How to Become a Land Economist in the US

Land economics is an economics discipline that focuses on the use of land, natural resources and other public utilities. Land economists conduct research to find the best way to utilize these resources. They play an important role in preventing or managing a range of issues, including congestion in urban areas and depletion of natural resources. If you are a competent problem-solver with strong analytical skills, this profession needs you.

What do land economists do?

 Land economists perform the following duties:

  • Conducting feasibility studies on land development projects and crafting the necessary reports
  • Advising landlords and property owners on leasing and selling buildings
  • Partnering with valuers to determine the cost of pieces of land
  • Advising urban planners on the best urban development strategies
  • Advising property developers on the most valuable land development projects.

Work environment

Land economists typically work from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Although these economists perform some their duties in an office environment, they can also be found outdoors assessing land use.

The job involves holding meeting with property developers, land managers, government officials and other professionals. So you can expect to travel regularly.


Which are the highest paying states for land economists? Find out below:


Average annual wage

New York








Source: Salary Expert

Entry requirements

To qualify for employment as a land economist, complete the following steps:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in economics – This credential will not only enable you to be accepted into a graduate program, but also help you find work as an economist and gain some valuable work experience. It is also possible to get started with a degree in business, math, finance, statistics or real estate studies
  • Earn a master’s degree in land economics – This degree enables you to specialize in land economics.

Some of the reputable universities offering graduate programs in land economics include:

  • Texas A&M University, Texas
  • University of Wisconsin- Madison

Important qualities

To do the duties of a land economist successfully you need:

  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong report writing skills
  • Good teamwork skills
  • An understanding of the laws governing land use
  • Good planning and organizational skills
  • Good presentation skills
  • Skills in information gathering
  • An understanding of the real estate industry
  • Good math skills.

Career development

There are plenty career advancement job opportunities for ambitious land economists. But before you can begin making career advancement steps, you must gain vast work experience and pursue advanced qualifications such as:

  • Chartered Economic Policy Analysis certification, which is offered by the Association of Certified Chartered Economists.
  • A PhD in land economics – Only the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers this credential in the US.

Job opportunities

The employers of land economists include:

  • Local authorities
  • Government agencies, such as the
  • Real estate companies
  • Property developers
  • Land development consulting firms
  • Investment banks

With vast experience and a PhD, you can be hired as an economic policy analyst in government agencies, where you can also progress to become a policy manager. Although you could also move into academia, employment opportunities will be limited since only few universities offer programs in land economics.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of all economists will grow by 14 percent from 2012 through 2022. Given that this growth rate beats the 11 percent average for all jobs, you have every reason to be optimistic about landing a job as soon as you obtain all the required qualifications.

So if you are interested in helping communities make better use of land, you already know what it takes to become a land economist.