Urban Planning is a tough field right now. Most jobs are in the public sector, with municipal and state/provincial governments. Since it is a non-essential service, it got hit hard by the recession, and it will take several more years to recover. The private sector (design firms) was hit hard too, because without money nobody is paying for new projects. The unemployment rate among planners is unbelievable right now. Things will probably look better by the time you graduate, but it may not be back at full strength.
As a result of what I described above, salaries are horribly low right now. A lot of people received huge pay cuts, and the salaries for new job postings are still VERY disheartening. This is something that might take longer to bounce back up (faster in the private sector than public). Some jobs offer pay as low as $30,000, which is insane. It needs time to recover, like all things.
So, the prospects are looking up for the future, but don't hold your breath.
Make sure you learn about what a career in Planning actually entails before you start your MUP. It's important to grasp both the pros and the cons of any career before jumping into it.
I suggest you sign up at http://www.cyburbia.org/ and lurk the forums. That's how I learned everything I know.
Human Geography student, considering urban planning myself.
· 10 years ago