What Is a GIS Certification Program?

A GIS (geographic information systems) certification can contribute to the expertise of those who seek work in the field. GIS certification programs are available through professional organizations. Read on to find out what kinds of GIS certifications may be available to you. Schools offering Culture & Media Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Purpose of a GIS Certification Program

As more and more professionals use GIS technology in their fields, an increasing number of them may seek voluntary certification. Surveyors, cartographers, urban and regional planners, mapping technicians, photogrammetrists, geographers, GIS analysts, and other GIS specialists all utilize GIS technology. GIS certification programs are generally intended to recognize your level of proficiency in GIS computer applications and programs, and can enhance your resume, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Certifications typically require you to meet specific experience and educational requirements, as well as pass an exam to earn certification.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Online Availability Many schools, such as Penn State, offer online Geospatial Education programs whose courses count towards the certificates' education requirements
Possible Careers Geographer, GIS analyst, mapping technician
Common Courses Nature of Geographic Information, Problem Solving with GIS, GIS Database Development
Continuing Education The ASPRS offers training webinars and Continuing Education credits

Certification Sources

GIS Professional

The GIS Certification Institute offers the certified geographic information systems professional (GISP) designation, which is conferred based upon the qualifications of the applicant. The GIS Certification Institute reports that you must meet specific education and experience requirements in order to be considered for the GISP certification (www.gisci.org). For instance, you must be capable of abiding by the organization's strict code of ethics. In addition, you must re-certify every five years in order to maintain your GISP designation. The GISP certification program requires you to submit an application and a reference letter that details your specific involvement in the GIS field including:

  • Experience in the GIS profession, including your work with GIS applications
  • Educational achievements
  • Contributions to your profession and community

Other Types of Programs

The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) offers GIS certification to professionals who have met work and training criteria and have passed a written examination. The ASPRS offers two types of GIS certification programs, one of which is called the Certified Mapping Scientist, GIS/LIS designation. Applicants must have proficiency in photogrammetry or a similar mapping science as well as geographic or land information systems. The ASPRS also offers a Certified GIS/LIS Technologist program. Those who apply for this certification program must have three years of experience in working with GIS systems and related data analysis.

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Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

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    • Master

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  • Concordia University Portland

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    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

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    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

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  • Keiser University

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  • Excelsior College

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    Popular programs at Excelsior College:

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  • University of Pennsylvania

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    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
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