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Careers

Geography students learn the types of skills that reach across a number of disciplines and potential professions, often combining their knowledge of human-environmental relationships to work in areas such as:

  • town planning
  • travel and tourism
  • environmental protection
  • civil engineering, research
  • teaching (grade school through college)
  • urban planner
  • climatologist or meteorologist
  • GIS specialist
  • environmental/resource management
  • transportation management
  • emergency management
  • demographer
  • communications
  • national park service ranger
  • real estate appraisal

While jobs listed as “anthropologist” are not common outside of academia, graduates with an anthropology degree are well-suited for a career in any number of fields, including:

  • education
  • health care
  • museum curation
  • social work
  • international development
  • government, organizational psychology
  • non-profit management
  • forensics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Geographers earn an average of $72,900 annually. Geography positions are expected to grow 30 percent or more by 2020, which is much faster than the average rate of growth (BLS).

The BLS estimated that 60 percent of geographers worked for federal government agencies in 2010, 15 percent for architectural or engineering firms and 9 percent for academic institutions. The remaining 16 percent worked for commercial research & development firms or state-government agencies.

Anthropologists on average earn about $58,000 per year (BLS). Anthropology positions are expected to grow 20-28 percent by 2020, which is faster than the average rate of growth (BLS).

Geography and Anthropology Jobs

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Job listings

American Anthropological Association Job listings

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Job listings

Career Services Center at the University of Delaware Job Listings

Purdue OWL online resume workshop

The LSU Career Center online

Careers for geographers

The AAG lists common careers taken with a geography degree (below), as well as salary trends and job postings at AAG.org.

Geomorphology
Knowing and applying geographic information about geology and the processes that shape physical landscapes (e.g. soils, hydrology, topography, erosion)

  • Soil and Plant Specialist
  • Water Resources Specialist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Geophysicist

Weather and Climate
Knowing and applying geographic information about weather, climate, and atmospheric processes (e.g., temperature, precipitation, air quality)

  • Climate Change Analyst
  • Weatherization Installers and Technician
  • Atmospheric and Space Scientist
  • Climatologist

Biogeography
Knowing and applying geographic information about ecosystems and ecological processes (e.g., vegetation, wildlife, natural habitats)

  • Soil and Plant Scientist
  • Natural Sciences Manager
  • Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist
  • Forester
  • Biological Science Technician

Natural Hazards
Knowing and applying geographic information about natural hazards (e.g., hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fire)

  • Emergency Management Specialist
  • Forest Fire Inspector
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Ecological Risk Assessor
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Hazards Analyst

Economic Geography
Knowing and applying geographic information about the economy and economic processes (e.g., labor, development, industry, agriculture, transportation, trade, resources, land use, technology change)

  • Transportation Manager
  • Community Resource Specialist
  • Market Researcher
  • Business Development
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Environmental Economist

Political Geography
Knowing and applying geographic information about political systems and processes (e.g., governments, political activism, nongovernmental organizations, nations, states, international relations, nationalism)

  • Community Organizer
  • Policy Consultant
  • Policy Researcher
  • Lobbyist

Cultural Geography
Knowing and applying geographic information about culture and cultural processes (e.g., religion, language, ethnicity, diffusion, meaning of landscapes, cultural significance of place)

  • Tour Guide and Escort
  • Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teacher
  • Interpreter & Translator
  • Historic Preservationist
  • Writer/Editor

Population Geography
Knowing and applying geographic information about population, demography, and demographic processes (e.g., population density, migration, birth and death rates, fertility rates)

  • Market Analyst
  • Population, Real Estate, Community Association Manager
  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Demographer
  • Public Health Officer

Human Environmental Interaction
Knowing and applying geographic information about relationships between nature and society (e.g., pollution from industrial development, economic effects of drought)

  • Tour Guide
  • Accredited Land Consultant
  • Manager of Sustainability
  • Environmental Affairs Specialist

Cartography
Designing paper or digital maps

  • Cartographer and Photogrammetrist
  • Surveying and Mapping Technician
  • Civil Drafter
  • Graphics Editor
  • Digital Cartographer

GIS
Using GIS to acquire, manage, display, and analyze spatial data in digital form

  • Geospatial Information Scientist and Technologist
  • Geospatial Analyst
  • GIS Developer
  • Logistics Analyst
  • Transportation Planner
  • Environmental Consultant

Photogrammetry
Recording, measuring, and plotting electromagnetic radiation data from aerial photographs and remote sensing systems against land features identified in ground control

  • Cartographer and Photogrammetrist
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Surveyor
  • Photogrammetric Compilation Specialist
  • Geodesist

Remote Sensing
Understanding the underlying theories and methods related to acquiring an object without contacting it physically (e.g., aerial photography, radar and satellite imaging)

  • Remote Sensing Scientist and Technologist
  • Geointelligence Specialist
  • Remote Sensing Analyst
  • Sensor Specialist
  • Radar and Sonar Technician

Field Methods
Using interviews, questionnaires, observations, photography, maps, and other techniques for measuring geographic information in the field

  • Surveyor
  • Water Quality Scientist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Field Interviewer
  • Environmental Health Specialist

Spatial Statistics
Using quantitative methods to process spatial data for the purpose of making calculations, models, and inferences about space, spatial patterns, and spatial relationships

  • GIS Technician
  • Statistical Assistant
  • Architect

Regional Geography
Possessing and applying knowledge of the physical and human geography of a specific country or world region

  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Geointelligence Specialist
  • Tour Guide & Escort
  • Interpreter & Translator
  • Historic Preservationist
  • Community Developer

Spatial Thinking
Identifying, explaining, and finding meaning in spatial patterns and relationships (e.g., site conditions, how places are similar and different, the influence of a land feature on its neighbors, the nature of transitions between places, how places are linked at local, regional, and/or global scales)

  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Surveyor
  • Geophysical Data Technician
  • Spatial Analysis Consultant
  • Environmental Specialist

Global Perspective
Possessing and applying knowledge of how people, places, and regions are linked by global networks and processes (e.g., globalization, international trade, immigration, Internet technology, global climate system)

  • Logistics Manager
  • Mapping Technician
  • Geodetic Surveyor
  • International Development Specialist
  • Journalist
  • Foreign Services Officer

Interdisciplinary Perspective
Drawing on and synthesizing the information, concepts, and methods of the natural and social sciences for geographic research and application

  • International Development Specialist
  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Humanitarian Affairs Analyst
  • Program Manager

Diversity Perspective
Using knowledge about population diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, disability) to interpret social, economic, and political issues in different place

  • Human Resources Manager
  • Academic Advisor
  • Market Researcher
  • Public Diplomacy Officer
  • Travel Guide

Careers for Anthropologists

The American Anthropological Association lists career options and resources (below) for graduating students.

National Association of Practicing Anthropologists promotes the practice of anthropology both within the discipline and among private and public organizations. Site offers student resources, such as mentoring match.

The National Association of Student Anthropologists addresses graduate and undergraduate student concerns and to promote the interests and involvement of students as anthropologists-in-training.

Here are an few of the titles held by those in the field:

  • Contract Archaeologist
  • Corporate Analyst
  • Corporate Anthropologist
  • Editor
  • Educational Planner
  • Forensic Specialist
  • Government Analyst
  • High School Teacher
  • Medical Researcher
  • Museum Curator
  • Park Ranger
  • Peace Corps Staffer
  • Social Worker
  • Technical Writer
  • Translator
  • University Administrator

Graduating soon? Post a resume and keep an eye out for job possibilities.