Cartographer: Educational Requirements for a Career in Cartography
Maps help people to find their way. A cartographer accurately determines what maps will look like. They must have specialized education and be licensed. Read on to learn more about the requirements of a cartographer.
Educational Requirements for Cartographers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that a bachelor's degree in cartography, geography or a related field is a common requirement for professional cartographers (www.bls.gov). Often, aspiring cartographers can find an appropriate program in university geography departments, which typically offer a bachelor's degree in geography with a concentration in cartography. Some schools may offer a degree or certificate in cartography, and some graduate programs in cartography are also available.
Bachelor of Science in Geography with Concentration in Cartography
These degree programs may not focus entirely on cartography. Instead, students learn about the physical and human geographies of an area, which include the principles of cartography, interpretation of aerial photographs and data analysis. Students may use many aspects of this knowledge in their cartographic careers.
Certificate in Cartography
In certificate programs, students collect and analyze data while they learn to create maps. Students can choose from courses in Geographic Information System (GIS) applications, basic and advanced cartography and use of remote sensing equipment to map the environment.
Licensure and Certification Information
The BLS noted that some states require cartographers to be licensed as surveyors. According to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), each state may have its own licensing requirements. However, it's not uncommon for individuals to have to pass two licensing exams, one in college and the other after four years of work experience.
According to O*Net OnLine, cartographers use information from surveys, photographs and other reports that they have gathered and created for the purpose of creating a new digital map or update existing ones (onetonline.org). These professionals use global positioning systems (GPS), computer-aided design (CAD) programs and specialized mapping software to create maps for a variety of purposes.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The BLS reported that as of May 2012, the median annual salary for cartographers and photgrammetrists was $57,440. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of jobs in this field were expected to grow by 22%.
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