Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Geographers Do ... and Make

In the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, the Robin Williams character says:
… medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
Geographers have the good fortune of being able to pursue both a livelihood and a life within their chosen field. The Association of American Geographers (AAG) has identified 90 occupations that require geographic skills, and has compiled salary and employment data for each.

Employment and salaries in many categories remain remarkably strong, especially given the very difficult economy of the past few years. Our recent anecdotal experience suggests that graduate-school -- a common refuge during recessions -- is becoming much more competitive. And although jobs in any field are more difficult to find than in the recent past, geospatial skills (i.e., GIS) remain in high demand.

Salaries and employment trends are probably not valid as primary reasons to choose an academic path. But it is good to know that the study of geography can offer both personal and professional rewards.

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