What do Geographers do?

Occupational Outlook for Geographers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

“The median annual wage of geographers was $76,420 in 2014.”

Jobs and Careers in Geography (Association of American Geographers)

“Geography is unique in linking the social sciences and natural sciences together. There are two main branches of geography: human geography and physical geography. Human geography is concerned with the spatial aspects of human existence. Physical geographers study patterns of climates, land forms, vegetation, soils, and water. Geographers use many tools and techniques in their work, and geographic technologies are increasingly among the most important emerging fields for understanding our complex world. They include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and online mapping such as Google Earth.”

Careers in Sustainability 

Sustainability is a growing field, with job opportunities in the sciences, social sciences and the humanities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “although their specific career paths might differ, sustainability professionals promote environmental protection, social responsibility, and profitability.”

Salary Data for Geographers (Association of American Geographers)

“Using information from the US Department of Labor, the AAG has compiled data on a broad list of occupations (over 90!) related to geography. Using this online careers database, you can explore the diversity of career opportunities available to geographers, as well as retrieve data on salaries, projected growth, demand for key skills, and much more to guide your career planning. For each occupation, you can retrieve a description with related job titles, salary and trends data, as well as links for further exploration.”

Where Geographers Work (Association of American Geographers)

“Many geographers pursue rewarding careers in education; business; local, state, or federal government agencies; and nonprofit organizations.”

VIDEO: Careers in Geography (Association of American Geographers)

VIDEO: What You Can Do With Geography (National Geographic Society)

What is it that Geographers do? (article by Reginald Golledge)

ESRI’s Careers in GIS


Job Outlook (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Geography Career Outlook Graph

Employment of geographers is expected to grow 35 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 600 new jobs over the 10-year period.

More widespread use of geographic information system (GIS) technology allows firms to use geographic data to make better business and planning decisions. Job growth is expected to be fastest in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, as businesses and developers need geographers to analyze information and advise on topics such as land use, building or infrastructure location, or environmental impact.

Due to an increasing focus on environmental and sustainable practices, geographers are increasingly needed to understand human impacts on the environment. Geographic analysis will be used to inform developers and policy makers of sustainable business practices and ensure adherence to increased regulations.

For more information, see the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.