2016 Annual Report: Career Services

In the wake of a major initiative in 2016 to expand career services to assist members, APA resources are becoming indispensable career development tools for members at all career stages, and especially for new professionals.

One sign that the word is getting around: APA's LinkedIn following increased by 20 percent last year and we are now one of the site's most-followed planning-related organizations. We provide information about APA activities, products, services, and job opportunities; APA members contribute content to inform their peers and gain professional exposure. LinkedIn drives followers to our website and opens another engagement channel with current and potential members.

Career Center

We added and expanded programs and established a Career Center on our new website.

Planner Profiles

These monthly interviews with APA members who have followed a wide range of career paths are helpful guides for students, new planners, and individuals who are considering a planning career or career change. Each Planner Profile relates how the member's career was shaped by a unique set of experiences, opportunities, and decisions. Profiles illustrate members' knowledge and professionalism, promote planning successes, and help others identify and research occupations that employ planners.

Planner Profile Podcast: Courtney Kashima, AICP, "My Career as a Small Business Owner"

Planning Career GPS

Through Planning Career GPS, experienced planners share tips and insights to help other members enhance their employability and move up the career ladder. Each bimonthly message offers strategic career management advice, trend alerts, and tips for acquiring in-demand professional skills.

Career Reality Webinars

The webinars in this new series—available to APA members only—offer practical advice on job searching and professional development for both new and seasoned planners. Members who miss the live events can listen later to online recordings.

During last year's most popular Career Reality webinar, "City Manager Versus City Planner Skillsets," AICP members Aimee Nassif and Drew Awsumb used live polling to tailor the content to the audience in real time. Their subsequent blog post — also one of the year's most popular — reflected what they learned and opened a survey to guide development of a session at NPC17.


The Career Center's expanded mentoring resources now include APA chapters' best practices. So far, the Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, and Texas chapters and the Sacramento Valley (California) section have contributed examples and tools. APA continues to provide mentoring information and resources to all chapters.

A Guide for the Idealist

AICP Fellow Richard Willson's ongoing blog series, A Guide for the Idealist, offers help for navigating the rough waters of early professional practice. His informed advice rings true for new planners trying to understand and manage their career journeys.

Resources for Job Seekers

Other new resources for job seekers include tips on networking, resumes, and cover letters from hiring professionals and an easy resume-posting interface in My APA.

Job postings continued to be strong in 2016. Employers posted more than 1,500 listings (and many listings advertised more than one position) from April 1 (shortly after our new website launched) through December 31.

APA Salary Survey

As it has since the first survey in 2004, the biennial APA Salary Survey achieved a very high response rate — 39 percent — among APA's regular, life, faculty, and new professional members.

Survey Snapshot

About 85 percent of respondents supplied salary data and indicated they are:

  • employed or self-employed; and
  • employed full-time and year-round; and
  • employed as planners or in planning-related positions.

A few factoids:

  • Nationally, there is almost no pay gap between less-experienced (i.e. < 20 years) male and female planners.
  • Among planners who bill hourly for their services, the median rate billed is $124/hour.
  • AICP-certified planners earn significantly more, on average, than non-certified planners.

Members are invited to read all about the survey and use the Planner's Salary Calculator (along with tips for using it).

In 2016, the typical (median) planner's annual base salary was up 4.4 percent, from $74,000 reported in 2014.

Only APA members have access to detailed resuls of the 2016 APA Salary Survey.

NPC16 Career Zone

Cheryl Cioffari represented the city of Islamorada, Florida at Employer Connection.

APA Career Services hosted 33 career-focused sessions at the National Planning Conference in Phoenix, offering guidance to planners from newly graduated to nearly retired. Also:

Employer Connection hosted 20 employers, including the U.S. Navy, San Francisco, and New York City. They conducted informational interviews with an estimated 250 attendees for as many as 50 open positions.

The Resume Clinic was booked solid throughout the conference. Volunteer members and hiring experts helped more than 150 attendees craft better resumes.

Mentor Match brought more than 100 proteges together with members who volunteered as mentors.

Look for these career services and more at NPC17.


Infographics by Susan Lee Deegan

Conference photo by Joe Szurszewski