Science, Technology & Environment
Geographers study the earth and its land, features, and inhabitants.
What does a Geographer do?
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 and human geographic characteristics of a region, ranging in scale from local to global.
As a geographer, you would:
- create and modify maps, graphs, or diagrams, using geographical information software and principles of cartography
- gather and compile geographic data from sources including censuses, field observations, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps
- analyse geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales
- operate geographical information systems (GIS) hardware and software
- write and present reports of research findings.
Key skills and interests
To become a geographer, you would need:
- a strong interest in the environment
- scientific and technical interest
- the ability to analyse and solve problems
- good communication and computing skills
- able to produce accurate and detailed work.
Working hours and conditions
Most geographers work full time during regular business hours.
Most geographers are employed in government organisations. Many geographers do fieldwork, which may include travel to remote locations, including overseas.
How to become an Geographer?
Entry Level Education
Geographers typically need a bachelor’s degree in geography, although some roles will require a master’s degree in geography. Some positions might allow you to substitute work experience or GIS proficiency for an advanced degree. Top research positions usually require a PhD or a master’s degree and a number of years of relevant work experience.
Most geography programs at university include courses in both physical and human geography, statistics or mathematics, remote sensing, and GIS. Business, economics, or even real estate courses are increasingly important for geographers working in private industry.
Employment of geographers is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.
However, because this is a small occupation, the overall growth will only result in a small number of new job openings.
More widespread use of geographic technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS), allow government agencies and private businesses to make better business and planning decisions. Due to a greater focus on environmental and sustainable practices, geographers are increasingly needed to understand environmental changes and human impacts on the environment. Governments and businesses also rely on geographers to research topics such as resource use, natural hazards, and climate change.