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Top 15 Geography Degree Jobs

By Sherice Jacob

Published:

Geography degree jobs are more about knowing where all the countries are on a map. It’s about understanding the earth and its natural and man-made systems and how they work together. As a geography student or recent graduate, you may be wondering, “What jobs can I get with a geography degree?” Are there geography degree jobs that are fulfilling and have good earning potential?

The good news is that geography is a multidisciplinary field that opens the doors to a wide range of specializations.

Here are the top 15 geography degree jobs that illustrate just how deep and fascinating careers in this discipline can go:

  • Urban Planner
  • GIS Specialist
  • Climatologist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Transportation Manager
  • Hydrologist
  • Cartographer
  • Geographic Education Coordinator
  • Emergency Management Director
  • Remote Sensing Analyst
  • Surveyor
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Regional and City Planner
  • Sustainability Consultant
  • Demographer
degree guide geography

1. Urban Planner


As an Urban Planner, your work is at the nexus of public policy, community development, and spatial organization. This profession is focused on the development of land use plans and programs that create communities, accommodate growth, or revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

As an Urban Planner

In your role as an Urban Planner, you could be tasked with assessing community needs, identifying social issues, and working with public officials to develop responsive planning policies. You might prepare studies on land use trends, environmental impact, infrastructure, or housing needs. It may be your responsibility to meet with developers, residents, or businesses to explain planning proposals, gather feedback, or address community concerns.

Benefits

  • Holistic Perspective on City Development: Urban planners play a pivotal role in shaping the growth and design of cities. Through their work, they gain a comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationship between the physical environment, social dynamics, and economic forces, enabling them to influence urban landscapes in ways that cater to the needs of diverse communities.
  • Contribution to Sustainable Future: With increasing concerns over climate change, urban planners have the unique opportunity to incorporate sustainable practices into city designs. This not only helps reduce the carbon footprint of urban areas but also ensures the longevity and resilience of the city’s infrastructure against various environmental challenges.
  • Collaborative Environment: Working as an urban planner often involves liaising with various professionals, including architects, environmental scientists, and government officials. This fosters a collaborative work environment where diverse ideas and expertise are blended to create effective urban development strategies.
  • Tangible Impact on Communities: The plans and projects urban planners work on directly affect the well-being of countless individuals. Seeing neighborhoods flourish, parks being established, or public transport systems improving can provide a deep sense of accomplishment, knowing that their work enhances the quality of life for many.
  • Continual Learning and Adaptation: The field of urban planning is dynamic, with new challenges and technologies emerging regularly. This means that urban planners are always learning, adapting, and developing innovative solutions, making it an intellectually stimulating profession that remains relevant and forward-looking.

Working Conditions

Urban planners typically work in professional office settings, where they have access to the necessary tools, software, and resources to conduct thorough research and design plans for urban development. These offices, often found within government buildings, architectural firms, or consultancy agencies, are conducive to collaboration, as planners frequently engage in team discussions, meetings with stakeholders, and presentations. 

The nature of the job also sometimes requires site visits to survey land, assess the viability of a project, or gauge the needs of a community. These visits provide a hands-on perspective and an opportunity to directly interact with the environment they are shaping. While the job is largely a weekday, 9-to-5 position, there might be occasions when extended hours are needed, especially as project deadlines approach. Overall, the working conditions offer a balanced mix of desk work, field visits, and interactive sessions, making it diverse and dynamic.

Further Studies

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

Strong analytical skills are crucial – you’ll need to interpret and distill complex data into understandable plans and presentations. Your problem-solving ability will help you address community needs and navigate obstacles. Communication skills are vital too, for presenting proposals, engaging with the community, and collaborating with colleagues. It’s also beneficial to have a solid grasp of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to aid in spatial analysis and visualization.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($78,500)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

The median annual wage for urban and regional planners was $78,500 in May 2021. Employment of urban and regional planners is projected to grow 4% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


2. GIS Specialist


As a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist, you’d be at the forefront of capturing, analyzing, and managing geographical data. You’d play a crucial role in transforming raw data into useful information that influences various sectors such as urban planning, environmental science, transportation, and more.

As a GIS Specialist

In your role as a GIS Specialist, you could be tasked with creating maps and graphs, using GIS software and related equipment. You might conduct spatial analysis and manage data to serve various projects and purposes. You’d be working closely with other professionals to integrate their data and needs into GIS. It may also be your responsibility to troubleshoot and maintain the integrity of GIS data and systems.

Benefits

  • You have a direct impact on decision-making processes in various sectors.
  • The role offers excellent opportunities for growth and advancement.
  • You can engage with cutting-edge technology and software.

Working Conditions

GIS specialists typically operate in well-equipped office environments that provide them with access to advanced software and high-performance computing tools necessary for data analysis and map creation. These offices are often quiet and conducive to focused work, allowing specialists to delve deep into their projects. Collaborative efforts are common in the profession, meaning that many GIS specialists frequently engage with team members, other departments, or external clients to gather requirements or present their findings.

In addition to desk work, there may be occasions when fieldwork is required to collect data or validate existing datasets. This mix of indoor computer-based tasks and occasional outdoor assignments ensures that the role remains varied and engaging. The regularity of work hours tends to follow the traditional weekday structure, but like many professions, there might be periods of increased workload where additional hours are necessary to meet project milestones.

Overall, the working conditions for GIS specialists offer a blend of technological interaction, analytical challenges, and opportunities for professional collaboration.

Further Studies

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

Being a GIS Specialist requires strong technical skills, particularly in GIS software like ArcGIS. Analytical skills are crucial for interpreting geographical data and spatial relationships. Problem-solving skills are important for identifying issues in data and systems, and communication skills will help you effectively collaborate with team members and explain your findings. A solid understanding of database systems and data integrity is also beneficial.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($85,220)

The median annual wage for GIS specialists was $85,220 in May 2021. Employment of GIS specialists is projected to show little or no change from 2021 to 2031.


3. Climatologist


As a Climatologist, you’d engage in the scientific study of climate, examining weather patterns averaged over a significant period of time. You’d play an instrumental role in understanding the earth’s climate system and how it’s changing, contributing crucial insights for policy-making, environmental protection, and disaster management.

As a Climatologist

In your role as a Climatologist, you might gather and analyze weather data from various sources, like weather stations and satellites. You could be tasked with developing climate models to predict future climate trends, or studying past climate conditions to understand long-term patterns. Your research could help in understanding and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Benefits

  • Direct Contribution to Global Understanding: Climatologists play an essential role in understanding the Earth’s climate system. Their research and findings significantly contribute to the global comprehension of weather patterns, climate change, and long-term atmospheric variations, providing invaluable insights for policy decisions and public awareness.
  • Opportunity for Tangible Impact: By studying and predicting climatic changes, climatologists can influence policies and strategies related to environmental conservation, urban planning, and disaster preparedness. Their work directly aids in creating a sustainable future and mitigating potential climate-related challenges.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Climatology often intersects with various fields such as oceanography, ecology, and geology. This means climatologists frequently collaborate with experts from diverse scientific backgrounds, enriching their research perspectives and fostering a dynamic work environment.
  • Continuous Learning and Technological Engagement: The field of climatology is ever-evolving with the advent of new research methods and technological tools. This offers professionals an opportunity to continuously learn and utilize cutting-edge technology, from satellite systems to advanced climate modeling software, keeping their work exciting and innovative.
  • Global Relevance and Recognition: As the world grapples with the challenges posed by climate change, the expertise of climatologists has never been more critical. Their research holds global significance, and their insights are sought after by governments, NGOs, and international organizations, ensuring that their contributions are recognized and impactful on a worldwide scale.

Working Conditions

Climatologists often find themselves in dynamic and multifaceted working environments that range from modern laboratories and offices to field locations. In the office, they have access to state-of-the-art technology and software, enabling them to process data, run simulations, and collaborate with peers. The office setting also allows for regular interactions with other scientists, fostering a collaborative and enriching atmosphere where knowledge is shared and hypotheses are discussed. 

On the other hand, fieldwork can take them to a variety of locations, from remote polar regions to dense rainforests, offering a hands-on experience and a deep connection with the natural world they study. These field excursions not only provide invaluable data but also break the monotony of desk work, offering variety in their professional routine. 

Moreover, with the global emphasis on understanding and mitigating climate change, climatologists often find themselves engaged in interdisciplinary projects, workshops, and conferences, which further broadens their network and exposure to diverse perspectives. The working conditions for climatologists are a balanced mix of technical research, collaborative discourse, and adventurous fieldwork, making it a continually engaging and impactful profession.

Further Studies

  • Master’s or PhD in Climatology or a related field, particularly for research-oriented roles.
  • Additional training or certification in areas like GIS or climate modeling can be beneficial.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

Being a Climatologist requires strong analytical skills for interpreting complex weather data. You’d need a strong background in mathematics and physics to understand climate models. Proficiency in using specialized software for data analysis and modeling is a must. Good communication skills are also important for presenting your findings and collaborating with other scientists.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($94,570)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places climatologist under the broader category of atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists. With this in mind, the median annual wage for climatologists was $94,570 in May 2021. Employment is is projected to grow 4% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


4. Environmental Consultant


As an Environmental Consultant, you’d provide advice and solutions to organizations seeking to manage their environmental impact, comply with regulations, and improve their sustainability practices. Your work would be crucial for businesses and governments aiming to balance their operations with environmental stewardship.

As an Environmental Consultant

In your role as an Environmental Consultant, you could be assessing the environmental impact of a site or an organization’s operations. You might help design, implement, and monitor environmental management systems or advise on regulatory compliance. You could also be tasked with conducting environmental audits or developing sustainability policies and strategies.

Benefits

  • Direct Contribution to Environmental Protection: Environmental consultants play a vital role in identifying, evaluating, and mitigating potential environmental risks. Their expertise ensures that businesses and organizations operate in an eco-friendly manner, directly contributing to the preservation and betterment of our natural surroundings.
  • Diverse Range of Projects: Given the varied nature of environmental challenges, consultants often engage in a wide spectrum of projects, ranging from soil contamination assessments to wildlife habitat preservation. This diversity ensures that their work remains fresh, challenging, and continuously engaging.
  • Interdisciplinary Interactions: Environmental consultancy often bridges the gap between science, business, and regulatory frameworks. This means consultants frequently liaise with professionals from diverse backgrounds, such as biologists, engineers, corporate leaders, and policymakers, enriching their professional network and broadening their perspective.
  • Continuous Learning and Professional Growth: The field of environmental science is ever-evolving with the emergence of new research, technologies, and regulations. As consultants, professionals are always on their toes, staying updated with the latest trends, methodologies, and best practices, ensuring their knowledge remains current and valuable.
  • Tangible Positive Impact: An environmental consultant’s recommendations can lead to tangible improvements in an area’s ecological health or a company’s sustainability practices. Witnessing the direct positive effects of their advice on the environment and communities offers a profound sense of accomplishment and purpose in their work.

Working Conditions

Environmental consultants typically operate in a harmonious blend of office settings and field locations. In their offices, they typically have access to sophisticated tools and databases that allow them to analyze data, draft reports, and design sustainable solutions for their clients. This workspace is often conducive to focused research, allowing for deep dives into complex environmental issues.

Collaboration is at the heart of their profession, leading them to regularly engage in meetings with clients, stakeholders, and other experts, ensuring their strategies are both practical and impactful. Fieldwork is an integral aspect of their role, as consultants frequently visit sites to assess environmental conditions firsthand, gather samples, or oversee remediation efforts.

These outings not only break the monotony of desk-bound tasks but also offer them a tangible connection to the environments they aim to protect and enhance. Their schedules are often structured yet might require flexibility due to the unpredictable nature of environmental incidents or project demands.

Further Studies

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As an Environmental Consultant, strong analytical skills are essential for assessing environmental data and impacts. You’ll need excellent problem-solving abilities to help organizations manage their environmental concerns. Communication skills are crucial, as you’ll often present findings and advise clients. Understanding environmental legislation and being able to interpret it for your clients is also key. Knowledge of GIS can also be beneficial for site analysis.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($76,530)
  • Job Outlook (5%)

The median annual wage for environmental scientists and specialists was $76,530 in May 2021. Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


5. Transportation Manager


As a Transportation Manager, you’d be instrumental in ensuring the efficient and effective movement of goods or people. Whether in logistics companies, transit agencies, or municipalities, you’d oversee transportation operations, plan routes, and manage budgets to optimize transportation systems.

As a Transportation Manager

In your role as a Transportation Manager, you might be responsible for planning and implementing transportation schedules. You could be managing a team of drivers or fleet of vehicles, ensuring compliance with safety regulations. You might negotiate with suppliers or customers, analyze transportation costs, and find ways to improve efficiency.

Benefits

  • Influence Over Efficient Transportation Systems: Transportation managers hold significant sway over designing and implementing transportation strategies. Their decisions can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the overall movement of goods and people, having a direct impact on the economic and operational success of businesses and cities.
  • Dynamic Work Environment: The role often presents a diverse range of challenges, from logistical planning and fleet management to coordination with external vendors and regulatory compliance. This variety ensures that every day is different, keeping the job engaging and stimulating.
  • Opportunities for Innovation: With the advent of new technologies like electric vehicles, autonomous transport, and smart traffic management systems, transportation managers are at the forefront of integrating innovative solutions into traditional transportation models, making their role crucial in shaping the future of mobility.
  • Collaborative Interactions: Transportation managers often work with a broad spectrum of individuals and teams, including drivers, suppliers, city planners, and governmental agencies. This network of interactions promotes a collaborative work environment and offers diverse perspectives on problem-solving.
  • Job Stability and Growth Potential: Transportation is a vital industry that remains essential regardless of economic fluctuations. As a manager in this domain, individuals can enjoy a stable career with ample opportunities for advancement, given the continuous need for effective transportation systems in both public and private sectors.

Working Conditions

Transportation managers often navigate a bustling and vibrant work environment that seamlessly blends strategy, operations, and interpersonal communication. Stationed frequently within transportation hubs or corporate settings, they are equipped with advanced tools and software to monitor fleet movements, manage schedules, and ensure timely deliveries. 

These technologically rich surroundings empower them to make real-time decisions that optimize routes, conserve resources, and maintain high levels of service. Moreover, field visits to terminals, warehouses, or inspection sites are a routine part of their job, providing them with a holistic view of operations and allowing them to connect directly with ground personnel. These on-site interactions also afford them the privilege of witnessing the tangible results of their planning and strategies.

Further Studies

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Transportation Manager, strong organizational skills are crucial to coordinate complex transportation operations. You’ll need excellent problem-solving abilities to address logistical challenges. Good communication and leadership skills are important for managing teams and liaising with various stakeholders. A deep understanding of transportation regulations and safety standards is also key. Familiarity with GIS and route planning software can be a major asset.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($77,030)
  • Job Outlook (28%)

Under the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation managers are classified under Logisticians. The median annual wage for logisticians was $77,030 in May 2021.Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 28% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

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6. Hydrologist


As a Hydrologist, you’d be involved in the study of water and its distribution, circulation, and physical properties. Your work would be crucial in understanding water’s impact on the environment and its role in supporting life, influencing climate, and shaping landscapes.

As a Hydrologist

In your role as a Hydrologist, you might collect and analyze data on rainfall, river flows, and other aspects of the water cycle. You could use mathematical models to predict future water availability or flood risks. Your research could assist in water resource management, conservation efforts, and infrastructure planning.

Benefits

  • Key Role in Water Resource Management: Hydrologists play an instrumental role in understanding and managing our planet’s most vital resource: water. Their insights directly contribute to ensuring sustainable water supplies for communities, industries, and ecosystems, making their work of paramount importance.
  • Diverse Range of Applications: The field of hydrology is vast, encompassing surface water studies, groundwater dynamics, water quality assessments, and more. This diversity allows hydrologists to engage in a wide variety of projects and challenges, from flood forecasting to contamination mitigation.
  • Hands-On Field Work: In addition to office-based analyses and modeling, hydrologists often have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in diverse environments, such as rivers, lakes, glaciers, and watersheds. This provides a tangible connection to the natural world and a refreshing break from routine office tasks.
  • Contribution to Climate Change Understanding: As experts in water science, hydrologists are crucial in studying the impacts of climate change on water systems. Their research aids in predicting future water challenges and developing strategies to adapt to changing global conditions, positioning them at the forefront of one of the world’s most pressing issues.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborations: Hydrology intersects with various fields, including ecology, meteorology, engineering, and urban planning. This provides hydrologists with opportunities to collaborate with professionals from diverse backgrounds, broadening their perspective and enriching their research and solutions.

Working Conditions

Hydrologists find themselves immersed in a work environment that harmoniously balances scientific research with tangible outdoor experiences. Based predominantly in well-resourced labs or offices, they are privy to cutting-edge software that aids in the simulation, modeling, and analysis of water-related data.

Parallel to this, the call of the outdoors beckons often, leading them to scenic locales—riversides, mountainous springs, underground aquifers, or coastal regions. These field expeditions not only offer a first-hand study of water systems but also instill a profound appreciation for the natural world and its intricacies. Regular interactions with stakeholders, ranging from local communities to government entities, lend a collaborative flavor to their role, ensuring their findings are both relevant and actionable.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Hydrology, Water Resources, or a related field, particularly for research-oriented roles.
  • Professional certification, like the Professional Hydrologist designation from the American Institute of Hydrology, can enhance job prospects.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Hydrologist, strong analytical skills are essential for interpreting complex water data. Proficiency in using specialized software for data analysis and modeling is a must. Good physical fitness can be important for conducting fieldwork. Strong communication skills are also required for presenting your findings and collaborating with other scientists or stakeholders. Understanding of geographical principles and systems is crucial, and knowledge of GIS can be very beneficial for spatial analysis.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($84,030)

The median annual wage for hydrologists was $84,030 in May 2021. Employment of hydrologists is projected to show little or no change from 2021 to 2031.


7. Cartographer


As a Cartographer, you’d be involved in the science and art of creating maps, charting the physical features, and sometimes sociopolitical or demographic characteristics of the world. Your work would be vital for a multitude of sectors, from urban planning and environmental management to navigation and tourism.

As a Cartographer

In your role as a Cartographer, you might be designing, updating, and producing different types of maps based on a variety of data sources. You could be using GIS software to analyze and visualize spatial data, or working with satellite imagery to map previously uncharted territories. Your maps might help inform public policy, support scientific research, or guide travelers.

Benefits

  • Shaping How People See the World: Cartographers have the unique responsibility and privilege of creating maps, which are not just practical tools, but also representations of how humans perceive and understand their environment. Through their work, cartographers influence how people navigate and relate to the world around them.
  • Blend of Art and Science: Cartography is an interdisciplinary field that marries the precision of science with the creativity of art. Cartographers enjoy the satisfaction of blending technical skills with artistic flair to produce aesthetically pleasing yet accurate representations of physical and abstract spaces.
  • Continuous Evolution with Technology: With the advent of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), satellite imaging, and digital design tools, cartography is a constantly evolving discipline. This provides professionals with opportunities to engage with the latest technological innovations and maintain a cutting-edge skill set.
  • Diverse Application Across Sectors: Maps are essential in various sectors, from urban planning and transportation to tourism and environmental conservation. This wide range of applications ensures that cartographers can work in multiple industries, making their skill set versatile and in-demand.
  • Opportunity to Educate and Inform: Beyond simple navigation, maps can convey complex information, represent historical shifts, or highlight societal trends. Cartographers have the potential to create educational tools that inform the public on topics ranging from climate change impacts to demographic changes, adding a deeper purpose to their creations.

Working Conditions

Cartographers navigate a world where creativity converges with precision, often working within environments that foster both detailed analysis and imaginative design. Central to their workspace is access to sophisticated mapping software and digital design tools, which enable the crafting of intricate and informative maps. These modern offices are frequently buzzing with activity, as cartographers discuss topographical features, research historical data, or collaborate on design elements to ensure a map’s accuracy and appeal.

But cartography isn’t solely an indoor job. Many cartographers also venture into the field to gather firsthand geographical data, ensuring the authenticity of their maps. These outdoor excursions could range from local site visits to more extensive travels, offering a refreshing change of pace and a direct connection to the landscapes they depict. Interaction with professionals from diverse fields—be it urban planners, historians, or environmentalists—adds an enriching layer to their role, making it both multidimensional and continually engaging.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Geography, GIS, or Cartography can be advantageous for advanced roles.
  • Certifications like the GIS Professional (GISP) can enhance job prospects.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Cartographer, you’ll need strong technical skills in GIS software and digital mapping tools. Good design and visualization skills are crucial for creating clear, informative maps. Analytical skills are important for interpreting and representing spatial data, while attention to detail is key for ensuring the accuracy of your maps. Good communication skills will also help you understand user needs and present your work effectively.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($68,900)
  • Job Outlook (3%)

The median annual wage for cartographers and photogrammetrists was $68,900 in May 2021. Employment of cartographers and photogrammetrists is projected to grow 3% from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.


8. Geographic Education Coordinator


As a Geographic Education Coordinator, you’d be responsible for the development and implementation of geography-related educational programs. Whether in schools, museums, non-profit organizations, or government agencies, your work would be pivotal in promoting geographic literacy and fostering an appreciation for the complexities of our world.

As a Geographic Education Coordinator

In your role as a Geographic Education Coordinator, you might be developing curriculum and instructional materials for geography education programs. You could be organizing workshops, seminars, or field trips to enhance learning experiences. You might liaise with educators, administrators, and community members to promote geography education and awareness.

Benefits

  • Promotion of Geographic Literacy: Geographic education coordinators play a pivotal role in enhancing the understanding of geography among students and the general public. Through their initiatives, they ensure that individuals gain valuable insights into global interconnections, cultural awareness, and spatial thinking, fostering a more informed and globally conscious society.
  • Collaborative Engagement: In their role, these coordinators often work closely with educators, curriculum developers, and other professionals. This interaction promotes a rich exchange of ideas, best practices, and the latest pedagogical techniques, making their role both socially engaging and professionally enriching.
  • Opportunity to Shape Curriculum: Being at the intersection of education and geography, coordinators have a direct influence on what is taught and how it’s presented. This responsibility allows them to introduce innovative teaching methods, integrate new technologies, and ensure that the curriculum remains relevant in a rapidly changing world.
  • Continuous Learning and Professional Development: The ever-evolving nature of geography means that coordinators are always exposed to new research, discoveries, and technological advancements in the field. This continuous exposure ensures their knowledge remains up-to-date, and they often benefit from attending workshops, conferences, and seminars, further enhancing their professional growth.
  • Making a Tangible Impact: By improving geography education, coordinators directly impact the knowledge and perspectives of the next generation. This role allows them to witness the transformative power of education, as students develop a deeper appreciation for the world around them and the intricate relationships that shape it.

Working Conditions

A geographic education coordinator operates at the crossroads of academic insight and practical application, often stationed within educational institutions or organizational offices that champion geographic literacy. Their workspace is typically vibrant and interactive, filled with a plethora of educational resources, geographic tools, and collaborative platforms. The nature of their job invites regular interactions with a diverse array of professionals—teachers, researchers, policymakers, and even students at times. Such exchanges nurture an environment of continuous feedback and innovation. 

Moreover, the role often necessitates attendance at academic conferences, workshops, and school visits, allowing the coordinator not just a static desk job but dynamic participation in a wider educational community. These excursions provide refreshing interludes, offering firsthand experiences of how geography is taught and perceived at different levels.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Geography, Education, or Curriculum Development can be beneficial for advanced roles.
  • Teaching certification or experience can be an asset, depending on the context.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Geographic Education Coordinator, you’ll need excellent organizational skills for planning and implementing educational programs. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are important for collaborating with diverse stakeholders and promoting geography education. A solid understanding of geographic content and pedagogical techniques is crucial. Creativity can be a major asset in designing engaging and effective learning experiences.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($63,740)

The U.S. BLS places geographic education coordinators under the broader category of instructional coordinators. The median annual wage for instructional coordinators was $63,740 in May 2021.


9. Emergency Management Director


As an Emergency Management Director, you’d play a crucial role in preparing for and responding to natural disasters, public health emergencies, or other crises. Whether in local government, healthcare systems, or private corporations, your work would help safeguard lives and communities.

As an Emergency Management Director

In your role as an Emergency Management Director, you might be developing plans and procedures for disaster response or crisis management. You could be coordinating with public safety officials, healthcare providers, and community leaders during emergencies. You might also conduct training and simulations to prepare your team and the community for various emergency scenarios.

Benefits

  • Critical Role in Community Safety: Emergency management directors are indispensable in ensuring the safety and security of their communities. Their decisions and actions can mean the difference between life and death during crises, making their role profoundly impactful and giving them a deep sense of purpose.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborations: The position often necessitates working closely with a diverse range of professionals, including firefighters, police officers, public health officials, and policymakers. This variety of interactions enriches their professional network and provides a multifaceted perspective on emergency preparedness and response.
  • Opportunity for Continuous Learning: The dynamic nature of crises and disasters means that every situation presents a unique challenge. Directors continually update their skills and knowledge, adapting to new technologies, emergency response methodologies, and evolving threats, ensuring they’re always at the forefront of their field.
  • Leadership and Decision-Making Role: As the primary figures in charge during emergencies, directors have the autonomy and authority to make crucial decisions, strategize responses, and lead teams. This leadership role offers a significant level of responsibility and the satisfaction of guiding communities through challenging times.
  • Contribution to Resilience Building: Beyond immediate crisis response, emergency management directors play a vital role in building more resilient communities by devising mitigation strategies and preparedness plans. Their long-term efforts ensure that communities are better equipped to face future challenges, adding a dimension of forward-thinking to their role.

Working Conditions

An emergency management director operates within a dynamic and often high-stakes environment, underpinned by the overarching goal of community safety and resilience.

The nature of emergencies demands that directors remain poised and adaptable, ready to transition seamlessly from routine planning meetings to urgent strategy sessions at a moment’s notice.

Their role frequently involves liaising with various agencies, community leaders, and experts, ensuring a multi-pronged, collaborative approach to crisis management. Field visits, to assess disaster sites or review preparedness drills, are an integral part of their job, offering a tangible connection to the communities they serve. Beyond the immediacy of emergencies, a significant portion of their time is invested in training sessions, community engagement initiatives, and resilience-building workshops.

Further Studies

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As an Emergency Management Director, strong leadership skills are crucial to coordinate emergency response efforts. Excellent problem-solving abilities are key to manage crises effectively. Communication skills are essential for liaising with various stakeholders and conveying information clearly in high-pressure situations. An understanding of geographic principles and systems can be very beneficial for assessing risks and planning responses. Familiarity with emergency management software and GIS can also be a major asset.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($76,730)
  • Job Outlook (3%)

The median annual wage for emergency management directors was $76,730 in May 2021. Employment of emergency management directors is projected to grow 3% from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.


10. Remote Sensing Analyst


As a Remote Sensing Analyst, you’d be specialized in the use of airborne or satellite imagery to collect data and analyze various characteristics of an area. Your work could influence diverse sectors such as environmental management, urban planning, defense, agriculture, and natural resources exploration.

As a Remote Sensing Analyst

In your role as a Remote Sensing Analyst, you might collect, process, and analyze remote sensing data. You could be using different imaging technologies like LiDAR, radar, or multispectral imagery. You might interpret the collected data to understand land use patterns, assess environmental changes, or map resources.

Benefits

  • Engagement with Cutting-Edge Technology: Remote sensing analysts work with some of the most advanced technologies available, from satellite systems to sophisticated imaging software. This continuous exposure keeps them at the forefront of technological advancements in geospatial science.
  • Contribution to Diverse Fields: The data generated by remote sensing has applications in numerous sectors, including environmental conservation, urban planning, disaster management, and agriculture. Analysts, therefore, have the opportunity to contribute to a wide array of projects, making their work versatile and impactful.
  • Global Perspective on Environments: Remote sensing allows analysts to study and monitor locations across the globe, providing a unique and broad perspective on various environmental and urban changes. This global view is not only intellectually stimulating but also deepens their understanding of the interconnectedness of our planet’s systems.
  • Continuous Learning Opportunities: The field of remote sensing is rapidly evolving, with new methodologies, sensors, and applications emerging regularly. As a result, analysts often participate in workshops, conferences, and training programs, ensuring lifelong learning and professional growth.
  • Flexible Work Environment: Given the nature of the job, which often revolves around data analysis and software-based tasks, many remote sensing analysts have the flexibility to work from different locations, including home offices, granting them a favorable work-life balance.

Working Conditions

Remote sensing analysts inhabit a world that is an intricate dance between vast digital datasets and the nuanced terrains they represent. Typically working within well-equipped labs or offices, these professionals have access to powerful computer systems designed to handle the complex imaging and geospatial data derived from satellites and airborne sensors. The ambiance in their workplace often resonates with a fusion of focused concentration and collaborative brainstorming, as they team up with geographers, environmental scientists, and other specialists to decode the stories told by the data. 

While much of their time is spent behind screens, analyzing and interpreting this data, occasional field trips to ground-truth or calibrate their findings add a touch of adventure to their routine. These expeditions offer them a chance to connect the dots between the digital world and the physical terrain. Given the global nature of remote sensing, analysts are also introduced to a multitude of environmental scenarios, from shrinking polar ice caps to urban expansion in megacities.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree or further specialized training in Remote Sensing or Geospatial Sciences can be advantageous.
  • Certifications like the Certified Mapping Scientist, Remote Sensing from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing can enhance job prospects.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Remote Sensing Analyst, you’ll need strong technical skills in remote sensing software and data analysis tools. Good analytical skills are crucial for interpreting complex imagery and spatial data. Attention to detail is key for ensuring the accuracy of your analyses. Familiarity with various remote sensing technologies and methodologies is essential, as is the ability to communicate your findings effectively to non-specialists.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($83,680)
  • Job Outlook (5%)

The median annual wage for geoscientists was $83,680 in May 2021. Employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


11. Surveyor


As a Surveyor, you’d be engaged in the precise measurement and mapping of the earth’s surface. Your work would be fundamental to a variety of activities, from land development and construction projects to environmental studies and mapmaking.

As a Surveyor

In your role as a Surveyor, you might be conducting field surveys to determine property boundaries, collecting data for construction projects, or mapping topographical features. You could use sophisticated technology, like GPS and GIS, along with traditional surveying tools. You might prepare maps, reports, or legal descriptions of surveyed property.

Benefits

  • Direct Interaction with the Landscape: Surveyors often spend a significant amount of their time outdoors, directly interacting with various terrains and environments. This immersion in nature and the built environment provides a refreshing contrast to many professions that are predominantly office-bound.
  • Blend of Tradition and Modern Technology: While the principles of surveying have ancient roots, the methods have evolved dramatically. Today, surveyors use a combination of traditional techniques and cutting-edge technology, such as GPS systems, drones, and laser scanners, offering a balanced mix of historical practices and contemporary innovations.
  • Variety of Projects: Surveyors can work on a wide range of projects, from plotting land for construction, to mapping archaeological sites, to assisting in environmental conservation efforts. This variety ensures that their job remains diverse and challenging.
  • Foundation for Many Developments: The data and measurements provided by surveyors are foundational to many projects in construction, real estate, and infrastructure development. Their role is vital in ensuring that such projects are based on accurate and reliable information, giving them a sense of accomplishment and significance.
  • Continuous Learning Opportunities: The field of surveying, like many technical professions, is constantly evolving. Surveyors often participate in ongoing training to stay updated with the latest tools, techniques, and regulations, ensuring that their skills remain relevant and in-demand.

Working Conditions

Surveyors have the unique privilege of stepping out from behind desks and interacting directly with the vast landscapes they aim to measure and define. Their workspaces can be as varied as bustling construction sites, serene farmlands, or untouched wilderness, depending on the project at hand. While the allure of working outdoors under the open sky is undeniable, surveyors also benefit from modern technology to make their tasks efficient. 

Equipped with tools ranging from traditional transit levels to advanced drone technology, their role is an elegant blend of hands-on fieldwork and precise data analysis. When not in the field, their indoor environments are often well-structured labs or offices where they interpret data, create detailed reports, and collaborate with professionals like engineers and architects. Frequent travel, both short and long distances, adds an element of adventure to their profession, ensuring that their day-to-day experiences remain varied and enriching.

Further Studies

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Surveyor, strong technical skills are crucial for using surveying instruments and software. Excellent attention to detail is vital to ensure precision in your measurements and calculations. Good physical fitness can be beneficial for fieldwork. Strong communication skills are also required for working with clients and team members. Understanding of legal documents and property laws can be very beneficial, as can proficiency in GIS and CAD software.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($61,600)

The median annual wage for surveyors was $61,600 in May 2021. Employment of surveyors is projected to show little or no change from 2021 to 2031.

Despite limited employment growth, about 3,800 openings for surveyors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


12. Real Estate Appraiser


As a Real Estate Appraiser, you’d be involved in the process of estimating the value of real property, which encompasses land and the buildings on it. Your work would play a critical role in transactions such as sales, mortgages, and insurance policies, affecting both individuals and institutions.

As a Real Estate Appraiser

In your role as a Real Estate Appraiser, you might inspect properties, noting their unique characteristics and any improvements or damages. You could compare the property to similar ones that have recently sold, in order to determine its value. Your work could impact important financial decisions, including loan amounts, investment values, or property sale prices.

Benefits

  • In-Depth Understanding of the Property Market: Real estate appraisers possess a deep knowledge of property values, market trends, and factors influencing property prices. This specialized expertise allows them to offer valuable insights, making them essential consultants in property transactions.
  • Autonomy in Work: Many real estate appraisers operate independently or run their own businesses. This independence grants them the flexibility to set their own schedules, choose their clients, and determine the scope of their services.
  • Varied Work Locations: Appraisers aren’t confined to a desk or office. Their role often takes them to diverse property locations, from residential neighborhoods to commercial centers, ensuring a change of scenery and preventing the monotony that might come with more stationary jobs.
  • Continuous Learning Opportunities: The real estate market is constantly evolving due to economic, political, and social factors. Appraisers need to stay updated with these changes, leading them to engage in ongoing education and training, which enriches their professional knowledge and skills.
  • Essential Role in Major Financial Decisions: An appraiser’s assessment plays a pivotal role in significant transactions like buying or selling a property, refinancing, or securing a loan. This influential position grants them the satisfaction of knowing their expertise directly impacts critical financial decisions.

Working Conditions

Their day might start in a comfortable office, diving deep into property databases, zoning records, and comparable market analyses. Yet, by afternoon, they could be on-site at a picturesque countryside estate or a modern urban condominium, meticulously assessing its condition and features. 

The job offers a mix of solitude, when crafting detailed reports or making valuation calculations, and interpersonal interactions, while consulting with realtors, homeowners, or financial institutions. The variety in property types ensures that no two days are identical — from assessing historical homes to evaluating newly built commercial properties. The dynamic nature of real estate, influenced by ever-shifting market trends and regulations, also ensures that appraisers remain engaged in continuous learning, adapting their methods and understanding as the market evolves.

Further Studies

  • State licensure or certification is typically required, which involves passing an examination and completing a certain number of hours of appraising experience.
  • Designations like the MAI (Member Appraisal Institute) can enhance job prospects.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Real Estate Appraiser, your keen eye for detail will help you accurately evaluate properties. Analytical skills are important for interpreting market data and determining property values. Good communication and customer service skills can be beneficial when interacting with property owners or clients. Familiarity with geographic area and understanding of property laws and market trends can give you an edge in this field. Knowledge of real estate software and databases can also be beneficial.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($61,340)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

The median annual wage for property appraisers and assessors was $61,340 in May 2021. Employment of property appraisers and assessors is projected to grow 4% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


13. Regional and City Planner


As a Regional and City Planner, you’d be at the forefront of shaping the landscapes of urban and rural areas alike. Your work would involve designing and updating comprehensive plans, zoning regulations, and development strategies that help communities grow in a sustainable, efficient, and equitable way.

As a Regional and City Planner

In your role as a Regional and City Planner, you might be developing plans for land use in your community, reviewing development proposals, and advising on public infrastructure projects. You could work closely with public officials, community members, and developers to ensure that growth and development align with the community’s vision and needs.

Benefits

  • Shaping the Future of Communities: Regional city planners play a pivotal role in determining how cities and towns evolve over time. Their decisions and designs have a lasting impact, ensuring that urban and rural areas are sustainable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing for generations to come.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: The role involves liaising with a myriad of professionals, from architects and engineers to public health officials and environmentalists. This breadth of interactions enriches their professional network and fosters a comprehensive approach to planning.
  • Addressing Societal Challenges: Planners have the unique opportunity to devise solutions to pressing societal issues such as housing shortages, traffic congestion, and environmental concerns. Through strategic planning, they can drive positive change and improve the quality of life for residents.
  • Professional Development and Recognition: As city planning is a continually evolving field, there are numerous opportunities for further education, training, and specialization. Planners can gain recognition for their innovative projects, and their expertise often positions them as thought leaders in urban development.
  • Variety in Tasks and Projects: No two projects are the same in regional city planning. Whether it’s revitalizing an old neighborhood, designing a new park, or strategizing transportation networks, the job offers a plethora of diverse and exciting challenges.

Working Conditions

A regional city planner thrives in a harmonious blend of office strategizing and on-site explorations. Ensconced within urban agencies or dedicated planning firms, they are frequently surrounded by detailed maps, data-rich reports, and digital modeling tools that aid them in visualizing the future of urban spaces. 

While they spend considerable time in meetings, discussing projects with stakeholders or pitching ideas to city officials, there’s also a tangible aspect to their job. Site visits allow them to immerse themselves in the actual spaces they’re shaping, offering an exciting connection between their plans and their real-world implementation. The role demands adaptability, given the range of projects they handle, from green urban spaces to bustling commercial districts. This dynamism ensures that planners are continually encountering new challenges, requiring innovative solutions.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Urban Planning or a related field is often preferred.
  • Certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) can enhance job prospects.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Regional and City Planner, you’ll need strong analytical skills to evaluate data, development proposals, and community needs. Communication skills are vital for collaborating with various stakeholders and presenting your plans. Understanding of planning laws and regulations, and familiarity with GIS and CAD software can be a major asset. Your creative problem-solving abilities can help in devising innovative planning solutions. Attention to detail is crucial for preparing comprehensive plans and reviewing development proposals.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($78,500)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

The median annual wage for urban and regional planners was $78,500 in May 2021. Employment of urban and regional planners is projected to grow 4% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


14. Sustainability Consultant


As a Sustainability Consultant, you’d play a vital role in helping organizations implement sustainable practices in their operations. Your expertise would guide businesses, governments, or non-profit organizations in reducing their environmental impact, meeting sustainability regulations, and achieving their social responsibility goals.

As a Sustainability Consultant

In your role as a Sustainability Consultant, you might be conducting sustainability audits, developing and implementing sustainable business practices, and advising on sustainability regulations and standards. You could also work on communication strategies to engage stakeholders and promote an organization’s sustainability efforts.

Benefits

  • Direct Impact on Environmental Goals: Sustainability consultants play a crucial role in helping organizations reduce their ecological footprints, ensuring that businesses operate in an environmentally-friendly manner, which contributes to global sustainability goals.
  • Diverse Clientele and Projects: Sustainability consultants work with a wide range of clients, from corporations to nonprofits to governmental bodies, providing a variety of experiences and challenges in different sectors, such as energy, waste management, and sustainable design.
  • Continual Learning Opportunities: The field of sustainability is rapidly evolving, with new research, technology, and best practices emerging frequently. This provides consultants with endless opportunities to learn and stay at the forefront of sustainable solutions.
  • High Demand and Growing Field: As more organizations recognize the importance of sustainable operations, the demand for expertise in this area is growing, positioning sustainability consultants as valuable assets in the modern business landscape.
  • Personal Fulfillment: Working as a sustainability consultant offers the intrinsic reward of knowing that one’s work directly benefits the planet, future generations, and the overall well-being of society.

Working Conditions

Sustainability consultants operate in an environment that perfectly balances the theoretical with the practical.. Digital tools and software aid them in modeling sustainability scenarios and predicting outcomes of various strategies. Yet, their role is not limited to the digital realm. They frequently participate in on-site evaluations, assessing processes, and collaborating with diverse teams within an organization. This ensures that their recommendations are grounded in real-world operations.

Due to the broad scope of sustainability, these consultants might find themselves in various settings – from industrial plants aiming to reduce emissions to corporate boardrooms discussing green strategies. Meetings, workshops, and conferences are a staple, facilitating the exchange of ideas and staying updated with global sustainability trends.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree or certification in Sustainability, Environmental Management, or a related field can be beneficial.
  • Certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) can enhance job prospects.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Sustainability Consultant, you’ll need strong analytical skills for assessing sustainability performance and devising improvement strategies. Excellent communication skills are vital for advising clients, presenting findings, and promoting sustainability practices. Understanding of sustainability standards, environmental regulations, and industry practices is crucial. Familiarity with environmental auditing and impact assessment tools can be a major asset, as can the ability to lead change and foster commitment to sustainability within an organization.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($76,530)
  • Job Outlook (5%)

Sustainability consultant salary and job outlook details are found under the broader category of environmental scientists and specialists on the U.S. BLS. With this in mind, The median annual wage for environmental scientists and specialists was $76,530 in May 2021. Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


15. Demographer


As a Demographer, you’d be involved in the study of human populations, analyzing data about age, race, economic status, migration, and other demographic factors. Your work would provide crucial insights for policy-making, social services, marketing, urban planning, and various other fields.

As a Demographer

In your role as a Demographer, you might be conducting research to gather and analyze demographic data. You could use statistical methods to forecast trends in population growth or decline. You might provide data-based insights to inform decisions in fields such as healthcare, education, housing, and marketing.

Benefits

  • Invaluable Insights into Population Dynamics: Demographers analyze the patterns, trends, and shifts in populations, granting them a deep understanding of societal changes and evolutions that few other professionals possess.
  • Influence on Public Policy: Their analyses often serve as critical data points for policymakers. By providing these insights, demographers can play an integral role in shaping policies related to areas like public health, education, housing, and immigration.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Demography intersects with various fields, from sociology and economics to public health and urban planning. This interplay allows demographers to collaborate with a range of professionals, enhancing the depth and breadth of their research.
  • Continuous Learning Opportunities: Populations are constantly evolving due to countless factors, from migration and birth rates to societal changes and global events. This dynamic nature of the subject ensures that demographers are always learning and adapting, making the field perpetually engaging.
  • Diverse Employment Opportunities: The skills and insights of demographers are sought after in various sectors. Whether in academic research, governmental bodies, international organizations, or private corporations, demographers find that their expertise has broad applicability and demand.

Working Conditions

The working conditions of a demographer are characterized by a blend of solitary data analysis and collaborative discussions. In their typical workspace, filled with computer screens flashing intricate charts, maps, and statistical software, they delve deep into data, uncovering stories that numbers tell about populations.

But demography isn’t just about solitary number-crunching. Demographers frequently engage in team meetings, presentations, and seminars, sharing their insights or collaborating on larger research projects. The nature of their work also grants them opportunities to travel, be it for field research, conferences, or consultations. This offers a refreshing change from the usual desk-bound tasks, allowing them to gather real-world insights and broaden their perspectives.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree or Ph.D. in Demography or a related field for advanced research roles.
  • Specialized training or certification in statistical analysis software can be beneficial.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Demographer, strong analytical and statistical skills are vital for interpreting complex data sets. Proficiency in data analysis software is often necessary. Excellent written communication skills are important for presenting your findings in reports or academic papers. Familiarity with demographic trends and methodologies, as well as a keen understanding of social and economic factors that influence population dynamics, can give you an edge in this field.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($59,740)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

The median annual wage for survey researchers was $59,740 in May 2021. Employment of survey researchers is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Making the Right Career Choice

Navigating the diverse career options available with a geography degree involves an understanding not only of the unique characteristics and requirements of each profession but also a deep self-assessment. Identifying your personal strengths, areas of interest, and long-term career goals are essential steps in choosing the right path.

Each job has its specific set of demands, from technical proficiency to analytical thinking, from communication skills to physical stamina. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider what skills you already possess, which ones you are eager to develop further, and how these align with the career you envision for yourself. By taking the time to reflect on these aspects, you can make informed decisions that can lead to a fulfilling career that satisfies both your professional ambitions and personal aspirations.


Sherice Jacob

About the Author

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