What kind of GIS certification is available?
So you’re probably here because you’re wondering if pursuing a GIS certificate program is worth it (like the title says).
…Or maybe you’re trying to find all the different GIS certifications that are available today.
Well, you’ve come to the right place because all you need is someone to help you talk it through. We list the advantages and disadvantages. We weigh the good and bad.
We show you step-by-step the programs available for GIS certification. On top of that, is it really worth the time, money and effort to be GIS certified.
Let’s take a look:
The two primary options for GIS certifications that employers are looking for are as follows:
- Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP)
- Esri Technical Certification
The main difference between the two is that GISP is based on your work and volunteering experience and the Esri technical certifications are test-based.
GISP is probably the most recognized certification in the field of GIS. According to the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI), there are over 5500 active GISPs located around the world.
The GISP application manual (under applicants) highlights all of the requirements on attaining this GIS certification. Your application will need to provide your educational background (degree, workshop courses and conference attendance). It’s also based on professional experience (GIS analysis, data and mapping). Finally, it looks at your contributions to the GIS community (organization involvement, presentations or journal publications).
After submitting your application to GISCI, you will be evaluated on these three categories (education, experience and involvement). You will also have to provide a fee and proof that you fulfilled this criteria. If you fulfill the necessary requirements, you will be GISP certified.
Until recently, another requirement is that you are required to write an exam for a GISP certificate.
Esri Technical Certification
The Esri Technical Certificate is a relatively new program. Contrary to the GISP which focuses on your experience and involvement, the Esri Technical Certification is completely knowledge-focused and exam-based.
There are three domains where you can attain GIS certification:
1) Desktop – Tests basic ArcGIS concepts such as visualizing, managing and analyzing geospatial data.
2) Developer – Evaluates engine application development for ArcGIS and building desktop or web GIS applications.
3) Enterprise – Exams are based on enterprise geodatabase management, enterprise system design and enterprise administration.
In addition, the two levels of certification are Associate and Professional. If you are interested in the Esri Technical Certificate programs, be sure to look at the beta exams to help prepare.
Is it worth it to be GIS certified?
I guess this is the big question, isn’t it? Is it worth the time, money and effort to be GISP or Esri certified?
It really depends.
It’s rare to see either any type of GIS certification as a requirement in a GIS job description. A surveyor, on the other hand, it is often essential to be certified and is a job requirement. Many employers are probably unfamiliar with the GISP and Esri Technical certificates. If another GIS software is being used like Intergraph, the time, money and effort of being Esri-certified is not as valuable.
But there’s a lot to get out of GIS certifications though. It can help you differentiate yourself when applying for a GIS position. The extra credentials may push you one spot ahead of other candidates. The skills you receive from these GIS certifications are useful when you are in your position. It gives you the necessary experience and confidence to move forward.
Overall, it depends on how much you think the GIS certification will benefit you and what you want to get out of it.