GIS Certificates: Career Options for Graduates with a GIS Certificate

Published Oct 31, 2009

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Geographic information systems (GIS) professionals gather, interpret and organize data about the earth's surface and use computers to compile and present that data. Many schools offer undergraduate GIS certificates that prepare students for a variety of careers. This article explains some of the career options open to people who hold a GIS certificate.

GIS Analyst Overview and Career Outlook

GIS analysts are responsible for preparing digital and computer-generated maps based on information from sources like aerial photographs, satellite images and land surveys. They use GIS computer software to analyze this data in order to create new visual representations. Some analysts create 3-dimensional computer models of different landmasses, representing peaks, valleys and other geographic formations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),, predicts 21% job growth overall in careers related to GIS between 2006 and 2016.

Cartographers Overview and Career Outlook

Cartographers are GIS professionals who create maps and other visual representations of geographic regions using photographs and remote sensing technology. They use mathematical formulas and algorithms to make sure that their representations are made to the correct scale and also check the accuracy of existing maps, making changes as needed. Many cartographers also integrate data related to land usage, zoning, population and annual rainfall averages into their representations. Job growth for cartographers is expected to greatly exceed the national average between 2006 and 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mapping Technician Overview and Career Outlook

Mapping technicians' job duties involve collecting information on geographic regions, completing mathematical calculations and using computer-aided drafting programs to create visual models. While some GIS professionals work primarily in office settings, mapping technicians usually spend a significant amount of time on location gathering geographic data. They often use GIS to compile, analyze and organize their information. The BLS reports that there will be about a 21% increase in mapping technology jobs in the decade between 2006 and 2010.

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