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Geographers Career

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.

What Job Titles Geographers Might Have

  • Environmental Affairs Corporate Director
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst (GIS Analyst)
  • Geographic Information Systems Program Director (GIS Program Director)
  • Supervisory Geographer

What Geographers Do

  • 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.
  • Analyze geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales.
  • Write and present reports of research findings.
  • Gather and compile geographic data from sources including censuses, field observations, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps.
  • Teach geography.
  • Study the economic, political, and cultural characteristics of a specific region's population.
  • Collect data on physical characteristics of specified areas, such as geological formations, climates, and vegetation, using surveying or meteorological equipment.
  • Locate and obtain existing geographic information databases.
  • Conduct field work at outdoor sites.
  • Provide geographical information systems support to the private and public sectors.
  • Develop, operate, and maintain geographical information computer systems, including hardware, software, plotters, digitizers, printers, and video cameras.
  • 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.

What Geographers Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

What Geographers Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

What Geographers Need to Learn

  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $74,260

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.