Association of American Geographers
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What Geographers Do

Geographers work in many different areas, such as environmental management, education, disaster response, city and county planning, community development, and more! Geography is an interdisciplinary field that offers diverse career opportunities.

What is unique about geography and how does that inform what geographers do?

Geography is the science of place and space. Geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the earth, why they are located where they are, how places differ from one another, and how people interact with the environment. Geography is unique in linking the social sciences and natural sciences together. Geographers also study the relationships between human activity and natural systems. There are two main branches of geography: human geography and physical geography. Human geography is concerned with the spatial aspects of human existence. Physical geographers study patterns of climates, land forms, vegetation, soils, and water. 

Geographers use many tools and techniques in their work, and geographic technologies are increasingly among the most important emerging fields for understanding our complex world. They include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), online mapping such as Google Earth, and others.

 

Geographic Subdisciplines and Sample Job Titles

To prepare today's students for tomorrow's workforce, the challenge is connecting disciplinary instruction with more general training that yields marketable and valued skills in the modern workplace. The data below identifies geographic and general/transferable skills with corresponding sample job titles. 

 Geomorphology

    Weather and Climate

    Biogeography

    Natural Hazards

    Economic Geography

    Political Geography

    Cultural Geography

    Population Geography

    Human Environmental Interaction

    Cartography

    GIS

    Photogrammetry

    Remote Sensing

    Field Methods

    Spatial Statistics

    Regional Geography

    Spatial Thinking

    Global Perspective

    Interdisciplinary Perspective

    Diversity Perspective


    Subdiscipline definitions from: Solem, Michael; Ivan Cheung; and M. Beth Schlemper. Skills in Professional Geography: An Assessment of Workforce Needs and Expectations. The Professional Geographer 60, no. 3 (2008): 356-373.

 

Information about Geography Careers

Geographers share career experiences and advice in this Facebook Group: What I Did With My Geography Degree.

Order the AAG Careers in Geography brochure.

Careers in Geography Brochure