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Geographers study the earth and its land, features, and inhabitants. They also examine phenomena such as political or cultural structures as they relate to geography. They study the physical or human geographic characteristics or both of a region, ranging in scale from local to global. Most geographers work for the federal government. Many geographers work full time during regular business hours. Some do fieldwork, which may include travel to foreign countries or remote locations.
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Geographers typically do the following:
Geographers use several technologies in their work, such as GIS, remote sensing, and global positioning systems (GPS). Geographers use GIS to find relationships and trends in geographic data. GIS allows them to present data visually as maps, reports, and charts. For example, a geographer can overlay aerial or satellite images with GIS data, such as population density in a given region, and create computerized maps. They then use the results to advise governments, businesses, and the general public on a variety of issues, such as marketing strategies; planning homes, roads, and landfills; or disaster responses.
Geographers need a master’s degree for most positions. Those with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some entry-level jobs, but these often require previous geography experience or training in using geographic information system (GIS) technology.
Students usually choose to concentrate their courses in physical, human, or regional geography. Most programs include courses in both physical and human geography, statistics or mathematics, remote sensing, and GIS. In addition, courses in business, economics, or real estate are increasingly important as more geographers are employed in private industry.
Those with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some jobs in government, businesses, or nonprofits; some mid-level positions allow candidates to substitute experience or GIS proficiency for an advanced degree. Top research positions usually require a Ph.D. or a master’s degree and several years of relevant work experience.
Positions for geography professors require a Ph.D. Most positions require geographers to be proficient in GIS technology.
Geographers held about 1,600 jobs in 2010, the majority of which were in the federal government. Most others were employed in professional, scientific, and technical services; colleges, universities, and professional schools; and state and local government.
Many geographers work full time during regular business hours, and some must travel to do fieldwork. They often travel to the region they are studying, which sometimes includes foreign countries and remote locations, to gather information and data.
I’ve now entered the third and (hopefully) final year of my PhD and time is flying by...
A Geographer will use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Cartography to plot data relative to a physical location, and then develop a map or visual representation of the data, which can help people solve problems and make decisions.
What Are You Going to Do With a Degree in Geography?
Below is a sample of types of positions that Geography graduates have gone on to. Please note: this is not an exhaustive list, there are many careers available.
The five themes of geography are used in social studies and history lessons throughout the school year. You need to be familiar with each theme of geography, provide examples of each, and understand its importance.
Geography has changed from a "declarative" (or fact finding) discipline to an intellectual one dedicated to exploring spatial science.
Geography is the study of our world and the multiple human and natural forces that interact to create our dynamic planet.