences in salary by the location of employment.

Salaries vary significantly by region.  The top 20 states for median salary as of January 1, 2016, are shown.


While it is not large, a gender gap in salary still exists, with the typical male earning $7,700 more than the typical female.

The difference may be attributed, at least in part, to experience levels.

Salaries in the planning industry tend to be fairly equitable by race. There is virtually no difference in median salary between those who indicated they are white and others.


How to Access Full Survey Results

APA Members: Click here to log in and review the full salary survey results.

Nonmembers: If you would like to become an APA member, please click here.