Columbus State University Print Logo

Department of History & Geography

Department of History & Geography

Jobs and Careers in Geography

Geography is a broad field (including physical and human geography). There are many different types of jobs open to geographers. To help focus on the variety of jobs geographers are prepared for, explore the following sites:

The Association of American Geographers (AAG) [] provides support and an online job board for geographers.


The Role of GIS in Your Career

If you are seeking a job upon graduation from CSU or graduate school, geospatial practices taught in GIS (Geographical Information Science) courses opens many doors. These courses combine academic knowledge, technical skills, and real world application to prepare you to practice GIS. The U.S. Department of Labor has identified geospatial technology as an area of high job growth and pay.

When geospatial practices are combined with other disciplinary skills the combinatorial job market is broad. Geospatial skills augment disciplinary skills in ways employers frequently deem valuable. For example, geospatial practices augment skills for those seeking jobs as computer systems analysts, operations research analysts, atmospheric and space scientists, geoscientists, hydrologists, sociologists, urban and regional planners, political scientists, forest conservationists, environmental scientists.

Some of the statistics on job prospects and salary are exciting:

  • Geoscientists earn a median wage of $57,440 per year (2012) and the growth rate is projected at 20% over 10 years (faster than the national average job growth rate).
  • Geographers have a median pay of $74,760 with 29% projected growth making it a profession growing faster than the average rate.
  • Combining GIS skills with the study of physical aspects of the Earth, results in a 2012 median pay of $90,890 and a projected growth rate of 16% over 10 years.
  • A search of Foster & Kahan ( (October 17, 2014), returned 282 entry level GIS jobs advertised of which

- 168 had salary estimates in excess of $60,000;

- 665 GIS Technician jobs of which 288 had estimated salaries in excess of $60,000;

- 738 GIS Specialist jobs with 485 in excess of $60,000;

- 1,142 GIS Analysts jobs with 764 in excess of $70,000;

- 1,808 GIS Managers jobs with 1,200 in excess of $70,000.

  • The Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) "National Spatial Data Infrastructure Strategic Plan 2014 – 2016" cites A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study'S evidence that geospatial technologies employ approximately 500,000 people in the United States.
  • Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) report states the sector has been growing by 35% per year (Federal Geographic Data Committee, 2013).


One of the many job sites can be found at 



Federal Geographic Data Committee – National Spatial Data Infrastructure Strategic Plan 2014 - 2016

National Geospatial Advisory Committee – A 2009 report on geospatial jobs

National Research Council of the National Academies – Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence

U.S. Dept. of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics - where you can research a range of professions, many GIS related categories are found under the first category, Architecture and Engineering Occupations and later under Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations

U.S. Dept. of Labor – High growth industry profile – geospatial technology