Human geographers: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
Human geographers analyze the organization of human activity and its relationships with the physical environment. Human geographers often combine issues from other disciplines into their research, which may include economic, environmental, medical, cultural, social, or political topics. In their research, some human geographers rely primarily on statistical techniques or quantitative methods, and others rely on nonstatistical sources or qualitative methods, such as field observations and interviews.
Geographers often work on projects with people in related fields. For example, geographers may work with urban planners, civil engineers, legislators, or real estate professionals to determine the best location for new public transportation infrastructure.
Some people with a geography degree become postsecondary teachers.
Many people who study geography and who use GIS in their work are employed as surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists, surveying and mapping technicians, urban and regional planners, or geoscientists.
- Education Required
- Geographers with a bachelors degree qualify for most entry-level jobs and for positions with the federal government. Geographers outside of the federal government may need a masters degree in geography or in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Some positions allow candidates to substitute work experience or GIS proficiency for an advanced degree. Top research positions usually require a Ph.D., or a masters degree and several years of relevant work experience.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 6% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Although certification is not required, most positions require geographers to be proficient in GIS, and certification can demonstrate a level of professional expertise. The GIS Certification Institute offers the GIS Professional (GISP) certification for geographers. Candidates may qualify for certification through a combination of education, professional experience, and contributions to the profession, such as publications or participation in conferences. The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing also offers certification in GIS. Candidates may qualify for certification with 3 years of experience in GIS, four references, and the passing of a written exam.
- Median pay: How much do Geographers make?
- $74,260 Annual Salary
- $35.70 per hour
Careers for Geographers
- Cultural geographers
- Economic geographers
- Environmental geographers
- GIS geographers
- Medical geographers
- Physical geographers
- Political geographers
- Regional geographers
- Urban and transportation geographers