Hundreds of higher education institutions worldwide offer certificate and degree programs related to geographic information systems technology. Since 2002, Esri has hosted an online directory of academic GIS programs at colleges and universities around the world. The directory was meant to help educators promote their offerings, and to enable learners to find the program best suited to their needs. As of December 2013, Esri began directing interested students and faculty to the GeoTech Center’s “Geospatial Education Program Finder”.
Find a GIS Education Solution
Given all the options, it’s important that you think carefully about what you seek in a GIS education program. First, make sure you know what you need. Assess your knowledge about the geospatial industry in relation to the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM). Think about which sectors of the industry appeal to you most: Positioning and data acquisition? Analysis and modeling? Software and application development? The GTCM tells you the key competencies required for success in the industry as a whole and in particular industry sectors.
Second, study your options carefully. You should be able to tell whether a program’s curriculum will help you develop the competencies you need. Is the program and its staff reputable? Is the program flexible enough to accommodate your schedule? If no good options are available near you, or if you need to study part-time while working full-time, consider online programs—their quality is often just as good as on campus programs.
Finally, investigate the geospatial industry to make sure that it’s a good fit for you. Think about the kind of work environment that suits you best—government agency? For-profit business? Not-for-profit organization? Educational institution? The kind of educational experience and credentials you need depends in part on where you want to work. Watch the Geospatial Revolution video series and take note of the organizations mentioned. Visit their website and get to know them. Ask to visit a local geospatial organization if you find one nearby. Esri’s Industry pages and Partner pages are also useful for getting to know the industry.