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Life As a Geographer

Career 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.

A Day in the Life of a Geographer

  • Analyze geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales.
  • Locate and obtain existing geographic information databases.
  • 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.
  • Gather and compile geographic data from sources including censuses, field observations, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps.
  • Create and modify maps, graphs, or diagrams, using geographical information software and related equipment, and principles of cartography, such as coordinate systems, longitude, latitude, elevation, topography, and map scales.

Geographer Required Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Geographers say are important on the job.

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.

  • Political Geographer
  • Environmental Affairs Corporate Director
  • Geographer
  • Supervisory Geographer
  • Physical Geographer

What Kind of Geographer Job Opportunities Are There?

There were about 1,500 jobs for Geographer in 2016 (in the United States). 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. The BLS estimates 200 yearly job openings in this field.

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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 typical yearly salary for Geographers is somewhere between $50,720 and $109,900.

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

How much do Geographers make in each U.S. state?

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

What Tools & Technology do Geographers Use?

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 kind of Geographer requirements are there?

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Geographer?

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Who Employs Geographers?

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Geographers work in the following industries:

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

Are you already one of the many Geographer in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: Couleur via public domain (CC0)

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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