Careers in Geography - Geography Careers

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What You Can Do with a Geography Degree

Geography careers can take many shapes and forms because of the natural diversity of an education in geography. Why is that? Well, it’s because geography contains elements of both social and physical sciences, which allows you to gain exposure to different perspectives in the analysis of the many environmental and situational problems of contemporary society.


As a graduate of a geography program, you’ll posses technical training in computing and skills in geographic communication, as well as spatial analysis and GIS. These are skills make you highly appealing to a wide variety of employers. This means that earning a geography degree gives you a fantastic opportunity to get a career in a diverse range of possible fields.





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Some jobs you may qualify for right after your undergrad degree. Other jobs will require further education and training, particularly those that demand a greater level of expertise in a certain area. Fortunately, as a geography graduate, you’re in a good position to pursue graduate studies in geography, or in other fields such as education, urban planning, natural resource management, law, or public administration, among many others.


So, if you want to know more about where this degree can take you, read on below. This geography careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers. We’ve also included geography-specific scholarships to help you pay for school!




Career Guides Related to a Geography Degree

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying geography at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.


Below, we’ve chosen careers that we feel relate to a geography degree, either because the subject matter of the degree relates to the occupational field, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained in a geography degree program. Please note, this is not an inclusive list:



Aerial Photographer

Agricultural Extension Supervisor



Census Geographer

Community Planner


Environmental Education Officer

Environmental Policy Officer

Flight Attendant


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist

Geomatics Plan Technician

Hazardous Waste Technologist

Helicopter Pilot



Land Agent

Land Manager

Land Surveyor

Map Editor

Map Librarian


Parks Planner

Project Assistant

Real Estate Appraiser

Real Estate Developer

• Regional Planner

Remote Sensing Technician

Research Assistant

Science Writer

Survey Technician

Transportation Planner

Travel Agent

University Professor

Urban Planner

Water Resources Specialist

Zoning Inspector


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.



Who Hires Geography Graduates? Where Might You Find Work?

Below are some examples of public and private employers with whom you may find work as a geography graduate (not an inclusive list):


Government Agencies


• Air Quality Control Office - Regional District

• Canadian Bureau of Indian and North Affairs

• Department of Transportation

• Military Geography

• Municipal Zoning Departments

• Municipal Government - Demographic Data Analysis

• National Census Bureau

• National Climatic Data Center

• National Defense Intelligence Agency

• National Geological Survey

• National Soil Conservation Service

• Provincial/State Geological Survey

• Provincial/State National Parks

• Public Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

• Regional Census Bureau

• Regional Economic Development Office

• Tourism Bureau



Private Organizations


• Airlines

• Consulting Agencies

• Corporations - Business Analysts

• Corporations - Geographer

• Engineering Firms

• Insurance Companies - Data Analysis Division

• Newspapers

• Real Estate Brokerages

• Real Estate Investment Trusts

• Software Corporations - GIS Specialist

• Wetlands Conservation Organizations




Job Opportunities Related to Your Geography Degree!

Whether you're a geography student looking for a job to help you pay for school, or a graduate looking for an entry or mid-level job, our job board has opportunities directly and indirectly related to your degree.


Find Geography Related Jobs





What Geography Teaches You

Geography is the study of earth spaces and places. The field of geography is concerned with the patterning of physical and human phenomena in earth space. This includes examining the nature and depth of the impact humans have on our natural and social environments.


Geography degree programs are typically wide in scope, and aim to provide you with training in both the physical and social elements of geography. They also aim to teach you skills, such as GIS and remote sensing, that are necessary for you to succeed in future geography careers.


Geography programs must also enable you to examine the political, social and economic processes involved in shaping local and regional human landscapes. You can apply this knowledge in a variety of geography-related careers, such as those that involve analyzing demographic data.





Employable Skills of Geography Graduates

Geography programs can teach you a set of skills as well as a knowledge base that is unique to the major, and highly employable in geography-related careers. Some of these skills include:


• Ability to effectively use geospatial technologies, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), computer mapping, remote sensing and others

• Ability to use geographic concepts and skills, such as cartography, geographic information systems, statistics and qualitative methods

• Ability to understand the natural and social processes that form our environments, as well as the changing interrelationships between environment and society

• Ability to perform geographical analysis of social, physical, and cultural issues

• Ability to manipulate geographic data and working with maps, graphs, and diagrams, using related computer equipment and software




Sectors of Industry for Geography Careers

There are many sectors of industry in which you can find work that’s relevant to your degree. These sectors include:


• Cartography/Mapping

• Census Data Acquisition/Analysis

• Environmental Consulting

• First Nations Governance

• Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

• Geomatics

• Geotechnical Engineering

• International development

• Meteorology

• Natural Resource Management

• Retail Market Planning

• Urban and Regional Planning



Geography Graduate Salary

The salary you could earn as a geography graduate first entering the workforce can vary drastically, and is heavily dependent on the following factors (not an inclusive list):


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The type of job you have, and your level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have


Geography Graduate Salary Ontario: According to a study in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $45,427 CAD* is the average salary earned by Physical Sciences graduates, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2010.


*This figure is a composite of all graduates who earned a Bachelor’s degree in the Physical Sciences, not specifically for Geography graduates. Unfortunately, similar statistics for other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources.





Gaining Experience in Geography Careers Before Graduation

Pursuing an internship (for our purposes also known as a practicum, field placement, or co-op work opportunity) in career fields related to your geography degree is the best way to gain relevant work experience while you’re still in school. These opportunities allow you to gain professional competencies, while simultaneously offering employers valuable temporary team members.


An internship position can also result in being hired by the sponsoring organization upon graduation. If you’ve done quality work and made a good impression, chances are that organization will want to retain you on a full-time basis once you’ve graduated. They will already be familiar with you and your work ethic, and they will save a great deal of time and expense trying to recruit someone else.



How Do I Find a Geography Internship?

If these opportunities are an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you, or at least a variety of potential options presented to you. If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other geography department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.



Geography Scholarships

If you’re a geography major looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to geography, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations for Careers in Geography

To find out more about careers directly related to your geography degree, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Canadian Institute of Geomatics

Canadian Geophysical Union

The Canadian Council for Geography Education


United States

American Geophysical Union

Cartography and Geographic Information Society

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

North American Cartographic Information Society



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