Cartographer: Educational Requirements for a Career in Cartography
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cartographer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and state licensing to find out if this is the career for you.
Cartographers create maps based on geographic data they collect, and this job requires a high level of accuracy. Cartographers typically have a bachelor's degree. Some states require cartographers to hold a surveyor's license; they may also earn voluntary professional certification.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||State license may be required; professional certification is voluntary|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||20% for cartographers and photogrammetrists*|
|Median Annual Salary (2013)||$58,840 for cartographers and photogrammetrists*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Educational Requirements for Cartographers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that a bachelor's degree in cartography, geography or a related field is a common requirement for professional cartographers (www.bls.gov). Often, aspiring cartographers can find an appropriate program in university geography departments, which typically offer a bachelor's degree in geography with a concentration in cartography. Some schools may offer a degree or certificate in cartography, and some graduate programs in cartography are also available.
Bachelor of Science in Geography with Concentration in Cartography
These degree programs may not focus entirely on cartography. Instead, students learn about the physical and human geographies of an area, which include the principles of cartography, interpretation of aerial photographs and data analysis. Students may use many aspects of this knowledge in their cartographic careers.
Certificate in Cartography
In certificate programs, students collect and analyze data while they learn to create maps. Students can choose from courses in Geographic Information System (GIS) applications, basic and advanced cartography and use of remote sensing equipment to map the environment.
Licensure and Certification Information
The BLS noted that some states require cartographers to be licensed as surveyors. According to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), each state may have its own licensing requirements. However, it's not uncommon for individuals to have to pass two licensing exams, one in college and the other after four years of work experience. Voluntary professional certification is also available.
According to O*Net OnLine, cartographers use information from surveys, photographs and other reports that they have gathered and created for the purpose of creating a new digital map or updating existing ones (onetonline.org). These professionals use global positioning systems (GPS), computer-aided design (CAD) programs and specialized mapping software to create maps for a variety of purposes.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The BLS reported that as of May 2013, the median annual salary for cartographers and photogrammetrists was $58,840. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of jobs for these occupations is predicted to grow by 20%.
Related to Cartographer: Educational Requirements for a Career in Cartography
- Recently Updated
Learn how to become a cartographer. Research the education and career requirements, licensure information and experience...
Learn about degree programs in geography and cartography, through which students learn how to conduct research and track trends...
Online courses in cartography are typically offered at the graduate level. Classes are geared toward students pursuing careers...
Cartography students at the master's level typically earn a Master of Science (MS) in Geography with a specialization in...
- Career Information for a Degree in Cartography
- Career Information for a Degree in Geography and Cartography
- Geomatics Degree Program Overviews
- Masters Degree in Child Development: Program Overview
- Associate of Multimedia Development and Management: Degree Overview
- MS in Nursing - Healthcare Administration: Degree Overview
- Library Science Degree Program Summaries