Making the Grade with a GIS Online Certificate Program

The Benefits of Getting Your GIS Degree or GIS Education Online

Online GIS Education
Online GIS Education

Last Updated: Dec 6, 2018

Online Certification and Courses

Imagine you can earn a GIS online certificate at some of the best institutes in the world without leaving your country

…Or even leaving the comfort of your home.

How amazing is that?

You’ll get taught by a lecturer, receive guidance from tutors, take exams and can even discuss your GIS courses with your classmates.

The best part is:

You don’t have the restraints of strict schedules and showing up to class.

Because you can study at your own speed from anywhere at any time, online GIS certificate programs are becoming a viable option for education.

Today, we examine the anatomy of GIS online certification and distance education in GIS.

GIS Online Certificate Education Programs are Making the Grade

online education statistics

An ERIC (Institute of Education Sciences) study found that 65% of academic leaders at public institutions believe the quality of online instruction is equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction.

This same study shows that enrollment for online courses are at an all-time record high.

So why all the buzz around online education programs?

GIS online certificate programs are on the rise because it gives the necessary flexibility to traditional classroom setting.

Especially for those who have additional employment and family responsibilities without the time commitment.

A GIS online certificate may be just what you need to get your foot in the door.

Disadvantages of Online GIS Certification




Online courses takes a lot of self-motivation and discipline.

It makes a huge difference during tough labs to have another screen for guidance. There’s less stress and you can help each other out through problems.

One of the main disadvantages is that you lose the personal connections and networking that comes with a classroom setting.

Meeting with people face-to-face can help you land a job. Instead of just gaining a GIS online certificate, and sending your CV into the wilderness.

While it’s true that online classes give chances to interact with one another in an online environment, you lose it on classroom discussion, opportunity to collaborate and learning from others.

The Growth of Online Education

Online Enrollment Growth

Based on ERIC responses from more than 2,500 colleges and universities, online enrolments have been growing substantially faster than overall higher education enrollment.

The overall expectation is that online enrolments would continue substantial growth.

Over 5.6 million students are enrolled in online courses in the United States. This means that nearly thirty percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.

The continued growth in online enrolments cannot continue forever and it will eventually reach a saturation point.

…But at this point, there isn’t much evidence that online enrollment growth is at its end.

GIS Online Certificate Program Options




There are a TON of GIS Certification programs available:

  • GISP is a professional certification from the GIS Certificate Institute (GISCI). It’s highly recognized in the GIS industry. GISP designation is based on education, professional experience and GIS community contributions.
  • Esri Technical Certificates is knowledge-focused and exam-based. It has Desktop, Developer and Enterprise GIS certification and exams.
  • The ASPRS Certification Program requires at least 3 years of experience, references and a peer-reviewed written examination.
  • A bit out of the realm of GIS, is the CAD-based Autodesk Technical Certification. This certification lets you stand out with instructor-led, self-paced or online training.

On top of this, there are Esri’s free training and MOOC to help expand your skill set. And there are tons of ways to boost your chances and find a career in GIS.

The Final Word on Online Certification

GIS online certificate programs have been gaining popularity and credibility over the years.

While online GIS certification helps you achieve your professional goals and advancement in your career, they are also affordable and a convenient option for those with a busy schedule without the time commitment.

Further to this, it’s doubtful an employer will ever ask you if you earned your certificate face-to-face or through distance education.

What are your thoughts for online GIS certificate programs?

Does your university/college have a GIS certification program?

1 Comment

  1. Anyone have any advice about taking online courses for GIS certificate program. I am currently enrolled at the University of Denver. I am enrolled in just the introduction course. Also, can anyone recommend a budget laptop to buy for GIS programming?

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