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Geography: Degrees and Jobs for Military & Veterans

Mapping Out a Future Career in Geography

The Geography you knew as a kid was likely the memorization of locations of countries, states, capital cities, major physical landmarks, etc. In fact, a Degree in Geography is so much more than mapping and memorizing! Geography is a diverse, dynamic, and exciting science that helps people to better understand the physical, cultural, and political aspects of Earth.

Geography examines where things are located on the surface of the earth, why they are located where they are, and how places are similar and/or different. Geographers examine peoples’ interaction with the environment and how both physical and cultural landscapes change through time. Geography uses investigation and new technology to answer questions about Earth’s past and provide insights to the future.

Geography produces research of great value from government interests to private businesses. A geographer’s comprehensive knowledge of natural and social sciences, paired with knowledge of patterns and predictions, leads to a wide variety of career opportunities including:

  • Economics
  • Education
  • History
  • International relations
  • Cartography
  • GIS
  • Tourism
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Environmental Conservation
  • International Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Regional Planning

A Degree in Geography can commonly be found as a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD program. Some schools offer a Certificate in Geography; these certificate options usually focus on a particular aspect of geography such as mapping, population studies, geographic information system (GIS), etc.

Associate Degree in Geography

There are two main branches of Geography:

  • Physical Geography – the processes that make up and result in the earth’s climate, landforms, and the distribution of plants and animals
  • Human Geography – focuses on cultural aspects such as population, development, agriculture, language, and religion.

An Associate Degree in Geography will cover one or both of the main branches of Geography and will prepare students for an entry level career in the field. Students will also be academically prepared should they choose to continue their college career to earn a Bachelor’s Degree.

Jobs with an Associate Degree in Geography

Surveying technician

Collect data and make maps of the Earth’s surface. Median Annual Salary: $46,000.

Hydrologic Technician

Support scientists and engineers in exploring, extracting, and monitoring natural resources. Median Annual Salary: $51,000.

GI Bill®-approved Schools Offering a Geography Associate Degree

Allan Hancock College

Offers an Associate in Arts in Geography. Allan Hancock College has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for the CLEP and DSST exams . Allan Hancock College is a MyCAA approved school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

Moorpark College

Offers an Associate in Arts in Geography. Moorpark College is a GI Bill® approved school and offers credit for military experience. Moorpark College is a MyCAA approved school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

Pasadena City College

Offers an Associate in Arts in Geography. Pasadena City College has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for the CLEP exam. Pasadena City College is a MyCAA approved school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

Bachelor’s in Geography

A Bachelor’s in Geography offers students the foundations for academic and career success. In a comprehensive undergraduate program, Geography students will be able to:

  • effectively communicate a comprehensive understanding of geographic concepts and connections
  • understand human influence upon the Earth’s physical environment
  • compare and contrast demographic, cultural, and economic connections across the Earth
  • recognize regional, physical, and cultural differences and similarities across the globe
  • effectively use the methods and technologies used in geographic analysis (remote sensing, GIS, cartography, etc.)

A Bachelor’s in Geography will help students be successful in college, the workplace, and in their personal endeavors. Upon graduation, students will be well-prepared to enter the workforce in a variety of careers and/or pursue a graduate degree.

Jobs with a Bachelor’s in Geography

Research Assistant

Assist in laboratory, survey, and other research. May help prepare findings for publication and assist analysis, quality control, or data management. Median Annual Wage: $54,000.

Surveyor

Make precise measurements to determine property boundaries. Median Annual Salary: $66,000.

Cartographer

Collect, measure, and interpret geographic information in order to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education, and other purposes. Median Annual Wage: $68,000.

GI Bill-approved Schools Offering a Geography Bachelor’s Degree

Ready to start your Bachelor’s in Geography? Check out these great programs at our partner schools:

Framingham State University

Offers a Bachelor’s in Geography. Framingham State University has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and awards credit for both the CLEP and DSST exams. Framingham State University is a MyCAA approved school and proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

University of South Alabama

Offers a Bachelor’s in Geography. University of South Alabama has GI Bill approved program, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for the CLEP exam. University of South Alabama is a MyCAA approved school, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Master’s in Geography

A graduate degree in Geography will help students further build their communication, research, and critical thinking skills.

Students should be able demonstrate their expert knowledge in both Physical and Human Geography, as well as choosing at least one specialty field to focus on for their graduate studies.

Popular specialty fields of Geography include:

  • Physical Geography
    • Climatology
    • Geomorphology
    • Biogeography
    • Arctic and alpine systems
    • Hydrology
    • Global change
  • Human Geography
    • Population
    • Political
    • Urban
    • Social
    • Cultural
    • Human dimensions of environmental change
    • Conservation behavior
  • · Geographic Information Science (GIS)
    • Cartography
    • Remote sensing

A Master’s is a popular choice for those choosing career paths such as research, writing, or teaching.

Jobs with a Master’s in Geography

Postsecondary Teacher

Instruct students in Geography courses beyond the high school level. Median Annual Salary: $80,000.

Regional Planner

Develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities. Median Annual Salary: $76,000.

Geographer

Study the Earth and the distribution of its land, features, and inhabitants. Median Annual Wage: $85,000.

GI Bill-approved Schools Offering a Master’s Degree in Geography

Ready to start your Master’s in Geography? Check out these great programs at our partner schools:

University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg

Offers a Master of Science in Geography and a Bachelor of Science in Geography. The University of Southern Mississippi has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, awards credit for both the CLEP and DSST exams, and is approved for Tuition Assistance . The University of Southern Mississippi is a Yellow Ribbon school and a MyCAA approved school.

A Doctoral Degree in Geography

Become the ultimate expert in the field! Students pursuing a Doctorate in Geography will have a vast array of knowledge in the field in addition to their chosen specialty in which to become the premier expert.

Students studying for a PhD in Geography are expected to become published experts in their field and chosen specialty.

Jobs with a PhD in Geography

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Median Annual Salary: $98,000.

Author

Develop written content for various types of media on topics of Geography. Median Annual Salary: $122,000.

GI Bill-approved Schools Offering a Geography Doctoral Degree

Ready to start your PhD in Geography? Check out these great programs at our partner schools:

University of Arizona

Offers several great Geography degrees including a PhD in Geography and a PhD in Geography: Urban Planning Emphasis. The University of Arizona also offers a Master of Arts in Geography and several Bachelor’s in Geography including:

    • BA in Geography
    • BS in Geography: GIS Emphasis
    • BS in Geography: Physical Geography Emphasis
    • BS in Geography: Water, Environment, and Society Emphasis

University of Arizona is a GI Bill® approved school, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for both the CLEP and DSST exams. University of Arizona is a Yellow Ribbon school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

University of Colorado at Boulder

Offers a PhD in Geography, a Master of Arts in Geography, and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. The University of Colorado Boulder also offers several certificates through its Geography department including Undergraduate Certificates in:

    • Artic Studies
    • GIS
    • Hydrology

And Graduate Certificates in:

    • Development Studies
    • Hydrological Sciences
    • College Teaching (Geography)
    • Population Studies

University of Colorado Boulder has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for the CLEP exam. University of Colorado Boulder is a MyCAA approved school, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

*All statistics and calculations from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information click here.

 

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About the author

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Born in SoCal yet raised Tampa, Florida - Leah earned her undergraduate BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Leah earned her MA in the MALAS at San Diego State University, while also completing a graduate teaching certificate in English for Secondary Education. An avid traveler, she has visited more than 60 countries. With the birth of her son Spencer in 2012, Leah embarked on her biggest adventure (yet) as parent and Coast Guard wife.