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.
Or maybe you’re trying to find all the different GIS certification types that are available today.
Either way, you’ve come to the right place because we show you step-by-step the programs available for GIS certification.
If you’ve read our top 10 GIS career tips to get a job, this can help you weigh the good and bad of each GIS certification. On top of that, is it even worth the time, money and effort to be GIS certified?
Let’s take a look:
The two primary GIS certifications that employers want are:
- Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP)
- Esri Technical Certification
The main difference between the two is that Esri technical certifications are test-based. Even though GISP has exams, it also checks your work and volunteering experience.
Now, let’s look at both GIS certifications with a bit more detail.
What is GISP Certification?
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 around the world.
The GISP application manual highlights all the requirements on attaining this GIS certification. For example, you need at least 4 years of full-time experience in the field of GIS.
Before you send your application, you need to meet the education requirements. It also looks at how many contributions you have made to the GIS community. For example, this could be anything from presentations to journal articles.
Lastly, you have to pass the GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam. 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.
Once you earn your GISP, it’s for a three-year period. This means that you need to re-certify after this period is over.
Esri Technical Certification
The Esri Technical Certificate is a relatively new program. Unlike GISP which focuses on experience and involvement, the Esri Technical Certification is completely knowledge-focused and exam-based.
There are three domains where you can attain GIS certification:
- For the Desktop exam, it tests basic ArcGIS concepts such as visualizing, managing and analyzing geospatial data.
- The Developer exam evaluates engine application development for ArcGIS and building desktop or web GIS applications.
- Lastly, the Enterprise exams evaluate enterprise geodatabase management, system design and 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.
If you don’t want to commit to this certification, there is also Esri’s free training and MOOC to boost your skillset.
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.
Nowadays, it’s rare to see any type of GIS certification as a requirement in a job description. For the surveyor profession, it is often essential to certify yourself and is a job requirement. In the case of GIS, many employers are less familiar with the GISP and Esri Technical certificates. If the company uses another GIS software, that means your time, money and effort for Esri certification was wasted.
But there’s a lot to get out of GIS certifications though. For example, it can help you differentiate yourself when applying for a crowded GIS position. Not to mention, the extra credentials may push you one spot ahead of other candidates. GIS certifications helps you become an expert in your field and gives you confidence. Lastly, you get the necessary experience and knowledge to climb the GIS career ladder in your job.
Overall, it depends on how much you think the GIS certification will benefit you and what you want to get out of it.
Are you thinking about getting a GIS certificate? Let us know with a comment below.