Careers

Our majors engage in a variety of learning experiences to build professional, interpersonal, as well as transferable technical skills. Graduates go away with a rich educational foundation in geography that spans the physical and natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. With personalized guidance from academic advisors and professors, they also build strong organizational and communication skills that makes them leaders in the talent pool.

The American Association of Geographers lists the following careers based accounts for a combined 1,360,200 employees in geography-related fields. With emerging global challenges, large numbers of new job openings are expected through the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median wages for Geographers were $81,970 in 2019. Even the lowest paid 25% of Geographers made $63,300 annually, far exceeding the median wages for all income earners.

  • Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists:
    • Employment: 413,000
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $88,550
  • Geosphysical Data Technicians:
    • Employment: 16,300
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $51,130
  • Geographic Information Systems Technicians:
    • Employment: 412,800
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $88,550
  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists:
    • Employment: 11,800
    • Projected Growth: Much faster than average, 11% or higher
    • Median Wages: $65,470
  • Remote Sensing Technicians:
    • Employment: 72,400
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $50,550
  • Precision Agriculture Technicians:
    • Employment: 72,400
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $51,130
  • Urban and Regional Planners:
    • Employment: 39,100
    • Projected Growth: Much faster than average, 11% or higher
    • Median Wages: $74,350
  • Transportation Planners:
    • Employment: 39,400
    • Projected Growth: Average, 4-6%
    • Median Wages: $83,330
  • Environmental Scientists and Specialists:
    • Employment: 85,000
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $71,360
  • Environmental Restoration Planners:
    • Employment: 85,000
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $71,360
  • Atmospheric and Space Scientists:
    • Employment: 10,000
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $95,380
  • Soil and Plant Scientists:
    • Employment: 18,000
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $63,200
  • Climate Change Analysts:
    • Employment: 85,000
    • Projected Growth: Faster than average, 7-10%
    • Median Wages: $71,360

(*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment figures are for 2018; projected growth is for the period 2018-2028; median wages are for 2019)

About half of all professional geographers are employed by the federal government, and opportunities for geography majors abound in a variety of settings. Among the organizations that employ geography graduates:

  • Agricultural organizations
  • Architectural firms
  • U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
  • Census Bureau
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Colleges and universities
  • Construction
  • Consulting firms
  • Departments of State, Defense & Commerce
  • Elementary/secondary schools
  • Engineering firms
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal government
  • Forestry
  • International trade organizations
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Mining
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • Planning agencies

The department’s faculty is active in advising and assisting students who are interested in pursuing graduate study in geography and related fields. On the strength of their academic achievement, Valpo¬†students have earned teaching assistantships and research grants in geography from excellent graduate programs. Among them:

  • Western Michigan University
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of Iowa
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Denver Law School
  • Valparaiso University Law School
  • University of Texas