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% from 2006 to 2016 (1).
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 June 2009, political scientists will less than 1 year experience made an average of $48,454 a year. Those with 1 to 4 years experience made an average of $47,500 and those with 5 to 9 years experience made an average of $78,100 (2).
A career as a political scientist is a great choice for individuals who have a genuine interest in politics. They must have an intellection curiosity and creativity to continuously obtain information about places, people, ideas, and things. Candidates must also have excellent oral and written communication skills and be able to think methodically and logically to examine complicated issues.