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How to Become a Geographer

Written by

George D. Baker

Date

August 14, 2014

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Geography is a vital practice as it is the study of the Earth and all its features such as its lands, inhabitants, and phenomena. It provokes people to ask and answer questions about the world and helps people obtain knowledge of environments and places around the world and a thorough understanding of maps. Geographers are necessary to study the world and provide essential information to people around the world.

What does a geographer do?

Geographers study physical and cultural phenomena that are scattered around the world. They examine features of the environment and their location on global, continental, regional, and local scales. Geographers are typically divided into types: economic, political, cultural, physical, urban and transportation, regional, and medical geographers. Economic geographers are concerned with the distributions of economic activities and resources. Political geographers study the relationship of political phenomena and geography. Cultural geographers are concerned with the geography of cultural phenomena. Physical geographers study differences in climate, soil, vegetation, and landforms and their implications on the activity of human beings. Urban and transportation geographers examine metropolitan areas and cities. Regional geographers examine the physical, cultural, political, and economic aspects of regions of all sizes from a small district to whole continents. Medical geographers study health care delivery systems, the effect of the environment on health, and epidemiology.

Many geographers use geographic information systems (GIS) technology to help them with their work. For example they might use GIS to develop computerized maps that can track certain information including patterns of traffic, population growth, natural resources, environmental hazards, and weather patterns. They then may use this information to inform governments on where and how to develop roads, houses, or landfills.

What kind of training does a geographer need?

Most geographers have a master or doctoral degree in geography or related field. They also need training in mathematics and statistics because quantitative and mathematical research methods are widely used in their work. Geographers must also be efficient in using computers for research and keep abreast on the latest technology. Many geographers participate in internships or other field experience.

What are the prospects for a career in geography?

Employment for geographers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing only 6% through 2016.

Geographers with higher education and extensive experience along with a GIS background will have the best job prospects. Many will find many job opportunities in areas where they apply GIS technology such as emergency assistance.

How much do geographers make?

As of 2012, the average annual salary for entry-level geographers with 1 to 4 years of experience is $44,000. Individuals with 5 to 9 years experience earn average salaries of $50,000.

For anyone considering whether and how to become a geographer, this is potentially a great career choice for people who have intellectual curiosity about the earth and everything it contains. They have to constantly seek new information about the world and do a vast amount of research.

Becoming a Geographer Requires Skills & Training Start Today

Want to know what the 10 top liberal arts schools are?

Are you serious about becoming a Geographer? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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