Geographers: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Geographers study the nature and use of areas of the Earth’s surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants, and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.

  • Create and modify maps, graphs, or diagrams, using geographical information software and related equipment, and principles of cartography, such as coordinate systems, longitude, latitude, elevation, topography, and map scales.
  • Analyze geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales.
  • Write and present reports of research findings.
  • Gather and compile geographic data from sources including censuses, field observations, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps.
Read more about what does a Geographer really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$80530 per year

Average hourly wage
$39 per hour

Geographers with little to no experience tend to make between $50720 and $63270 while the more experienced ones can earn over $96980 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
CA $41 $85,530
MD $41 $84,990
CO $41 $84,380
WA $40 $83,530
LA $39 $81,160

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Geographer is to move to a higher paying state like CA. Right now, the highest paying states for Geographers are CA, MD, CO, WA and LA.

However, a higher pay at CA doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at CA might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Geographer is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Bachelor’s degree

We asked other Geographers what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Bachelor’s Degree followed by a Master’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Geography, Other
Read more about how to become a Geographer and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Geographer.

Suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
Suitable for people who wants independence and likes to work on their own and make decisions
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
Very high salary (top 25% highest paid careers)
Not suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

69% of Geographers said they were satisfied with their job and 65% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Thinkers and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Learn more about Geographers

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