Careers in GIS

Consider a Career in GIS

GIS is a key emerging and evolving industry throughout the world.

GIS careers exist in every imaginable discipline, from environmental science to commercial businesses and much more. This wide range of opportunities available lets you combine your passions or interests with GIS for a satisfying and successful career.


Across the country, tens of thousands of trained [geospatial] workers are needed to fill positions that are going begging.

Emily Stover DeRocco, Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

What do GIS Professionals Do?

GIS is often associated with making maps, but GIS professionals do much more than that. GIS is used to manage human activities. GIS professionals visualize, analyze, and model our world to help organizations make informed decisions.

GIS careers typically include responsibilities such as

  • Cartographic design
  • Data analysis
  • Computer programming
  • Database administration
  • Project management
  • System administration

Careers in GIS can also encompass business development, managerial, and administrative roles.


GIS jobs are varied and pervasive across many different fields.

  • Visit Esri's Industries Gateway to learn how GIS is used across government, commercial, and educational organizations.
  • View the job listings for a comprehensive overview of the types of organizations currently seeking GIS professionals.


GIS jobs range from part-time to full-time positions, and salary varies widely by location, discipline, and experience. reports the range in the U.S. between $31,387 for an entry-level analyst to $83,333 for a GIS supervisor as of January 2006. View the Salary Survey for a more in-depth look at salaries.


Many GIS careers are technical, and GeoCommunity identifies some core skills in "What Skills Does A GIS Analyst Require?" As more businesses discover the benefits of GIS, business acumen is also becoming a highly important skill.


GIS professionals are educated in three main ways.

  • Through special certificate programs at colleges and universities (most common)
  • Through degree programs at colleges and universities
  • As part of their curriculum in other specialties such as while pursuing an urban planning degree

Esri has compiled a database of higher-education institutions you can use to find a program near you.

GIS Career pathways

need professionals skilled in integrating GIS with their core business. The following sites will help you plan for your GIS career or help you train your workforce in GIS.

Find a Job in GIS

You can learn about thousands of open positions around the world at the following geospatial career web sites.

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