High Paying Jobs with a Geography Degree

Individuals who are interested in studying geography may want to consider career options that offer high salaries. This article looks at some of the most profitable occupations that require a degree in geography.

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Career Options for High-Paying Jobs with a Geography Degree

A geography degree can provide graduates with a range of knowledge about Earth, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and how mankind impacts Earth. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that the annual median income for all occupations in 2016 was $37,040, high-paying careers for those with a geography degree will be occupations that pay more than the median annual income and recommend the option of majoring in geography. This article looks at the 2016 median annual incomes reported by the BLS for these careers.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Postsecondary Geography Teachers $76,810 8%
Geographers $74,260 6%
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists $62,750 19%
High School Teachers $58,030 8%
Urban and Regional Planners $70,020 13%
Geographic Information Systems Technicians $86,510 (computer occupations, all other) 9% (computer occupations, all other)
City and Regional Planning Aides $43,190 (social science research assistants) 4% (social science research assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for High-Paying Jobs with a Geography Degree

Postsecondary Geography Teachers

Postsecondary geography teachers must have a bachelor's degree in geography, as well as a master's or doctoral degree in their field. They teach postsecondary courses in geography to students pursuing degrees. In addition to teaching students and evaluating their work they may also be involved in research. The $76,810 annual median salary reported for these professionals by the BLS makes this one of the most lucrative career options for individuals who study geography.


Geographers earned a median salary of $74,260 per year in 2016, according to the BLS. They may concentrate on researching Earth and it's geographic features (known as physical geography) or focus on researching cultural groups and issues related to mankind's relationship with Earth (known as human geography). Geographers engaged in research typically publish or present their findings. A bachelor's degree in geography is the most common way to prepare for this career.

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

Cartographers use geographic information to make maps and other types of materials. Photogrammetrists use satellites and other methods to acquire detailed information about regions of Earth and create maps that can be used in conjunction with GIS information. They must have a bachelor's degree and one of the recommended fields of study for these professionals is geography. The BLS reports the median annual salary for cartographers and photogrammetrists is more than $62,000 per year.

High School Geography Teachers

High school teachers who have completed a bachelor's degree in geography will be qualified to teach social studies subjects, such as geography, if they also earn a teaching license. Those without a license can pursue options to teach at private schools. They are responsible for instructing students in their assigned subjects, marking student work and providing supervision on school property. Their objective is to ensure their students acquire the knowledge needed to pass their classes and meet their graduation requirements. According to the BLS, the median salary for high school teachers was just over $58,000 a year in 2016.

Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners help determine the needs of their community and what types of developments should be approved to meet those needs. They may consider long-term development goals, environmental issues and costs when recommending projects. They enjoy a median income of more than $70,000, according to the BLS. Urban and regional planners usually need a master's degree and it's common for those interested in this field to complete a bachelor's degree in geography prior to pursuing graduate studies.

Geographic Information Systems Technicians

Geographic information system technicians specialize in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to specifically identify the location of geographic features. They use this type of data to improve the accuracy of maps and other types of materials and they work alongside scientists and update GIS database information. A bachelor's degree that includes a background in GIS systems, such as geography, can prepare individuals to become GIS technicians and these technicians earn high median annual salaries of more than $86,000 per year.

City and Regional Planning Aides

City and regional planning aides work alongside urban and regional planners and are responsible for gathering data that's needed to make development decisions. They gather the required information, apply for building permits and provide information to the public about proposed development projects. A bachelor's degree in geography can prepare individuals for this career. As of 2016, the BLS reported that city and regional planning aides earned a median annual income of more than $43,000 per year.

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