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Best Geographic Information Systems Schools: The Top Colleges and Universities for Geographic Information Systems Programs

Soha Asif - June 29, 2022


Geographic information systems are used widely all around the world by different public and private organizations. The widespread use of GIS and its continued growth and innovation make it an attractive field of study. The best schools for geographic information systems offer several options for learning GIS to prepare students for successful careers.

Earning a degree or certificate from one of the best geographic information systems schools is a great way to enter the GIS field or advance in your career. This article provides all the details on 10 of the best geographic information systems colleges and universities, plus leading schools that offer online and accelerated degrees. We’ll also cover the best in-demand jobs based on your GIS education and what they pay.

Best Geographic Information Systems College and University Rankings: Top 10 Geographic Information Systems Schools at a Glance

School State Formats Available US News Ranking
Arizona State University AZ In-person, online #117
Eastern Michigan University MI In-person #299-391
Johns Hopkins University MD In-person, online #9
North Carolina State University NC In-person, online #79
Oklahoma State University OK In-person #187
University of Arizona AZ In-person, online #103
University of Maryland-College Park MD In-person, online #59 (tie)
University of Pittsburgh PA In-person #59 (tie)
University of Southern California CA Online #27
University of Wisconsin-Madison WI In-person, online #42

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Geographic Information Systems School Rankings: Best Geographic Information Systems Colleges and Universities

It’s helpful to be familiar with some of the best geographic information systems universities out there today if you want to pursue a career in the GIS field. Our list offers an overview of each top school and each of its GIS programs, plus key school details like recent rankings, acceptance rates, and graduation rates.

1

Arizona State University

Graduation Rate: 66%

Arizona State University is a public research university founded in 1885. There are almost 75,000 students enrolled in the wide range of programs offered by the university. These include bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as certificate and accelerated degree programs.

Arizona State University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #117
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #132

Best Arizona State University Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Science. This undergraduate degree program can be completed either online or in person. It takes four years to complete, whichever learning format you choose. Students learn GIS, computer programming, and statistical analysis.
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Science/Master’s Degree in Urban and Environmental Planning. This accelerated dual-degree program allows you to complete your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years. It saves not only your time but also educational costs. You must meet the eligibility criteria to enroll in this on-campus program.
  • Master of Applied Science in Geographic Information Systems. ASU also offers a Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems, which takes one year to complete and is available on campus only. You must complete 30 credits of coursework to get the degree.
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science. The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science offers advanced learning to students, training them in problem-solving through GIS concepts. It consists of 15 credits that can be completed within a year.
  • PhD in Geographic Information Systems. The PhD in Geographic Information Systems program is offered entirely on campus. It provides advanced and detailed knowledge of geographic information systems concepts.

Arizona State University Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

The wide range of geographic information systems certificate and degree programs offered by ASU provides something for everyone interested in this field.

2

Eastern Michigan University

Graduation Rate: 48%

Eastern Michigan University is a public institution established in 1849 as a teacher training institute. It currently offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and Graduate Certificate programs in a wide variety of fields. More than 16,000 students are enrolled in different programs offered by the university.

Eastern Michigan University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #299-391
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: >600

Best Eastern Michigan University Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Science and Technology. The BS in Geospatial Information Science and Technology focuses on the professional development of students so they can enter the field of geographic information systems. You must complete at least 120 credits in around four years to get this degree.
  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems. The MS in Geographic Information Systems is a STEM program. The degree requires you to complete at least 30 to 32 credits in core courses, electives, and an internship. You can complete the program on campus.
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems for Professionals. This Graduate Certificate in GIS is specially designed for professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills. The program consists of 15 credits that you can complete in a year.
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems for Educators. This Graduate Certificate in GIS is designed as a training program for educators. The program requires you to complete 12 credit hours through five courses. You can complete the program in less than a year through on-campus learning.

Eastern Michigan University Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

The College of Arts and Science at Eastern Michigan University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in geographic information systems that prepare students for lucrative careers in urban planning, business GIS, and environmental health, among other industries.

3

Johns Hopkins University

Graduation Rate: 95%

Johns Hopkins University is a private nonprofit university. It was established in 1876 and has become known for its innovation and research. The university offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees along with certificates. There are almost 30,000 students enrolled in programs at Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 8%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #9
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #13

Best Johns Hopkins University Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems. The MS in Geographic Information Systems program is offered online and can be completed in 12 to 24 months. The program requires you to complete 10 courses.
  • Certificate in Geographic Information Systems. This certificate can be completed online, making it more suitable for working professionals. The program consists of five courses that you can complete in nine months to a year.

Johns Hopkins University Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

Johns Hopkins has a very high graduation rate, and US News ranks the school among the top 10 best universities in the US.

4

North Carolina State University

Graduation Rate: 84%

North Carolina State University is an accredited public university founded in 1887. It offers a wide range of degree programs and is known for its excellence in research-based studies. There are more than 36,000 students enrolled at NCSU.

North Carolina State University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 47%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Colleges
  • Degrees Offered: Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #79
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #301-350

Best North Carolina State University Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology . This graduate program focuses on high-level geospatial information skills that are necessary in the professional world. You can complete all 33 required credits online. The maximum time allowed for getting the degree is six years.
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems. The Graduate Certificate in geographic information systems is offered to bachelor’s degree holders to develop a strong foundation for further studies. You must complete the required 12 credits of the program to get the certificate.

North Carolina State University Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

North Carolina State University is known for its outstanding programs offered in the fields of science, technology, and engineering.

5

Oklahoma State University

Graduation Rate: 66%

Oklahoma State University , founded in 1890, is a public university and one of the largest in Oklahoma. In addition to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees, the university also offers one and two-year certificates. There are almost 25,000 students enrolled at the university in different programs.

Oklahoma State University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #187
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #501-600

Best Oklahoma State University Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Science . The Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Science is a 120-credit undergraduate degree program. The expected time to complete the degree is four years. It is offered in person only.
  • Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Systems . The Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Systems is designed for those who have sharp mathematical skills. It requires you to complete 120 credits of coursework to qualify for the degree. You can earn this degree in four years through an in-person learning format.
  • Certificate in Geographic Information Systems . The certificate program in geographic information systems requires you to complete 15 credits of coursework. You must also maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses to get the certificate.
  • Master of Science in Geography with a Concentration in Geographic Information Science. The MS in Geography allows students to specialize in any of three specialization tracks, one of which is geographic information science, which includes geographic information systems. The degree program consists of 30 credits.

Oklahoma State University Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

Oklahoma State University provides you with the education and research resources needed for excelling in the field of geographic information systems.

6

University of Arizona

Graduation Rate: 64%

The University of Arizona is a public research institute that was founded in 1891. It offers online and on-campus bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in different areas of study. It is known for its innovative curricular and extracurricular activities for students. You can find the right degree for yourself from among the over 300 majors offered.

University of Arizona Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #103
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #150

Best University of Arizona Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology . The online Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology offers students key insights into this technical field. This program requires 120 credit hours that you can complete in four years.
  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology. The MS in Geographic Information Systems Technology can be earned online or in person. The program requires 30 credit hours of study, which you can expect to complete in 18 months.
  • Professional Geographic Information Systems Technology Certificate. This certificate program is offered fully online. It is ideal for professionals with skills in this field. You must complete a minimum of nine credits by selecting three courses from the offered list.

University of Arizona Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

The geographic information systems programs at the University of Arizona are offered by award-winning faculty, leading students to excel in the field.

7

University of Maryland-College Park

Graduation Rate: 88%

The University of Maryland-College Park is an accredited public university founded in 1856. It is a popular research university serving over 40,000 students through its diverse bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs.

University of Maryland-College Park Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #59 (tie)
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #93

Best University of Maryland-College Park Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Master of Science in Geospatial Information Sciences. This advanced degree program enhances your academic experience and skill development. The program requires you to complete 30 credits either online or on campus. The expected time for course completion is 15 to 30 months.
  • Master of Science in Geospatial Intelligence. This graduate program builds technical skills for the adoption of the latest trends and practices in geospatial intelligence. The degree requires 30 credits divided into 10 courses. It takes full-time students 15 months to complete the program.
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographical Intelligence Sciences. The Graduate Certificate in geographic information sciences is a quick way to learn foundational and advanced knowledge. It consists of 12 credits that can be completed in less than a year.

University of Maryland-College Park Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

In addition to its online programs, the University of Maryland-College Park offers on-campus classes in the evenings to facilitate working professionals.

8

University of Pittsburgh

Graduation Rate: 84%

The University of Pittsburgh is an accredited public university and research institution. It was founded in 1787 and grew its campuses across the state. It offers degree programs ranging from associate degrees to PhDs. There are more than 16,000 students at the university, enrolled in 645 degree and certificate programs.

University of Pittsburgh Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #59 (tie)
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #140

Best University of Pittsburgh Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Certificate in Geographic Information Systems. This certificate is available for the undergraduates of the University of Pittsburgh. It requires 16 credits of coursework and takes around two years to complete.
  • Professional Master of Science in GIS and Remote Sensing. The Department of Geology and Environmental Science offers this professional master’s degree consisting of 41 credit hours in core courses, electives, and an internship. You can complete it in two years.

University of Pittsburgh Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

The courses and degrees offered by the University of Pittsburgh follow a professional approach with a focus on preparing graduates to explore better career opportunities.

9

University of Southern California

Graduation Rate: 92%

The University of Southern California is a private university established in 1880. It is a leading university offering online study programs. In addition to degree and certificate programs, the school also offers skill development seminars.

University of Southern California Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 13%
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #27
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #63

Best University of Southern California Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology. This online 30-credit graduate program can be completed full time in 20 months or part time in three years.
  • Master of Science in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence. This online graduate program consists of 34 credits that can be completed in 20 months through the accelerated option, or in three years part time.
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology. This certificate program covers eight units of coursework that can be completed entirely online in eight months.
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence. This online Graduate Certificate program covers both theoretical knowledge and practical experience. The program consists of eight credits and a capstone project that can be completed in eight months.
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Leadership. This Graduate Certificate consists of three courses and a leadership-based capstone project that can be completed online in eight or 16 months.

University of Southern California Geographic Information Systems Key Takeaway

The University of Southern California’s geographic information systems programs are offered through its Spatial Sciences Institute, which has partnerships with some of the most prestigious organizations in geospatial science and technology, including the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

10

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Graduation Rate: 88%

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public university founded in 1848. It offers 9,110 courses to students through more than 600 undergraduate and graduate majors. The school has almost 48,000 students and over 24,000 faculty and staff members.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #42
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #58

Best University of Wisconsin-Madison Geographic Information Systems Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. This four-year undergraduate program requires 120 credits that must be completed in person.
  • Honors in the Major in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. To earn the honors distinction in the undergraduate program, you must complete additional courses and an honors thesis, in addition to the required 120 credits, and maintain a 3.3 GPA.
  • Master of Science in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems with a Concentration in GIS Development. This online master’s degree prepares students to work in public and private organizations. It requires 32 credits and includes courses such as Graphic Design in Cartography and Geospatial Web and Mobile Programming.
  • Master of Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. This master’s degree program offers a thesis and non-thesis option. It requires a minimum of 30 credits, with course offerings like Introduction to Geocomputing and GIS Applications.
  • Accelerated Master’s of Science in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. The accelerated master’s degree requires 30 credits and does not require you to complete a thesis. It covers similar topics to the in-person program.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Geography Information Systems Key Takeaway

The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers academic depth and flexibility through its wide range of geographic information systems certificate and degree programs.

The Best Schools for Geographic Information Systems: Types of College Degrees and University Programs Offered

There is a wide range of certificate and degree programs offered by the best geographic information systems universities. You can choose a program based on your scheduling requirements in addition to your learning objectives. Here are some of the types of college degrees and university programs offered for students in online, in-person, and hybrid formats.

1

Geographic Information Systems Community College Certificate

A geographic information systems community college certificate program takes around a year to complete. At this level, you will learn about the use of data collection, map designing, systems engineering, database design, and other geospatial tools and methods.

2

Geographic Information Systems Associate Degree

An Associate Degree in Geographic Information Systems is offered by colleges and universities as a two-year program of study. Graduates typically enter the workforce immediately after earning this degree, but it can also act as a foundation for future studies, such as a bachelor’s degree program.

The topics usually covered for the associate degree include global positioning, remote sensing, urban planning, big data collection and organization, geography, and general education courses.

3

Geographic Information Systems Bachelor’s Degree

A geographic information systems bachelor’s degree is earned through an undergraduate degree program that introduces students to a detailed study of the topics related to geomatics and geographic information systems. It takes four years of full-time study to get a bachelor’s degree.

The focus of the bachelor’s degree program is on the tools, techniques, and principles involved in the collection, analysis, and use of geographical data. It also includes courses on Python scripting, digital mapping, and image processing.

4

Geographic Information Systems Master’s Degree

A geographic information systems master’s degree is earned via a graduate program that involves the study of advanced GIS concepts, principles, and methods. This degree trains students to use specialized software to design, create, and analyze the visual representation of geographic data.

It usually takes two years to complete a Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems. This program is ideal for professionals looking to enhance their skills and knowledge about GIS to advance in their careers.

5

Geographic Information Systems Graduate Certificate

A geographic information systems Graduate Certificate program involves a short but intensive study of GIS technologies. It takes just a few months to a year to earn this certificate, which typically consists of a few graduate-level courses. Many of these certificate programs are offered online.

6

Geographic Information Systems Doctorate

A geographic information systems doctorate is earned through a postgraduate program focused on the study of existing technologies and the development of new technologies in the field of geographic information sciences. Students will become adept in the theoretical, practical, technological, and analytical knowledge of the field and in research methods and analysis.

Earning your PhD in GIS will take about four or five years, with the majority of the time focused on producing an original piece of research on a GIS topic of your choice. You will be required to carry out your research, write about your findings in your dissertation, and defend your dissertation to earn your doctorate.

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Best Geographic Information Systems Schools: Other Geographic Information Systems University Rankings

In our research into the best geographic information systems colleges and universities, we came across a wide variety of education options beyond the standard degree programs and certificates. Below is a quick look at the best geographic information system schools organized by their specific program offerings for you to consider to meet all of your education goals and preferences.

Best Online Geographic Information Systems Schools

  1. Florida Atlantic University. The department of geosciences at Florida Atlantic University offers several online geographic information systems degree and certificate programs. These programs offer flexibility by allowing students to complete coursework from just about anywhere.
  2. Johns Hopkins University. Ranked highly by US News & World Report, Johns Hopkins University offers an online Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems. It also offers an online post-baccalaureate certificate in the field.
  3. University of Arizona. The University of Arizona is one of the best geographic information systems schools for online programs. It offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as a Graduate Certificate program in geographical information systems.

Best Community Colleges for Geographic Information Systems

  1. Borough of Manhattan Community College. One of the best community colleges in New York, Borough of Manhattan Community College offers an Associate Degree in Geographic Information Science through a hybrid or in-person format.
  2. Columbus State Community College. This community college in Ohio offers certificate and associate degree programs to develop a strong foundation in geographic information systems. The programs are available online to make it easier for students to also focus on their careers and create a work-study balance.
  3. Tulsa Community College. Located in Oklahoma, Tulsa Community College aims to develop essential skills through its 16-week geographic information systems certificate program. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Best Undergraduate Schools for Geographic Information Systems

  1. South Dakota State University. The undergraduate degree program offered by South Dakota State University trains students in the latest GIS practices and skills. The school also provides internship opportunities for its students.
  2. The University of Arizona. Ranked by US News & World Report among the top 10 schools in the US offering online programs , the University of Arizona offers an online Bachelor’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems for a detailed study of the subject.
  3. The University of Texas at Arlington. The University of Texas at Arlington, with leading-edge technology and award-winning faculty, offers a flexible Bachelor of Arts in Geology with geographic information systems as a concentration option.

Best Graduate Schools for Geographic Information Systems

  1. Arizona State University. Arizona State University offers some of the best GIS degrees, such as its MAS in Geographic Information Systems and PhD in Geographic Information Systems. It is ranked the top university for innovation in America by US News & World Report.
  2. Clark University. The Master’s in Geographic Information Science offered by Clark University focuses on advanced skill development in areas including automation, analytics, web mapping, and programming.
  3. Portland State University. Portland State University focuses on skill development in its graduate programs, including the Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Science program, with real-world experience through community partnerships.

Best Geographic Information Systems Schools With Dual Degree Programs

  1. Arizona State University | Accelerated BS GIS and MUEP. This on-campus dual degree program allows you to get a Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Science and a Master’s Degree in Urban and Environmental Planning in just five years.
  2. Michigan Technical University | Accelerated Master of Geographic Information Science. This program requires students to complete a total of 150 credits and remain in good academic standing to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Your bachelor’s degree can be in forestry, applied ecology, wildlife ecology, or natural resource management, while the master’s degree will be in geographic information science.
  3. University of Iowa | U2G Geoinformatics. The University of Iowa allows you to combine a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and a Master of Science in Geoinformatics into one five-year program.

Best Schools With Accelerated Geographic Information Systems Programs

  1. University of Southern California | MS in Geographic Information Science and Technology. This accelerated graduate program in geographic information science and technology is offered entirely online and can be completed in just 20 months.
  2. Michigan Technical University | Accelerated Master of Geographic Information Science. Earn this Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Science by completing one year of coursework after your bachelor’s degree. The total credit requirement for the program is 150.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison | MS in Cartography and GIS. This accelerated master’s degree program requires 30 to 32 credits, with at least 15 in graduate-level coursework. It does not require a thesis.

Easy Colleges to Get Into

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Is Graduate School for Geographic Information Systems Worth It?

Yes, it is worth going to graduate school for geographic information systems. Earning higher-level degrees in this field, such as a geographic information systems master’s degree , can help you develop the skills and expertise required for the highest-paying GIS jobs. They not only enhance your knowledge but also increase your employability.

What Jobs Can You Do With a Geographic Information Systems Degree?

The jobs you can do with a geographic information systems degree include geographic information systems specialist, analyst, technician, geodesist, geoscientist, cartographer, and geodesist surveyor. The minimum education requirement for each of these jobs varies. Some of the best geographic information systems schools on our list offer specialized career services that can help you get these jobs.

How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Geographic Information Systems?

You can earn between $60,000 and $100,000 per year with a degree in geographic information systems. Your salary will depend greatly on your education level.

For instance, the average salary for geographic information systems bachelor’s degree holders is $62,000, whereas master’s degree holders earn an average salary of $80,000, as reported by PayScale. You can expect to earn even more if you have the specialized knowledge, expertise, and experience that come with a PhD in GIS.

Highest-Paying Geographic Information Systems Careers

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Database Administrator Bachelor’s degree $98,860
Climate Scientist Bachelor’s degree $94,570
GIS Geographer Bachelor’s degree $85,220
Geodesist Bachelor’s degree $83,680
Geoscientist Bachelor’s degree $83,680
Geographic Information Systems Professor Doctorate $79,640
Urban and Regional Planner Master’s degree $78,500
Geographic Information Systems Specialist Bachelor’s degree $68,900
Cartographers and Photogrammetrist Bachelor’s degree $68,900
Geodetic Surveyor Bachelor’s degree $61,600

Best Jobs With a Geographic Information Systems Degree

The best jobs with a geographic information systems degree include geographic information specialist, analyst, climate scientist, mapping technician, and urban planner. Every job has a different minimum education requirement. You can find a good job in GIS according to your qualifications and skills. Here is a classification of some geographic information systems jobs based on their minimum education requirements.

Best

2

Geographic Information Systems Associate Degree

Jobs

Once you complete your two-year Associate Degree in Geographic Information Systems, you will be eligible for many well-paying jobs. Although an associate degree might not let you get a top-level position, it can help you get some of the best entry-level jobs and you can work your way into more advanced positions or pursue further education later.

Top Geographic Information Systems Careers With an Associate Degree

  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst: $56,749
  • Geographic Information Systems Mapping Technician: $46,910
  • Surveying Mapping Technician: $45,000

Best

3

Geographic Information Systems Bachelor’s Degree

Jobs

Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems broadens the career opportunities available to you. It also increases your average salary and helps you get better jobs with more opportunities for advancement.

Top Geographic Information Systems Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree

Best

4

Geographic Information Systems Master’s Degree

Jobs

A geographic information systems master’s degree enhances your technical and analytical knowledge. It also helps you develop the expertise to use the latest tools, techniques, and processes in the field and gain opportunities in leadership roles.

Top Geographic Information Systems Careers With a Master’s Degree

Best

6

Geographic Information Systems Doctorate

Jobs

Getting a doctoral degree in geographic information systems opens the door to many top-level positions in the industry and the academic world. These jobs are often high-paying and offer a higher level of independence.

Top Geographic Information Systems Careers With a PhD

  • Senior Geographic Information System Researcher: $100,202
  • Geographic Information System Professor: $79,640
  • Senior Geographic Information Systems Manager: $73,548

5

Best Internships for Geographic Information Systems Students

There are many internship opportunities for geographic information systems students. Internships help you gain hands-on experience with the concepts taught in schools. Begin looking for internship opportunities while getting your GIS education, because some are designed for current students while others are designed for recent graduates. A good internship will vastly improve your job prospects.

Top Geographic Information Systems Internships

How Can I Pay for Geographic Information Systems School?

You can pay for geographic information systems school by applying for different financing options available to students. This includes federal and private financing options. To qualify for federal aid, fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form whenever you apply to a school. Here is a list of the most popular financing options for students to explore.

  • Federal loans. There are plenty of loans available to students through the federal government but eventually, you will have to pay back the amount of the loan plus accrued interest.
  • Grants. Unlike loans, grants are financial aid that usually doesn’t have to be paid back. Look into federal and state grants, as well as private grants.
  • Scholarships. The government, your university, and private organizations are just a few providers of scholarships. They can be based on financial need or on things like academic, athletic, or artistic performance. Like grants, they don’t require repayment.
  • Work-study programs. Work-study programs allow you to work part-time and study at the same time. You can use the money you earn to help pay for your education. Many schools offer these programs for eligible students.

How to Pay for Your Chosen School Education Path

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Choosing the Best Geographic Information Systems School for You

To choose the best geographic information systems school for you, consider key factors for each school, including their accreditation, graduation rate, and student-to-faculty ratio. Here is a list of things to look for and a brief description of each factor.

Accreditation

If you want to receive a high-quality education that is recognized and respected by future employers and peers, always choose an accredited school. Independent accrediting agencies ensure that these schools meet strict criteria in following the nationally and regionally recognized education standards.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

A school’s student-to-faculty ratio represents the number of faculty members per student. The higher this ratio, the more you will have to share faculty members with other students, and the fewer opportunities you will have for personalized instruction, advising, and other faculty assistance. A lower student-to-faculty ratio is preferable since it leads to better classroom engagement and increased one-on-one communication.

Graduation Rate

The graduation rate is the rate at which students successfully complete their degree program, meaning that they have met all of the degree requirements within the allowed timeframe. The higher the graduation rate, the better. A lower rate may indicate that the school is lacking in providing students with enough academic support to facilitate their success.

Reputation of the School

The reputation of educational institutions is crucial, sometimes more crucial than international rankings. It represents how others perceive the quality of education provided by the school. A well-reputed school increases your employability, which increases your chances of getting hired by prestigious companies. It also helps you continue your education should you choose to do so.

Accelerated Options

Accelerated degrees allow you to complete your degree program faster than usual. They help you learn fundamental skills quickly and start your career earlier, which can save you money and time.

How to Get Into the Right School for Your Profession

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Does It Matter What College I Go to for Geographic Information Systems?

Yes, it does matter what college you go to for geographic information systems. Although the subject matter and the related curriculum remain about the same wherever you go, some schools are better than others.

The best geographic information systems schools have top professionals as faculty members, providing you with the best academic experience. They also have lower student-to-faculty ratios, better learning options and resources, and more robust financial aid programs and career advancement services than others.

Geographic Information Systems University Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Schools for Geographic Information Systems

We ranked the best geographic information systems schools by consulting the university rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education. To further refine our geographic information systems university ranking methodology, we gave special consideration to things like reputation, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and breadth and depth of geographic information systems degree program offerings.

Additional Reading About Geographic Information Systems

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Best Geographic Information Systems Schools FAQ

Which industries hire geographic information systems graduates?

The industries that hire geographic information systems graduates are the healthcare, climate, law enforcement, real estate, technology, and gaming industries. Many others also hire GIS graduates, due to the vast application of this technology and its growing popularity.

Can geographic information systems technology be used in businesses?

Yes, geographic information systems technology can be used in businesses. It can help improve strategic decision-making to improve the company’s performance. It can also be used to enhance the performance of supply chains and distribution networks and improve the customer experience.

What skills will I learn in geographic information systems?

The key skills you will learn in geographic information systems include data collection, organization, and analysis. Others include data visualization, map reading, data processing, problem-solving, decision-making, and geospatial skills.

Are GIS careers in demand?

Yes, GIS careers are in demand. According to Statista, the market size of geographic information systems has been growing since 2014 and is expected to reach $2,25 million in 2025 . This indicates increasing demand for skilled professionals in this field and a high employment rate.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Soha Asif

About the author: Soha is a tech writer and programmer. Her writing experience includes everything from fashion and pets to tech and lifestyle. She is currently finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, and she has also completed online courses in SEO and freelancing topics.

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