How To Become a Cartographer

Cartographer Career
Median Salary $54,510/year or $26.21/hour
Education Requirements Bachelor’s degree
Professionals Employed 13,800
10 Years Job Outlook 22%
10 Years Job Growth 3,100

Mapping scientists, otherwise known as cartographers, are responsible for collecting geographic information and turning it into resources. They do this by taking aerial photographs and collecting survey data. After inspecting the materials, they will prepare maps and charts that show the surface of the earth in a more detailed manner.

It takes a lot of skill to read and understand the photographs, drawings and graphs that cartographers deal with on a daily basis. They must also learn how to use a variety of different tools, including: drafts, stereoplots, and many more. When cartographers make maps, they make detailed prints that have information about man-made and natural structures. There are also scales to give information about the size of the surface area.

Cartographer Average Salary

The average income from cartographers that work for the federal government is around $67,000 per year. The average income for individuals that work for private companies is around $46,000 per year. People who are more experienced will generally get paid more, just like with any other profession. Extra skills can also lead to making more money with most jobs.

The benefits offered by the federal government make working for it a great choice. Cartographers who keep their job for a long time can end up making a lot of money and having retirement benefits. Salary only increases with additional years of experience.

How to Become a Cartographer

Going to college is essential, so having a GED or high school diploma is the first thing to check off the education list. When in college, a bachelor’s degree in physical science or engineering will be required. Special emphasis should be put on cartography, which will provide course work in surveying and measurements. Once the degree has been accomplished, individuals can determine where to work or if they want to continue their education.

Career Opportunities

Professionals who complete college and take school training at a postsecondary school are likely to get jobs right away. Technicians are going to be the starting positions, but more experience will lead to making more money and becoming an official cartographer. Employment is growing quickly in this field and there are a lot more positions opening up with the government.

Tips for Aspiring Cartographers

Anyone interested in becoming a cartographer should consider the challenges that lie ahead. Although this job can be fulfilling for those who have a genuine interest, it can also be difficult. Work weeks can be long and most of the time will be spent in an office, rather than on the field. Patience and high levels of accuracy are required, so double checking work is absolutely essential. There is room to grow in this field, but it is going to take education and time.

Getting a master’s degree is also a way to make more money and turn this into a prosperous career. Most individuals who want this type of degree continue going to school while they are working after they complete their bachelor’s course of study. Researching schools online is one of the best ways to find which offer the best cartographer courses.