Careers in Geography

Career Preparation

Anywhere there are spatial questions to be considered, the geography graduate will feel right at home. There are good reasons to major in geography as an undergraduate. One of these reasons include the value of understanding how the humans and the environment interact throughout the world by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and quantitative analyses. Knowledge of spatial interactions and the skills to know how to approach human-environmental connections are desirable and helpful in a wide range of careers and fields. Our students learn essential skills in communication such as descriptive writing, careful listening, social ease in different situations, and public speaking in addition to training in research such as data collection and management, participant observation, interviewing, and statistical analyses. The general liberal arts education provides students with skills in critical thinking, team-based learning, problem solving, decision-making, global awareness, and is innately collaborative and interdisciplinary.

Geographers are found in educational institutions, corporations, all levels of government, and non-profit associations. Colorado State University has a strong Career Center to assist our students with achieving their goals. Our Career Education Manager Greg Head helps our students with job search advice based on specific interests. In addition, our “Paths to Success” provide an excellent starting point for students interested in exploring potential careers. We have listed a variety of career options below for geography. As students start to explore their career goals, we suggest that they understand their interests, skills, values in relation to the type of job that they want.

Questions to Explore:

What about geography appeals to you?

What general sector do you want to work in (consulting, private sector, public sector, university, non-profit, international vs. national)?

Where do you want to live?

What interests and talents do you have outside of school?

What skills are you learning in your classes that can be applied to this career path?

The American Association of Geographers provides many great resources for prospective geographers researching career opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Geography provides information on the median pay, suggested education, and job outlook for geographers employed in research positions.

Useful Skills

The graduate in geography has the skills and insights to think independently and critically, communicate effectively, and function in a multicultural world. Options for geographers include careers in international development, education, natural resource management, government, law, non-profit organizations, and business.

The geography program offers a broad background that can prepare students for a number of occupations. Some careers do require additional coursework and a number of our students go on to pursue advanced degrees.

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Private Sector Jobs

Private sector jobs can be found in consulting firms, environmental/engineering companies, and nonprofit organizations specializing in land management and conservation.

Private Sector Jobs
  • Data Technician
  • Geographic Information System Specialist
  • Survey Technician
  • Communications and Advancement Manager
  • Research Associate

Start your job search on sites such as:

Government & Public Sector Jobs

Government and public sector jobs can be found in federal, state, and local government.

Government & Public Sector Jobs
  • Geographer
  • Geographic Information System Specialist/Technician/Cartographer
  • Remote Sensing Specialist
  • GIS Coordinator
  • Physical Scientist
  • Research Associate
  • Parks and Rec Planner
  • Town Planner
  • Defense Mitigation Consultant
  • Urban and regional planning
  • Planning and Development
  • Park Service
  • Foreign Service

Start your job search on sites such as:

Jobs Requiring Additional Education

Jobs requiring addition education can be found in both the public and private sectors.

Jobs Requiring Additional Education
  • K-12 Social Studies Teacher
  • College level instructor
  • Academic Geographer
  • Research Associate
  • Landscape architect
  • Law
  • Spatial Scientist