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Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences

Geography Jobs


Get the Geographic Edge

Geographers study the differences in human activities from one place to another, assess human impacts and responses to the environment, and resolve vital questions about current national and international situations. Geographers also pursue more theoretical inquiry into the major problems of human society by examining spatial structure and processes using various techniques of mathematical and cartographic analysis of spatial phenomena, computer mapping, geographic information systems, and remote sensing. A typical and traditional problem in geography concerns human impact on the land. Air pollution, contamination of waterways, decaying urban areas, destruction of the landscape, and the like, can only be well understood by examining the interrelations of factors such as technology, population density, legal structure, affluence, cultural traditions, and environment.

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities in geography are diverse and employment prospects after receipt of the degree are excellent.  Employment opportunities include positions in business, government, and education. Federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Bureau of the Census, and Bureau of Land Management employ numerous geographers each year, particularly those with environmental or spatial techniques and analysis expertise.  State and local agencies employ geographers with specialties in many areas, including environmental geography, physical geography, health, cultural geography, planning, and spatial techniques.  Geographers with training in geospatial techniques such as cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems (GIS) are also valued in the private sector by a variety of businesses.

The geographer’s training in location analysis, social and environmental problems, and a variety of spatial techniques including remote sensing, geographic information systems, and computer cartography, make the geographer particularly valuable in the private sector.  Job titles such as geographic information systems manager, environmental planner, market researcher, and risk analyst are just a few of the varied positions held by geographers in business.

Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are approximately 300,000 geoscientists and 8.7 million STEM workers employed in the United States with average median salaries of $83,811 and $81,413 respectively. Both annual median salaries are well over the overall annual median salary of $35,080 in the U.S. workforce.
Over the next decade, the BLS projects a 14% increase in geoscience jobs and a 13% increase in STEM jobs. This predicted growth is a bit higher than the overall average growth of 11% for all occupations in the United States. Within the geosciences, the occupations with the greatest increase in jobs will be geographers (29%) and petroleum engineers (26%).
geography employment outlook