Careers Involving Geography

People interested in geography can choose from several careers across different fields that involve the subject. Explore some of these professions and compare their median salaries and education requirements.

Career Options that Involve Geography

There are several different careers that involve some aspect of geography, which looks at the various characteristics of the earth's surface. Individuals in these professions may work with physical, biological or cultural features of different regions across the planet. Learn more about some of the available careers that involve geography here.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Geographers $74,260 -2% (Decline)
Geoscientists $89,780 10%
Surveyors $59,390 -2% (Decline)
Anthropologists and Archaeologists $63,190 4%
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists $62,750 29%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Careers Involving Geography

Geographers

This career obviously utilizes geography as geographers study the Earth and its physical characteristics on various scales. Geographers conduct their research using geographic data that may come from sources such as maps, observations and satellite imagery, which they then analyze with geographic information systems (GIS) to update or create new maps. They also present their findings in scientific reports and may even look at human geographic characteristics like culture and politics. Most geographers need at least a bachelor's degree to begin their career and may advance with a master's degree.

Geoscientists

Geoscientists also use geography as they study the Earth's past and present through its various physical characteristics. These scientists often conduct field studies to collect samples for analysis and/or perform surveys that they later use to produce geologic charts and maps. They may also help identify areas that hold different natural resources and present their findings in scientific reports. Geoscientists must hold a bachelor's degree and some may need a license to work with the public.

Surveyors

Surveyors use geography as they collect data from the Earth's surface for construction projects and maps. Their work requires them to measure various distances and angles to determine property boundaries and create maps or plots of a particular area. Surveyors usually give their findings to clients and government officials and may even be called upon to testify in court concerning legal boundaries. Surveyors usually need professional certification and a bachelor's degree.

Anthropologists and Archaeologists

Anthropologists and archaeologists may use geography to further understand the culture, physical characteristics, behavior and other human characteristics of a population of people in a particular region or area. The Earth's physical characteristics often dictate many factors involved in these human characteristics that anthropologists and archaeologists observe and research through artifacts and interviews. These scientists present their findings and may use them to advise governments and other organizations concerning the cultural effects their policies or programs may have in a particular area. Anthropologists and archaeologists need to have at least a master's degree in their discipline, as well as fieldwork experience.

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

Cartographers and photogrammetrists use geographic information to make new maps and charts or to update the old. Cartographers usually collect data from surveys, aerial photos, satellite imagery and reports to make maps that are used for environmental or educational purposes. Photogrammetrists use geographic information system (GIS) to compile spatial data that may have come from aerial or satellite surveys. Both professions usually need a license and a bachelor's degree.


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