Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences - Careers

Career Options for Geography Majors

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  • Career Options for Geography Majors

Through study of the two main branches of geography, human geography and physical geography, students will build a strong foundation of knowledge to help them in real-world problem solving.

Issues of world hunger, environmental quality, hazardous-waste disposal, crime, urban housing, agricultural productivity, water management, transportation and the value of land and real estate provide the hundreds of diverse jobs available to Geography graduates in which they can use their skills in data gathering, information retrieval, problem identification, systems theory and analysis, report production and presentation (written and verbal), plus the ability to work as part of a team in pulling together a variety of data and material.


Human Geography Physical Geography Technical Geography
Human Geography deals with the spatial aspects of human existence. It is concerned with how people and their activity are distributed in space, how they use and perceive space, and how they create and sustain the places that make up the earth’s surface. Fields of employment include urban and regional planning, transportation, marketing, real estate, tourism, and international business. Physical Geography is the study of patterns of climates, land forms, vegetation, soils, and water. Geographers forecast weather, manage land and water resources, analyze and plan for forests, rangelands, and wetlands. Computers are now fundamental to daily living. They are especially important in the creation, development, and manipulation of the most essential tool for geography majors - the map. City planners, land developers, real estate agents, utility and municipal officials all use Geographic Information Systems [GIS] to store, display, analyze, and map the spatial and non-spatial information as do remote sensing analysts and computer cartographers.

All types of geographers may have skills in cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and may also study the links between human activity and natural systems as it pertains to global warming, desertification, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, groundwater pollution and flooding.


  • Community Planner
  • Cartographer
  • GIS Specialist/Analyst and Manager
  • Forestry Technician
  • Weather Forecaster
  • Transport/Logistics Manager
  • Travel Agent
  • Air/Water Quality Control Manager
  • Remote Sensing Analyst
  • Computer Cartographer


  • Accountant (Mgmt and Public Finance)
  • Administrator (Public Sector)
  • Banker (Commercial)
  • Retail Manager (Retail Buying/Selling)
  • Surveyor (General Practice)


Regional Geography:
Regional geographers study major regions of the world, becoming area experts on the life in particular countries in order to bring an understanding to issues of U.S. foreign policy and international business.

OCCUPATION OPPORTUNITIES can be as area specialists, international business representatives, and travel agents.

Economic Geography:
This field is concerned with location and distribution of economic activity in industry, retail and wholesale businesses, transportation and trade, and the changing value of real estate in a 21st century global community.

OCCUPATION OPPORTUNITIES can include location expert, market researcher, traffic manager (shipper) and route delivery manager, as well as real estate agent or broker or appraiser.

Geographic Education:
A rise in secondary and college-level geography courses mandates a need for more geography teachers to instruct courses geared to state curriculum requirements in geography and earth science.

OPPORTUNITIES wait for elementary/secondary school teachers, college professors, and overseas teachers to American military personnel or businesspeople.

Environmental Studies:
Maintaining a delicate balance between nature and humans is a huge concern for 21st century government officials and the world citizenship as evidenced in the impact of toxic waste, air pollution and water pollution.

OPPORTUNITIES can be found as an environmental manager, forestry technician, park ranger or hazardous-waste planner.

Cartography and Geographic Information Systems:
Because maps are used by planners, engineers, utility companies, state agencies, construction companies, surveyors, architects, and ordinary citizens, one of the greatest growth areas is in the use of computers to generate maps and store map-related information.

OCCUPATION OPPORTUNITIES can be found as cartographer/computer mapper, geographic information system (GIS) specialist, remote-sensing analyst (aerial photo interpretation and satellite image analysis) , and surveyor.

Physical Geography and Earth Science:
Physical geography deals with the earth processes that concern human use of the earth as in agriculture which is dependent upon such physical processes as climate, weather, and formation and erosion of soils.

OPPORTUNITIES are open for weather forecasters, outdoor guides, coastal zone managers, soil conservationists and agricultural extension agents, and hydrologists.

Urban and Regional Planning:
World population is growing. Communities must develop in an orderly way, along with the services necessary to support them. Subdivisions and housing projects must be planned in a way to maintain land and real estate values.

OPPORTUNITIES in employment wait as urban and community planner, transportation planner, and health services planner.

Cultural and Human Geography:
Cultural origins and movement and cultural characteristics of regions (language, religion, ethnicity, politics, historical development, agricultural methods, settlement patterns, quality of life) are the focus in this field.

OPPORTUNITIES include Peace Corps volunteer, community developer, and map librarian.


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