GIS is a system that deals with spacial or geographical systems. There are a variety of careers that use GIS as either the main function of the job, or as an element of a broader job description. GIS systems are used frequently in the environmental field, as well as engineering, government, advertising, technology, insurance, and medicine.
Take a course through ES or EOS that focuses on using ArcGIS. The ES Program offers a short course in June for students on campus with summer fellowships. You will both gain a skill valued by organizations and companies and have the opportunity to conduct meaningful research in an area of interest. You can also demonstrate your proficiency with ArcGIS by gaining an Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute) Technical Certificate – a knowledge-focused and exam-based (online) certificate. The exams recognize expertise in three domains: desktop, developer, and enterprise use of ArcGIS. Certifications are offered at three levels: Entry, Associate, and Professional. The GISP (GIS Professional) certificate is managed through the GIS Certification Institute. Currently, GISP is awarded based upon the development of a portfolio that documents educational requirements, experience (at least 4 years in a GIS associated position) and contributions to the field. There is also an exam required for certification in addition to the portfolio requirement.
Salary varies widely depending on role, education level, and location. Here is a sample of 2016 median salaries from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor:
- Surveying and Mapping Technician: $42,450
- Surveyor: $59,390
- Cartographer: $62,750
- Geoscientist: $89,780
- Conservation Scientists: $60,610
- Urban Planner (Master’s): $70,020
Organizations and Alumni
- Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)
- Preparing for Graduate School
- Service Corps
- GIS Certification Institute Becoming certified in GIS is also great skill to add to your resume! The GIS Certification Institute offers online programs.
- The GIS Jobs Clearninghouse
- My GIS Jobs
- American Association of Geographers: Jobs in Geography
- ESRI: What is GIS?