An excellent source of information on geography-related careers can be found on the Association of American Geographers’ website: http://www.aag.org/cs/careers. Here you will find resources on types of jobs, salary forecasts, profiles of geographers, and professional development tools.
The following excerpt is from “Where Geographers Work”, found at: http://www.aag.org/cs/where_geographers_work.
Many geographers pursue rewarding careers in education; business; local, state, or federal government agencies; and nonprofit organizations. These sectors can be described as follows:
- Education – The education sector includes K through 12 institutions, colleges and universities that award at least a two-year degree, continuing education and informal education organizations, and higher education institutions. Educators may also work in educational administration and academic research positions.
- Business – The business, or private, sector refers to the segment of the economy composed of enterprises owned by individuals or groups. Corporations are accountable to their shareholders and operate at national or international scales. Independent businesses are privately owned by an individual or small group and usually operate at a local or regional scale.
- Government – Applicants new to the public sector, which includes federal, state, and local government, may find the broad, integrative perspective offered by academic training in geography to be an asset. Nearly 2 million civilians—1.8 percent of the U.S. workforce—are employed by the federal government, while state and local governments employ 19.8 million workers. Geography’s emphasis on addressing real-world problems and issues is excellent preparation for public sector employment, particularly at the local and state levels where much policy innovation, implementation, and bottom-line responsibility reside.
- Nonprofit – Roughly nine percent of the U.S. workforce (12 million individuals) is employed by an estimated 1.4 million nonprofit organizations, whose causes and values span the entire political spectrum. Because nonprofits typically strive to create a better world (as defined by their mission statements), they offer great opportunities for job seekers hoping to make a difference.
The US Department of Labor also collects various information on the occupations of geographers–US Labor Statistics Report “Occupational Outlook Handbook” for Geography:
University Career Services
You should also make yourself familiar with University Career Services (http://careers.unc.edu/). They can help you to explore career options and find internships/part-time jobs relating to your career of interest. They offer advice about careers and help with such matters as writing a resume and having an interview. They also have a library of books that you might find useful to browse for more details/descriptions of jobs in geography-related fields. Their resource room is open Mon – Fri 8:00 am-5:00 pm and contains career-related books, handouts, directories, periodicals, and employer literature.
Students may consider a gap year experience. Resources on and off campus can help students plan a gap year. At UNC, the Global Gap Year Fellowship supports students. Off-campus programs, for example, Affordable Colleges Online could also be of help to students.
See what physical geographers do in the video below:
Links to job opportunities in geography