History vs Geography: Career ROI

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Updated: March 25, 2024, Reading time: 5 minutes

When you want to understand the world surrounding you, two subjects usually come into the picture: history and geography. While both fields sound the same, they are actually different.

History is the study of past events, specifically in human affairs. It involves analyzing, researching, and interpreting information so you will understand how the world has significantly changed over time. It teaches you to think about the past critically and how it influences both the past and the future.

Geography focuses on the Earth’s physical features and how humans relate to those features. Geographers learn how humans and the environment affect and interact with one another. These can be understood through the various areas of geography, including:

Comparing History vs Geography

Average Salary/Earnings$64,540/year$88,900/year
Job Growth (2022-2032)3% (300 new jobs)1% (100 job openings)
What They DoHistorians analyze, research, interpret, and write about the past through historical documents and sources.Geographers study the Earth’s atmosphere and the distribution of its inhabitants, land, and features.

How Can You Get Started In History?

A Bachelor’s in History is a step toward becoming a thinker, researcher, and doer! As a History major, you will study crucial historical developments and specializations, as well as the global impacts of previous events.

An undergraduate coursework in History introduces you to cultures and civilizations that shape society today. Commonly, students learn about African American literature, the Renaissance, Latin American history, and the Progressive Era.

Ancient world civilizations, modern US history, historical methods, and World Wars are also popular subjects.

Essential Skills of a Historian

Jobs for History Degree Holders

History-oriented careers are varied, depending on the field of specialization you wish to focus on. In general, if you’re interested in historical events and eras, a History degree is the right choice.

Depending on your academic background and experience, you can land any of the jobs below with your History degree.

History Degree JobAnnual Median Pay
History Professors$80,840
Park Rangers (Foresters) $64,420
Reporters/ Journalists$55,960
Museum Archivists$53,420

Opportunities for Advancements in History

If you dream of becoming a History professor or publishing your original research, earning a master’s degree. Subsequently, completing a doctoral program in History should be in your plans!

Another option is to get into a graduate program in Education, Social Science, or Law.

At the graduate level, History students conduct intensive explorations into historical periods. They must complete a capstone project to demonstrate the skills acquired throughout the program. In particular, a doctoral study in History requires you to do original research that creates a positive academic contribution to the field.

As a History professor, it is expected that you commit to continuing education after completing your graduate program.

Why a career in History could be for you:

A career in History isn’t for you if:

How Can You Get Started In Geography?

Geography majors can specialize in specific aspects of the discipline, including Economic Geography, Water Resources, and Urban Geography. A Bachelor’s in Geography is your ticket to entry-level jobs in nonprofits or the government, but you must have a firm background in applied technologies like Geographic Information Systems (GIS), GPS, and remote sensing.

GIS professional certificates, which GIS specialists should pursue, are offered via the GIS Certification Institute. They take only one year to complete and are designed to supplement other specialty studies like Geology, Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Science.

Essential Skills of a Geographer

Jobs for a Geography Degree Holder

Geography Degree JobAnnual Median Pay
Geopolitical Analyst$128,020
Transportation Manager$108,910
Computer Programmer$97,800
Geospatial Analyst$88,900
GIS Specialist$87,480
Geography Teacher$80,520
Landscape Architect$73,210
Travel Writer$73,150
Market Researcher$68,230
Park Ranger$64,420
Real Estate Appraiser$61,560

Opportunities for Advancement in Geography

In specializing in a particular area of Geography, you are most likely to complete a postgraduate study. Postgraduate courses in surveying, teaching, landscape architecture, or urban/rural planning are also very popular.

Are you considering research positions outside the government? You must obtain a master’s or a doctorate, plus several years of relevant work experience.

Why Geography could be for you:

Geography isn’t for you if:

history vs geography - fact


The fields of History and Geography are intertwined. They usually influence each other, and both help societies understand how they evolve. While both are important professions, they are relatively small fields of practice characterized by strong competition.

To stand out in either, you need to earn the required degree, gain relevant experience through internships, volunteering, or work programs, and complete lifelong courses.

Additional Information: