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What Do Geographer Do?

Job Description & Duties 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

  • Develop, operate, and maintain geographical information computer systems, including hardware, software, plotters, digitizers, printers, and video cameras.
  • Gather and compile geographic data from sources including censuses, field observations, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps.
  • Collect data on physical characteristics of specified areas, such as geological formations, climates, and vegetation, using surveying or meteorological equipment.
  • Analyze geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales.
  • Write and present reports of research findings.
  • Teach geography.

Things a Geographer Should Know How to Do

When polled, Geographers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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.

  • Research Coordinator
  • Environmental Affairs Corporate Director
  • Geomorphologist
  • GIS Geographer (Geographic Information Systems Geographer)
  • Imagery Analyst

Are There Job Opportunities for Geographers?

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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 200 job openings in this field each 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.

Average Geographers 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

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

How to Become a Geographer

Education needed to be a Geographer:

Geographer Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Geographer?

Geographer Work Experience

Where Geographers Are Employed

Geographer Sectors

Geographers work in the following industries:

Geographer Industries

You May Also Be Interested In…

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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