GIS online certificate programs

Best online GIS Certificate Programs: 4 Key criteria

Online GIS Certificate Programs

You may be wondering about the value of a GIS Certificate and if it will help you get the job you want. In the GIS industry, there are many opportunities where you can earn a certificate in a matter of months. If you are looking into altering your career path with GIS, then earning a certificate can complement those skills you have acquired. With a GIS online certificate you are able to save money and time versus the route of a traditional GIS degree and focus on getting valuable experience. The major benefits are 1) starting instantly, 2) learning at your own schedule, and 3) learning from the comfort of your own home. Let’s talk about the growing market, the sought after skills, and some top programs that can help you win one of the 22,600 current jobs seen in the GIS Jobs Report, 2022.

Is there a market for GIS skills?

There are several key reasons GIS is a surging sector: more devices, more data, and more solution companies.  At the beginning of 2022, there are over 22,000 jobs on Indeed asking for GIS skills and experience.  These are often paired with some domain experience like biology, environmental, or engineering. During your survey of these jobs you will find that hiring organizations are everywhere and range from your local environmental company to Starbucks.  So no matter what your previous education may be, you should describe how GIS analysis is applied to data from your discipline.  And once you are hired to work with data, you become an asset to any company being at the center of their decision management.  When thinking about upskilling, know that the highest paying GIS jobs are requiring a web and IT skills.  The other promising trend is that the tech sector offers rapid upward mobility.

Must have GIS skills for your portfolio 

So let’s establish this fact, all GIS classes are not of equal value to you. The GIS industry has really evolved along with technology and business use cases.   Choose your program of courses wisely.  We’ve done a survey of the last 300 GIS job announcements on Indeed and here are the essential GIS skills that make you the most marketable because they are the most requested.

  1. Editing data in ArcGIS
  2. Scripting routines Python
  3. Hosting map applications in the cloud
  4. Collecting and processing data from UAVs
  5. Building web apps
  6. Managing and automating database loading

You are trying to distinguish yourself so don’t get stuck with the standard general classes in cartography, remote sensing, and geospatial analysis.  These are good, but diving into the workflow processes above are better.

Top GIS Certificate Programs

Item Program Duration Cost Career Services
1 Bootcamp GIS  is a geospatial learning platform where you can build your online GIS certificate based on your interests.  Project-based courses are taught by people working in industry.  The program comes with a career building action plan to help connect you with people and opportunities. 6 months $5,982 Yes
2 Penn State’s GIS certificate program helps people who are currently in the GIS industry or those who are looking into GIS. You will become knowledgeable and skillful users of geospatial data with different technologies. 12 months $11,400 No
3 University of Washington’s  certificate program, gets students to capture extensive knowledge about the GIS workplace and experience different applications that are used in these systems. You will be able to build GIS databases, examine raw data, GPS positions and other imagery to excel in your future field. 12 months $14,856 Yes
4 University of Denver has a prominent and educational GIS program. Their objective is for you to learn to plan, launch and carry out GIS projects by using internet mapping, remote sensing and digital image processing. 9 months $5,820 Yes
5 Johns Hopkins University offers a very intricate approach with their GIS certificate. As their program will provide you with new opportunities and a strong foundation with many different fields in GIS. 9-12 months $21,900 Yes


Gaining or improving your technical skill sets with GIS is a great idea to make yourself marketable.  Making an investment in more education requires some research to make sure you follow the GIS job trends.  Deciding on a brand name or by proximity to a school is not recommended.  Find a program where the skills being taught are the ones that are showing up on job announcements.  Then make a choice based on price, start time, duration, and career services support.  When you decide on which program is for you, think about how you can use your GIS skills in any industry. GIS is very visual, so tackle some interesting projects and push your graphics into your Linkedin profiles to dazzle any hiring manager.

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