Geographer Career

geographer-500Geographers help others use maps, charts, and other geographic data to make the best decisions possible. If you thought that the work of geographers was done due to having maps of just about everywhere, think again! Geographers assist in analyzing data, making sure that policy makers can provide services to those areas that need them most. From city planners to the Department of Transportation, the government relies on geographers to help its citizens every day.

The need for geographers does not stop at the border, however. Some of the most important work being done by geographers is related to diplomacy and national defense. From making sure that soldiers have the latest maps of the areas that they are operating in to helping delineate a hotly contested border, geographers are kept busy on the international scene as well.

Geographer Career Snapshot

The majority of geographers work for the federal government, though their day to day differs greatly. Geographers with the Department of the Interior may make frequent site visits to make sure that maps are up to date, while those affiliated with intelligence agencies may only learn about their areas of expertise through reports and other secondary sources.

Further details on a career as a geographer are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average geographer salary per year.


decline in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 35% have a Master’s degree.

Geographer Education

Geographers are required to have a bachelor’s degree, with coursework in geography and statistics. Depending on the type of geography being pursued, courses in natural science, computer science, history, foreign languages, and political science are also useful. The most highly paid geographers have master’s degrees, with some having PhDs and years of research experience.

Geographer Salaries

Geographers make just shy of $75,000 a year on average according to the 2015 reports. This is about average for a position that sees the Federal Government as its largest employer. The most highly paid geographers make $102,000 per year.

Geographer Job Outlook

Unfortunately, geography is a popular field for people to pursue, but there is a relatively small number of opportunities. The growth rate for geography positions is shrinking by 2% every year. While there are still opportunities, it is more important to be competitive than ever.

Geographer Job Duties

Geographers make, correct, and use maps, but they do so much more in addition to that. They couple economic and social data with those maps, helping make sure that services go where they are most needed. Outside of the United States, geographers help make sure that American interests are secure. In doing this, geographers rely on analytical skills as well as specialist knowledge of the regions that they are examining.

Geographer Skills & Traits

Geographer Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Geographers:Typical Work Activities:
• Reading Comprehension
• Speaking
• Writing
• Active Listening
• Critical Thinking
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Written Comprehension
• Anemometers
• Laboratory box furnaces
• Soil core sampling apparatus
• Stereo or dissecting light microscopes
• Water samplers
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Written Comprehension

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