What Can You Do With A Geography Degree

Alyssa Omandac

What Can You Do With A
Geography Degree

A Geography Degree helps you learn more about the physical features of the Earth and its inhabitants. Geography majors learn how to use geographic information systems (GIS) and conduct spatial analysis. These skills can be applied to a wide range of potential careers, including Cartography, Conservation, Environmental Consultancy, and Landscape Architecture.

Geography programs often combine classroom learning and fieldwork. Students frequently take field trips to study the geography of regions first-hand. During the final years of a Geography program, you may also accept internship opportunities or research positions to gain work experience.

Many universities offer a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geography. A BA in Geography tends to focus on economic and social elements while a BS in Geography focuses on natural elements.

Geography is a broad field, allowing students to explore a variety of career options. Here is a closer look.

Typical employers for Geography graduates

Government Agencies
Non-Profit Organizations and Conservation Groups
Oil and Energy Industries
Construction Companies

Landscaping Companies
Architectural Firms

10 Career Options

  1. Geological Technician
  2. What they do

    Geological Technician is often considered an entry-level position for Geography graduates. Geological Technicians support Engineers and Scientists when exploring natural resources or completing projects that may impact the geography of the region.

    Working as a Geological Technician involves administrative and support tasks such as maintaining lab and field equipment, gathering samples, and conducting scientific tests. Technicians may also create reports based on their findings. Find out more about what is it like working as a Geological Technician.

    How to become one

    Most employers prefer to hire Geological Technicians with at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography. However, some entry-level Geological Technician positions may only require a High School Diploma.

    Completing a technical program in applied science or a science-related technology may also increase your employability in this field.

    How much they make


  3. Cartographer
  4. What they do

    Cartographers collect, measure, and analyze geographic data to create updated maps and charts. The maps and charts updated by Cartographers may be used for regional planning, construction, engineering, or educational purposes.

    Cartographers draw maps and complete geodetic surveys using remote sensors. They also prepare digital or graphical versions of maps to make geographic data easier to understand. Find out more about what is it like working as a Cartographer.

    How to become one

    One of the most common requirement for Cartographers is a Bachelor’s Degree in Cartography, Geology, Surveying, or Geomatics. Some Cartographers also enter the field with Bachelor’s Degrees in Forestry, Engineering, or Computer Science.

    Some states require Cartographers to become licensed as professional surveyors. There are also professional certifications available to increase your employability. A common certification is the GIS Certification offered through the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

    How much they make


  5. Surveyor
  6. What they do

    Surveyors are responsible for precisely measuring property boundaries. This may include marketing boundaries for residential, commercial, or industrial developments.

    Surveyors often travel to locations and rely on known reference points to determine the location of specific features. They also research land records, land titles, and other documents before taking measurements in the field. Find out more about what is it like working as a Surveyor.

    How to become one

    Surveyors often need a Bachelor’s Degree to attain entry-level positions. Some universities and colleges offer Bachelor’s Degree programs that are specifically designed to prepare students for a career as a Surveyor. However, Geography, Civil Engineering, and Forestry are also suitable fields of study.

    Most states require Surveyors to work under supervision for four years before becoming licensed. The licensing requirements vary in each state. Some states may allow you to substitute work experience with advanced education, such as a Master’s Degree.

    How much they make


  7. Geographer
  8. What they do

    A Geographer studies the distribution of land and populations. They evaluate the geographic features of different regions and the impact of human activities. Geographers may work for government agencies or private businesses involved in construction or engineering projects.

    Geographers also tend to specialize in specific subfields, such as Physical Geography or Environmental Geography. Common job duties include collecting and analyzing data and developing reports of their findings. Find out more about what is it like working as a Geographer.

    How to become one

    Geographers typically need a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography for entry-level positions at non-profit organizations or government agencies. Jobs outside of the government and non-profit sector often require a Master’s Degree.

    Obtaining a GIS certification through the GIS Certification Institute can also increase your career prospects and may be required for some advanced positions in this field.

    How much they make


  9. Geography Professor
  10. What they do

    A Geography Professor teaches courses in geography. Job duties include preparing and delivering lectures to students, evaluating students’ assignments, and moderating classroom discussions.

    Geography Professors may also conduct research and publish the results of their research in professional journals or websites. Find out more about what is it like working as a Geography Professor.

    How to become one

    The requirements for becoming a Geography Professor vary depending on the university or college. Colleges typically require at least a Master’s Degree and 18 credit hours of study in the subject to be taught.

    Colleges are more likely to accept Geography Professors with a Master’s Degree while universities tend to prefer candidates with a Ph.D. in the field that they plan to teach.

    How much they make


  11. Transportation Engineering Technician
  12. What they do

    Transportation Engineering Technicians, who are also called Civil Engineering Technicians, help Civil Engineers plan, design, and build infrastructure projects. They may assist with land development projects or the building of highways or bridges.

    The primary job duties of a Transportation Engineering Technician include reading project plans, coordinating with Engineers, and observing project sites to evaluate the work of contractors.

    How to become one

    Most employers prefer to hire candidates with an Engineering Technology certificate from a college or vocational school. A Bachelor’s Degree can increase your employability in this field while providing additional skills and knowledge.

    For example, you may complete the vocational training after earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography. If your coursework includes Engineering, Design, and Computer Software, you may be able to forgo the vocational program.

    How much they make


  13. Geographical Information Systems Officer
  14. What they do

    Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Officers work in a variety of fields including defense, meteorology, energy, transportation, civil engineering, and telecommunications. They specialize in the use of Geographical Information Systems (GISs), which are used to create detailed maps of the geography of a region.

    Common job duties include visiting sites to collect data from sensors and using software to compile the data and create maps or presentations. Employers use this information to assist with their projects.

    How to become one

    You need at least a Bachelor’s Degree to become a GIS Officer. GIS Bachelor programs are only offered through a few colleges and universities. Most GIS Officers start with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography or Computer Science.

    Voluntary certifications are also available for those with one to three years of experience. Two of the largest certifying bodies are the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

    How much they make


  15. Urban Planner
  16. What they do

    Urban Planners help develop land-use plans to create new communities or accommodate the growth of a local population. This job requires you to meet with public officials and developers to develop plans.

    Other job duties include reviewing site plans, conducting field investigations, and gathering data from market research and censuses. Find out more about what is it like working as an Urban Planner.

    How to become one

    A Bachelor’s Degree may qualify you for a small number of entry-level Urban Planner positions, such as an assistant or Junior Urban Planner. However, most employers seek candidates with at least a Master’s Degree from an accredited Urban Planning program. There are at least 71 programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB).

    The Master’s Degree programs accept students with a variety of undergraduate degrees. Common majors for aspiring Urban Planners include Geography, Economics, Environmental Design, and Political Science.

    How much they make


  17. Environmental Specialist
  18. What they do

    Environmental Specialists help protect the environment and the health of occupants in specific regions. They may work for government agencies, construction companies, and engineering firms to minimize the impact of their operations on the local environment.

    Job duties often include collecting environmental data, analyzing samples, and developing plans to prevent or fix environmental problems. Environmental Specialists also prepare reports and presentations to help explain the results of their research. Find out more about what is it like working as a Environmental Specialist.

    How to become one

    Entry-level Environmental Specialist positions typically require a Bachelor’s Degree in a science-related field such as Environmental Science, Geography, or Geoscience. Your coursework should cover geology, biology, chemistry, and physics. You may also take specialized courses in waste management or hydrology.

    A Master’s Degree is often needed for advancement positions. Students also need experience with computer modeling, data analysis, and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GISs).

    How much they make


  19. Environmental Planner
  20. What they do

    Environmental Planners assist with the development of engineering and construction projects. They analyze geographical data to determine the best location for new structures and minimize the impact of the project on the environment.

    Environmental Planners may work for construction companies, engineering firms, architectural design firms, and other companies whose activities affect the geography of the region. Find out more about what is it like working as an Environmental Planner.

    How to become one

    Environmental Planners require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science, Planning, Geography, or a related field. Many entry-level positions also require work experience, which can be obtained through college internships.

    A Master’s Degree in Environmental Planning or a related field of study is required for some positions, such as senior or managerial roles. You may also obtain the AICP CEP Certification, which is a voluntary certification that demonstrates your knowledge of Environmental Planning.

    How much they make