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Geographers Job Outlook

Employment of geographers is expected to grow 35 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 600 new jobs over the 10-year period.

More widespread use of geographic information system (GIS) technology allows firms to use geographic data to make better business and planning decisions. Job growth is expected to be fastest in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, as businesses and developers need geographers to analyze information and advise on topics such as land use, building or infrastructure location, or environmental impact. 

Due to an increasing focus on environmental and sustainable practices, geographers are increasingly needed to understand human impacts on the environment. Geographic analysis will be used to inform developers and policy makers of sustainable business practices and ensure adherence to increased regulations.

Job Prospects

Despite faster than average employment growth, a limited number of positions means applicants are expected to face strong competition for jobs. Those with advanced degrees, knowledge of business concepts, and experience working with GIS should have the best job prospects. 

Job opportunities in the federal government should be limited as this sector is expected to decline. Additionally, some of the work previously done by government agencies is expected to be contracted to consulting firms in the future.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition