Geography is far from just studying countries and maps. Indeed, careers utilising geography skills involve research, data analysis, and exceptional communication. As you can imagine, these translate to a wider range of careers for geography students.

As well as being relevant to the more traditional paths that utilise knowledge of geography specifically, these skills are also highly transferable and valued in other careers.

Take a look at these potential career paths for geography students:

Cartographer

A genuine interest in maps can take students into the world of cartography. This involves dealings with all aspects of developing and producing maps, including the scientific, technological, and artistic elements.

Cartographers have a more varied workload than one might initially imagine, such as analysis, design, computer work, database maintenance, and client liaison.

These skills are valuable to government departments, conservation experts, the military, and surveying companies. In the first instance, students will need a degree in a spatial science then potentially a postgraduate specialist qualification.

The British Cartographic Society has more information on what to expect from a career in cartography.

Surveyor

Surveying can be a career in itself, opening up opportunities across commercial, residential, and development sectors.

The analytical skills obtained by geography pupils throughout their studies will serve them well in a career that thrives on accuracy and confident assessment.

This type of career path requires effective communication and the flexibility to work with colleagues from various industries to ensure smooth buying, selling, and development processes.

It would therefore be suited to students who have an aptitude for communication as well as being enthusiastic about geography and development. Ideally, work experience in the sector prior to, or during, an accredited undergraduate degree will boost career potential.

The Survey Association has comprehensive guidance on career paths for surveyors.

Environmental Consultant

Often, geography students have a passion for understanding the environment and, as a natural extension of this, endeavouring to protect it.

Environmental consultants work with both private and public sector organisations to limit and manage the effects of their impact on the environment. This type of work encompasses various disciplines, including flood risk analysis, waste management, renewable energy, and contamination issues.

The typical career path for an environmental includes a relevant degree and employment by a consultancy firm in the first instance. 

Starting salaries are, on average, between £22,000 and £24,500 and Prospects has an overview of qualifications and skills needed to become an environmental consultant.

Transport Planner

Some students have a natural aptitude for transport planning and their passion for this can be utilised most effectively in a transport planning role.

These roles are often found within specialist consultancies, although there are public sector roles and specific positions within transport companies and providers.

Numerical and problem-solving skills are key to success in transport planning roles. There are several pathways to career success in transport planning, including degrees in civil engineering, town planning, and mathematics.

It is also possible to enter the field without a degree, although this is rarer and requires more on-the-job training.

The Transport Planning Society has published a guide to careers in transport planning and also offer guidance on professional development and apprenticeships.

Logistics and Distribution

Logistics roles use a variety of skills to get people and goods from one place to another, on time and on budget.

It can include transportation, stock control, and warehousing skills, many of which are skills transferable from geography studies.

The ability to communicate effectively and manage time efficiently are skills that geography students will have developed during their studies.

To gain access to the field, you’ll likely need a degree in areas such as business, computing, economics, and geography, with many companies recruiting for graduate training programmes for students to move straight into work.

You can find information about starting a career in logistics and distribution from The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. They also offer careers advice and resources for students, teachers and parents.