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Master in Geography

Degrees in geography focus on the study of the Earth and its topography, features, and inhabitants. Students who want to become geographers, cartographers, forecasters or urban and regional planners can work towards a geography degree and learn how to create or modify maps, diagrams or other visual representations of geographic data.

Geographers are responsible for analyzing the geographic distribution of physical and cultural characteristics and occurrences. Cartographers compile data and use principles of cartographic design to make maps. The work of urban and regional planners involves developing plans and programs for the use of land. Jobs for geographers are anticipated to grow by 35% between 2010 and 2020 while the employment of cartographers is expected to increase by 22% during the same decade.

Master Degree Geography Programs
Though students can pursue associate or bachelor degrees, generally geographers need to hold a master's degree to increase their prospects for qualifying for most jobs. Students who are interested in research should pursue the master in geography degree. It may require 1-2 years for completion. However, the exact duration of the degree depends on the enrollment status of the students. The coursework in this program may include topics such as mathematics, physical and human geography, remote sensing. Classes are also available in real estate, economics and business.

Students who want to become geographers should have expertise in GIS technology. They can become certified as a GIS professional through the GIS Certification Institute. Generally, the certification requires candidates to have certain college credentials and work experience.

Online Master in Geography Programs
The distance learning schools also offer master's degrees in geography. Students who want to earn a relevant degree but cannot attend regular classes can pursue the online programs and study from virtually any location and at anytime. The online degrees can particularly be very useful for working professionals who want to switch careers as well as those who live in remote areas and cannot make it to degrees offered at traditional campus-based schools.

Employment Opportunities
Graduates with master in geography degrees can possibly find job opportunities in professional, scientific and technical services or colleges, universities, and professional schools. Some of them work on a part time basis as well, while others are full workers. In addition to office work, these professionals must also carry out fieldwork. They may also have to travel to foreign countries or remote locations. Geographers who want to improve their job prospects should earn advanced degrees and acquire experience with GIS. The salaries of these professionals may vary by location, experience and qualification. According to the BLS, the median annual wage of geographers in 2012 was $74,760.

Finding a School
As several schools offer degrees in geography, you should do some research and find out the accreditation, general ranking and other details of the programs and then weigh your options. The choice of a suitable program can make all the difference in your career. Make sure you explore all your options so that you can choose a program that is right according to your educational and professional objectives.

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