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Career Profile: Geographers

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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 1,600 people employed as geographers in the United States. The median annual salary is $85,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $53,630 per year and senior employees earn approximately $117,100 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • 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 such as 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.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
1,600
Annual Openings:
100
Increase in Openings by 2030:
1%
Annual Salary Range:
$53,630 - $117,100
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree