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Career Facts - Geography Program

What They Do:

Geography is concerned with studying the earth's topography and climate and how these affect people and living things.  Geographers analyze economic, social, and physical resources while attempting to explain the relationships between people and their environment.

Geographers analyze physical and cultural phenomena from small land areas to global occurrences.  They examine locations, places, movements of people, and human/environmental interactions in different regions of the world.  Careers that investigate boundary problems, urban change, environmental crises and market analysis allow a person with a geography background to draw upon both their physical and cultural training.  Many geographers use geographic information systems (GIS) technology to create computerized maps to analyze population shifts, environment, and natural resources which is then used to guide decisions.

Individuals with careers in Geography sub-fields include:

  • Cultural Geography studies variations in climate, vegetation, soil and landforms and their implications for human activity.
  • Economic Geography  studies the distribution of resources and economic activities
  • Mathematical Geography studies Quantitative Research Methods in Geography
  • Medical geography studies health care delivery systems, epidemiology and effect of environment on health
  • Political geographers are concerned with relationship of geography to political phenomena
  • Regional geography studies physical, economic, political, and cultural characteristics of regions
  • Social geography studies population distribution and how people live and migrate over space in relation to physical features and to other people.
  • Urban and Transportation geography studies problems connected with land use, transportation, water and sewage systems, housing, industry, and commerce in cities and regional areas.

Related Occupations:

Urban and Regional Planning, Aerial Photo Interpreting, Cartography, Climatology,  Oceanography, Environmental Analysis, Geography, Global Positioning Systems, Industrial Development, International Business, Land Development, Maps, Meteorology, Demography, Recreation and Regional Analysis, Rural Planning or Teaching.

Who Would Enjoy It

People who have:

  • The urge to understand the distribution and relationship between the physical and human environments and phenomena.
  • A desire to find solutions to human and environmental problems for the betterment of humanity.
  • A desire to work anywhere from office to field work ? in teams or alone.
  • A desire to work with other disciplines such as biologists, economists, geologists and political scientists.

What They Earn:

There is great variability in earnings dependant upon education, location and type of work and/or position.  According to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings of Geographers were $58,970 in May, 2004.  Depending on position and education, beginning salaries range from $24,677 to $54,221.

How Many Jobs Available:

Geography is a broad field with varying jobs in the discipline and its related fields.  It is difficult to outline job availability and earnings in general. Both local and national statistics for individual careers may be reviewed online through the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics www.bls.gov   It is recommended that related career fields be researched at this site.

How Much Schooling, Training, or Skill Development:

Students who graduate with an Associates Degree transfer to four-year institutions to complete their degree program. A Bachelor's degree is required to teach in the K-12 education system. Most entry-level jobs outside of K-12 education, require a master's degree, although it is very dependant on the job.

What They Study at LCC:

Follow the Curriculum Guide for Associate in Arts Degree with a concentration in Geography

Links:

The Association of American Geographers
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Science at Lansing Community College

Science Department
Arts & Sciences Building, Room 301
Phone: (517) 483-1092
Additional contact information »