A geographer is a social scientist who studies countries, regions and cities through the lens of their economy, climate, and topography. With their research, geographers are able to solve problems in many different areas such as urban planning, business, and agriculture. Geographers can work for government agencies and do environmental planning. However, many teach and do research at colleges and universities. Most geographers specialize in a specific area of study. This can range from economic geographers to climatologists.
A day on the job for a geographer can involve a variety of things. Most days, a geographer will analyze physical and cultural geographic distributions on a local, regional, continental, or global scale. A geographer will also create and modify maps or diagrams, record geographic information, and maintain geographic information computer systems.
To be successful in the field of geography, an individual will need to be comfortable with being outside for long periods of time, comfortable with computer systems, and doing research. The skills a geographer would need to have are: analytical, communication, computer, critical thinking, and writing skills.
Most geographers will need a bachelor’s degree to find an entry level position with the federal government. If an individual wants to work outside of the government, they will need to obtain a master’s degree in geography or Geographic Information Systems. If an individual wants to do their own research they will need to obtain a doctoral degree. Licenses are not required in the United States however, many positions require individuals to be proficient in GIS and there are specific programs that can help individuals achieve that.
The median annual wage for geographers in the United states was $85,430 in 2020. The employment of geographers is expected to decline one percent from 2019 to 2029.