GIS Analyst Degrees by Degree Program Level

Learn about geographic information systems degree programs at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels, as well as graduate certificate programs. Find out about popular careers in this field.

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Essential Information

Geographic information systems (GIS) are used to create maps and other visual representations of locations. GIS analysts use computer software to make, track and display location-related information. The most common programs in GIS analysis are offered at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels, although graduate certificates in GIS analysis are also available for those with some GIS education or experience.

Associate of Applied Science in GIS Analysis

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs in GIS analysis teach students about geography, computer programming, digital imaging and global positioning systems. Students learn to map all types of terrain, including cities, rural areas, mountains, lakes, deserts and oceans. AAS GIS analysis programs teach students how to use geographic information to create maps, visualize scenarios, represent geospatial data, integrate information and communicate findings.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants to GIS analysis AAS programs need to complete high school before beginning their GIS analyst studies. Applicants may want to take any advanced high school classes in geometry, trigonometry, geology and physics to prepare for college-level GIS analysis coursework.

Program Coursework

Coursework in GIS analysis AAS programs covers a variety of topics in mathematics, computer software and the natural sciences. Most programs include classroom instruction and practical experience. Students often take classes in the subjects mentioned below:

  • Geographic information analysis
  • Remote sensing and mapping
  • Field surveying
  • Map preparation
  • Geospatial systems analysis

Popular Career Options

Graduate of GIS analysis AAS programs can work for the government, land surveying companies or construction businesses. The careers noted below are popular options:

  • Property tax assessor
  • Planning and zoning specialist
  • Natural resource manager

Bachelor of Science in GIS Analysis

Although many GIS analysis degree programs are associate's level, there are some Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in the subject. These programs teach students a number of applications for geographic information. Many surveying specialties are offered in GIS analysis B.S. programs, including geodetic surveying, geophysical surveying, prospect surveying, marine surveying, hydrographic surveying and development surveying.

Educational Prerequisites

GIS analysis B.S. programs seek incoming students who have strong computer skills and an understanding of advanced mathematical and scientific concepts. Most programs ask applicants to submit their scores on either the American College Testing (ACT) or SAT Reasoning Test, along with their high school transcript.

Program Coursework

Students learn to use technology to create maps and other visualizations of geographical formations. Some programs also allow students to get field experience using relevant GIS technology. Coursework discusses the topics noted below:

  • Global positioning systems (GPS)
  • Field data collection
  • Advanced spatial data interpretation
  • Geographic data compilation
  • Geographic database technology

Popular Career Options

B.S. graduates in GIS analysis have a varied skill set that qualifies them for a number of careers in GIS software applications and surveying fieldwork. Career options for graduates include those noted below:

  • GIS supervisor
  • Geographic information specialist
  • Geophysical surveyor

Continuing Education Information

All states require land surveyors to be licensed. Certification tests are administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Advanced surveying positions may require additional certifications.

Certificate in GIS Analysis

Many schools offer graduate-level certificate programs that cover advanced topics that GIS analysts deal with regularly. Students in these programs learn to use GIS software to create complex maps and visual representations of land masses. Programs cover geographic database design, spatial analysis and, land use zoning.

Educational Prerequisites

Many GIS certificate programs are designed for people who have already earned a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as geography. Programs seek students who have educational or employment experience with basic GIS software.

Program Coursework

GIS certificate programs emphasize practical uses for GIS technology. Aside from teaching students how to use cartography and GPS technology, students learn to apply geographical data to issues in the social sciences, such as crime prevention and city planning. Students usually learn about the following topics:

  • Database design
  • GIS project management
  • Spatial modeling
  • GIS and urban planning
  • Crime mapping

Popular Career Options

Earning a postgraduate certificate helps working professionals learn the skills necessary for a number of careers. Graduates can work for private companies, government agencies or construction companies. Graduates pursue the GIS analyst jobs noted below:

  • Cartographer
  • Urban planner
  • Crime mapping expert
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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
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    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (8)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Kentucky (1)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
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    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have an Bachelor's degree or higher.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Master
        • M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction - Social Studies

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    When would you like to start classes?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • California (8 campuses)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must be 22 years of age or have active military status
    School locations:
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    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • AA in Liberal Arts

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must hold a Bachelor's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate.
    School locations:
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    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Arts - Political Science

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  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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