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How Do I Begin a Geography Career?

Jan Fletcher
Jan Fletcher

Geography is the study of the natural features of the earth, and the ways in which people interact with those features. A career in the field of geography may involve the study of the physical aspects of planet earth. The other branch of the field involves the study of the characteristics of population groups, as these relate to the physical terrain of an area. Many geography science jobs typically require the applicant to possess a college degree. One way to begin a geography career is to obtain academic credentials as a geographer, or to begin as an assistant or intern.

Professional geography jobs include teaching geography at schools or universities. These types of jobs require a college degree at a minimum. After obtaining at least a bachelor's degree, geographers may also apply the science of human geography to urban planning through working as a cartographer. Global positioning scientists use geographic knowledge, which proves helpful in many other careers.

Hands-on training is an important aspect of becoming a geographer.
Hands-on training is an important aspect of becoming a geographer.

Preparation for most geography careers will involve fieldwork, since geography is a physical science. Field studies also prepare and provide training opportunities for geographers. This type of training may include looking at demographic changes and population flow between urban and rural areas, or determining sustainable levels of development in a community. Other fieldwork may involve mitigating hazards that arise from natural earth processes, or managing large influxes of tourists. A geography career will likely involve working outdoors at least a portion of the time.

Experience in interdisciplinary studies or activities would be helpful in preparing for a geography career. The field of geography offers many interdisciplinary interchanges with other professionals in the fields of ecology, social sciences, and in commercial land development. Beginning a geographer career will be an easier task for someone already acclimated to an interdisciplinary mode of thinking.

Those who seek a geography career should hone their communication skills. Geographers frequently interact with other professionals, including real estate developers, land-planning officials, and community development managers. Assistants to geographers may enter this career path through an administrative or support position for a geographer.

An internship working in one of these areas would be a good way to prepare for a geography career. Opportunities for advancement in a geography career do typically involve obtaining further education in the field. At the master’s degree level, geographers may work in highly paid jobs as geoscientists for energy-exploration companies, or as hydrologists working to restore watersheds.

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    • Hands-on training is an important aspect of becoming a geographer.
      By: goodluz
      Hands-on training is an important aspect of becoming a geographer.