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Geography Teacher Education

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

The Geography Teacher Education program at Illinois State is the oldest in the State of Illinois. It is a relatively small program, with nine full-time professors and one full-time instructor who work closely with the College of Education to effectively prepare student candidates to become well-prepared teachers.

Students will become certified to teach all high school social science courses (world and U.S. history, government and politics, sociology, economics, and psychology), including AP and honors geography. Students are encouraged to complete the middle school endorsement to teach in middle and junior high schools as well.

Why Study Geography Teacher Education?

A degree in Geography provides a strong preparation for a diverse range of careers It is also an effective preparation for a range of professional schools. However, geographers also have a number of specific technical and analytical skills that prepare them well for very specific tasks. Traditionally, geographers have been sought after as cartographers, planners (urban and environmental) and location analysts. Geographic Information Systems specialists are increasingly in demand. Geography provides a broad foundation for future career endeavors.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Strong writing and speaking skills
  • Ability to examine data and conduct field studies
  • Using technical tools to survey and sample
  • Ability to use statistical applications
  • Ability to communicate to different cultures
  • Good research skills and management skills
  • Maintain records and utilize them in projects
  • Develop project designs
  • Ability to work independently
  • Desire to help and influence mankind
  • Keen interest in the natural and social sciences
  • Computer knowledge is becoming extremely important in geography.  Obtain experience with geographic information systems.
  • Develop strong mathematical and statistical skills.
  • Develop skills and interest in mapping, graphics, and charts. An interest in photography may prove beneficial.
  • Develop good communication skills.

Being Successful in the Field

  • Bachelor's degree qualifies you for entry-level positions in government and industry.
  • Master's degree qualifies you for community college teaching and advancement in industry and government.
  • Ph.D. is required for research and teaching positions in colleges and universities and senior positions in government and industry.
  • Obtain volunteer, part-time, summer, internship, or co-op experience in your area of interest.
  • Join professional organizations such as the American Geography Society or the National Council for Geographic Education.
  • Become a member of groups directed toward improvement of natural resources or environment and pollution control.
  • Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy, conservation, and industry trends.

Related Fields

Environmental Geography

  • Environmental Management
  • Conservation
  • Waste Management
  • Environmental Regulation
  • Emergency Management
  • Outdoor Recreation Management

Employers

  • Federal and state government: Environmental Protection Agency, Departments of Agriculture
  • National Forest Service, National Park Service
  • Real estate developers
  • Scientific and research groups
  • Waste management companies
  • Chemical companies
  • Firms specializing in forestry, mining, environmental issues, or surveying
  • Lawfirms

Strategies

  • Become skilled in related computer technology. 
  • Take biology and chemistry courses for environmental management positions. 
  • Take electives in plant science, forestry and wildlife management for careers in recreation and forestry management. 
  • Join environmental organizations on campus and in your community. 
  • Seek environmental-related experience through internships, summer or part-time jobs. 
  • Learn federal government job application process. 
  • Earn a law degree for work areas such as environmental law and policy.

Cultural and Human Geography

Cultural and human geographers study the aspects of geography thatrelate to different cultures.  They especially focus on cultural origins and movement and cultural characteristics of regions.

  • Cultural Resources
  • Historic Preservation
  • Historical Consultation
  • Community Development/Redevelopment
  • Education
  • Research

Employers

  • State, regional, and local government
  • Peace Corps
  • Real estate developers
  • Companies dealing with insurance, transportation, communications, and international trade
  • Scientific and research groups
  • Museums

Strategies

  • Develop an open mind towards the language, history, customs, and culture of other countries.
  • Learn how to conduct library research, make field observations, and interpret artifacts. 
  • Learn a foreign language for field observations in other countries. 
  • Participate in cross-cultural groups and organizations. 
  • Develop excellent communication and teamwork skills in order to work with historians and archivists in recreating the geography of the past. 
  • Obtain related experience in your area of interest through volunteer or paid positions including internships. 
  • Become skilled in related computer technology. 
  • Learn federal, state, and local government job application process.

Geographic Technology

Geographers utilize a variety of technologies to generate maps, store, analyze and interpret map information.

  • Cartography
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Remote Sensing

Employers

  • Federal government agencies: Departments of Defense, Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, and State, Defense Mapping, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Central Intelligence Agency
  • State and regional government agencies: Departments of Transportation or Agriculture
    Private industry including telephone, utilities, construction, engineering, energy, environmental planning, and consulting firms
  • Map publishers
  • Mapping software companies
  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

  • Take courses in surveying and measurements, photo grammetry, computer systems, database management, technical mathematics, drafting, statistics, optics, remote sensing, art, and graphics. 
  • Learn to be detail-oriented. 
  • Gain experience reading maps and interpreting data sources including geological surveys and satellite images. 
  • Seek related experience such as a part-time job or internship, to develop technical skills.
  • Investigate federal, state, and local government job application process.

Planners

Planners ensure that communities develop in anorderly way and that they have the services necessary to support them.

  • City/Regional Planning
  • Housing Development
  • Convention/Tourism
  • Community Development
  • Demography
  • Transportation
  • Waste Management
  • Conservation

Employers

  • City, county, and regional planning agencies
  • Local and state government
  • Federal government agencies including:  Agency for International Development, World Bank, Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Research organizations
  • Private business
  • Banks
  • Industrial firms
  • Public utilities
  • Architecture firms
  • Real estate developers

Strategies

  • Develop teamwork and communication skills.
  • Participate in student government. 
  • Take courses in public administration or public finance. 
  • Observe city/county advisory meetings. 
  • Seek internship or work experience in a local government office, as they are a large employer in this area. 
  • Learn federal, state, and local government job application process.  Obtain master's degree in planning. 
  • Earn a dual degree in planning and law. 
  • Research the certified planning credential obtained through the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Physical Geography

Physical geographers study earth processes such as climate and weather.  They also evaluate the impact of natural hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

  • Biogeography
  • Geomorphology
  • Natural Hazards
  • Weather and Climate
  • Hydrology
  • Environmental Regulation
  • Waste Management and Disposal

Employers

  • State and local government
  • Federal government agencies including: US Department of Agriculture, US Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Forest Service, Bureau of LandManagement, The National Resources Conservation Service
  • TV/Radio stations
  • Agribusiness corporations
  • Outdoor recreation companies
  • Resource management agencies
  • Research institutes
  • Insurancecompanies

Strategies

  • Develop strong analytical and communication skills. 
  • Take courses inphysics, chemistry, soil science, and agriculture.
  • Take courses like weather systems, atmospheric dynamics, thermodynamics, and physical meteorology for more job options in meteorology/atmospheric science. 
  • Gain experience through part-time jobs, internships or volunteer opportunities related to climate, weather or natural hazards. 
  • Be willing to relocate to regions that have job availability.

Economic Geography

Economic geographers study the distribution of resources and economic activities within a certain region.  They may use this information to advise organizations on where to build new facilities.

  • Location Scouting
  • Real Estate Analysis
  • Transportation
  • Agricultural Planning
  • Travel/TourismPlanning

Employers

  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Market research firms
  • Manufacturing, wholesale, and retail firms
  • Public utilities
  • Consulting firms
  • Real estate appraisers and developers
  • Banks

Strategies

  • Develop strong communication skills. 
  • Take business courses such as economics, advertising, marketing, finance, and statistics to increase marketability in the field. 
  • Earn a business minor. 
  • Learn to see all sides of a problem, including economic, social, political, and environmental.
  • Observe city/county/advisory meetings. 
  • Obtain business or planning-related work/volunteer experience to build contacts and increase marketability. 
  • Consider earning a master's degree in planning.

Geographic Education

Geography teachers may specialize in one or more areas of the discipline or incorporate it into a social science education program.

  • Teaching
  • Research

Employers

  • Elementary/secondary schools, public and private
  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

  • Develop strong communication skills, both oral and written. 
  • Seek volunteer or paid experiences, such as camp counselor or tutor, with target age group.
  • Research state standards for certification.
  • Obtain certification/licensure for public school teaching. 
  • Obtain multiple certifications for increased employability. 
  • Specialize in an area such as quantitative research techniques, computer mapping, or natural resource management.
  • Join National Council for Geographic Education.
  • Complete a master's degree for community college teaching or a Ph. D.for college/university teaching and research.
  • Maintain a high grade point average and build strong faculty recommendations to prepare for graduate school.

Other Professions

  • Strong writing and speaking skills
  • Ability to examine data and conduct field studies
  • Using technical tools to survey and sample
  • Ability to use statistical applications
  • Ability to communicate to different cultures
  • Good research skills and management skills
  • Maintain records and utilize them in projects
  • Develop project designs
  • Ability to work independently
  • Desire to help and influence mankind
  • Keen interest in the natural and social sciences

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Renee Carrigan  110 Student Services Building  rdcarugl@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5864 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA

2.00

Middle 50% GPA

2.19 - 3.22

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

  • Human Geography (GEO 140)
  • Introduction to Psychology (PSY 110)
  • World Geography (GEO 135)
  • Macro- and Micro- Economics (ECO 105)
  • Educational Psychology (PSY 215)
  • American Government or History

Additional Information

It is strongly recommended that students meet the Basic Skills Requirement prior to enrollment. Visit the College of Education's website for details on acceptable ACT or SAT scores which can be used to meet this requirement.

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Jill Freund Thomas  Felmley Hall 200B  jfthoma@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8403 

Middle 50% GPA

2.19 - 3.22

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

Applications are always available.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on My.IllinoisState.edu.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Jill Freund Thomas  Felmley Hall 200B  jfthoma@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8403 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016
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