Geographer Career Facts

Geographers form a large part of the "social sciences." These very broad-based sciences are concerned with all aspects of the human environment.

The Work Environment

Basic geography is the study of societies, cultures, physical resources, politics, climate, vegetation, and landforms. There are many specialist jobs derived from geography, some of which are very advanced studies in important areas of academic study, economics, sociology, political science and anthropology.

Economic geographers: These scientists study economics in micro and macro forms. They conduct studies of social and economic forces, sometimes on a global scale. 

Sociologists: Sociology is the study of societies, and social dynamics. Much of this work is based on social and cultural analyses, directly related to fundamental geographical issues.

Physical geographers: Study of the landforms, vegetation, soil, landforms, and their relation to human activities. This is an interface between environmental studies and geography in many ways. There are also direct intersections with the other sciences like geophysics, cartography, and civil engineering. Some areas of geography like cartography also have other less obvious applications in the forms of the work of surveyors and the creation of GPS satellite references. 

Political science: Study of political forces, forms and structure of government. 

Medical geography: The study of incidence of disease in populations defined in local and regional terms. This work includes epidemiological studies and projections.

Population demography: Measures population movement, growth, and distribution based on physical locations.

Geography is both an academic and a field science, in all its forms. Geographic research is based on intensive study of subject matter in the form of physical surveys, population demography, resource analysis, social and economic studies. In many cases these studies need to be conducted simultaneously to form an accurate picture of the area of study. 

The Career Environment 

The very high status of the disciplines derived from geography is a good indication of the career paths of geographers. From basic geography qualifications, all of these studies lead to doctorates and very significant roles in government, commerce, medicine, and policy development. 

Career advancement in geography can also take in multiple streams. Because of the close relationships of the social sciences, it's possible to obtain multiple degrees. A combination of economics and sociology, for example, would be a very strong combination of qualifications with a large range of career options.  

Career progression is based on qualifications to a point, but specialized studies and areas of expertise are the primary means of personal career development. At the higher levels of the geographic sciences, academic roles can also be significant elements in career advancement. These sciences have very high academic profiles, and top level colleges around the world try to attract leaders in these fields. 

The academic environment can be a very positive, supportive situation for those who wish to conduct major research projects. These projects include important developments and may be backed by college benefactors, industrial, and other commercial interest groups. Nobel Prizes are frequently awarded for institutional studies of this type. 

Geography is one of the major scientific fields. Demand for geographers in all fields is increasing as fields like economics, sociology, and epidemiology expand as global sciences.