Geographers study the physical features and natural characteristics of the earth's landscapes and atmospheres as well as the inhabitants of a particular region. Alternatively, they may study the political, cultural, religious, technological, and economic forces that shape the geography of human society. Geographers gather data through field work, surveys, and interviews and report their findings to employers that may include the federal government, scientific and technical services, and institutions of higher education. General job responsibilities of physical and human geographers include:
- Collect and analyze geographic data through field observations, maps, and satellite imagery
- Create maps and other visuals to represent collected geographic data
- Utilize geographic information system (GIS) and other technology to collect and present geographic data
- Create reports to present research findings
The BLS predicts above-average job growth for geographers, although the number of actual geographers will remain relatively low. Businesses and developers need information from geographers before investing in building and running a business on a particular area of land. Geographers can also help business' understand how their business and operations will positively or negatively impact the environment.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming a Geographer
For positions outside of the federal government, geographers will typically need a master's degree. Professors of geography will need a Ph.D. For some mid-level positions in government, businesses, and non-profits, candidates may be able to substitute work experience and GIS proficiency for a master's degree. The top geography research positions will require a Ph.D or a master's degree and extensive previous work experience.
Bachelor's and master's degrees in geography are available from several schools in online delivery formats. The University of Denver offers an online master's of science degree in geographic information science that combines advanced study of GIS, remote sensing, and global positioning systems with courses in human and physical geography. Some of the courses in that program include:
- Cultural Geography
- Environment and Development
- Topics in Physical Geography
- Introduction to GIS Modeling
Additional certification may help those without a master's degree or Ph.D qualify for advanced jobs in geography. The GIS Certification Institute offers qualified candidates certification as a GIS professional (GISP).