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Life As a Geographer

Position Description Study the nature and use of areas of the Earth’s surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants, and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.

List of Geographer Job Duties

  • Analyze geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales.
  • Develop, operate, and maintain geographical information computer systems, including hardware, software, plotters, digitizers, printers, and video cameras.
  • Conduct field work at outdoor sites.
  • Study the economic, political, and cultural characteristics of a specific region’s population.
  • Provide consulting services in fields such as resource development and management, business location and market area analysis, environmental hazards, regional cultural history, and urban social planning.
  • Teach geography.

What Every Geographer Should Know

These are the skills Geographers say are the most useful in their careers:

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Other Geographer Job Titles

  • Geomorphologist
  • Physical Geographer
  • Scientist
  • Earth Observations Chief Scientist (NASA)
  • Geographic Information Systems Program Director (GIS Program Director)

Job Opportunities for Geographers

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 1,500 jobs in the United States for Geographer. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 13.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 200 new jobs for Geographer by 2026. There will be an estimated 200 positions for Geographer per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Geographers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Geographer are Oregon, Missouri, and Georgia. Watch out if you plan on working in Wisconsin, Washington, or North Carolina. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Geographer Salary

The salary for Geographers ranges between about $50,720 and $109,900 a year.

Salary Ranges for Geographers

Geographers who work in California, Georgia, or Colorado, make the highest salaries.

How much do Geographers make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Arizona $69,730
California $85,530
Colorado $84,380
Georgia $79,030
Louisiana $81,160
Maryland $84,990
Minnesota $67,820
Missouri $76,320
Oregon $78,630
Texas $65,000
Washington $83,530

Tools & Technologies Used by Geographers

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Geographers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • SAS
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • Minitab
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • ESRI ArcInfo
  • Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE
  • ESRI ArcGIS software
  • Golden Software Surfer

Becoming a Geographer

What education or degrees do I need to become a Geographer?

Geographer Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Geographer?

Geographer Work Experience

Geographers Sector

Geographer Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Geographers employed by various industries.

Geographer Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Geographer may also be interested in:

Career changers with experience as a Geographer sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: Couleur via public domain (CC0)

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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