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A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist is a highly trained professional who uses computer software and specialized equipment to create, analyze and maintain geographic maps, graphs, and related data. He/she uses a Geographic Information System - a computer-based software - to create maps that clearly show political borders, rivers, environmental resources, and transportation networks.

A GIS specialist can work under job titles such as GIS Analyst, GIS Technician, GIS Coordinator, and Cartographer. The role of a GIS specialist is especially crucial in projects like construction projects and civil engineering. Their input can also help conduct demographic research, route emergency and fleet vehicles, and determine businesses' best locations. A successful GIS specialist should have data-centric technical skills, creativity, analytical skills, and attention to detail.

Most GIS specialists work 40 hours a week Monday to Friday. They may work longer hours when performing fieldwork.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a gis specialist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $28.59 an hour? That's $59,475 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 9% and produce 56,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a GIS Specialist Do

There are certain skills that many gis specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, creativity and analytical skills.

Learn more about what a GIS Specialist does

How To Become a GIS Specialist

If you're interested in becoming a gis specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 71.7% of gis specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 15.3% of gis specialists have master's degrees. Even though most gis specialists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a gis specialist. When we researched the most common majors for a gis specialist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on gis specialist resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a gis specialist. In fact, many gis specialist jobs require experience in a role such as gis technician. Meanwhile, many gis specialists also have previous career experience in roles such as gis analyst or gis internship.

GIS Specialist Career Paths

Average Salary for a GIS Specialist

GIS Specialists in America make an average salary of $59,475 per year or $29 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $98,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average GIS Specialist Salary
$59,475 Yearly
$28.59 hourly
$35,000
10 %
$59,000
Median
$98,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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GIS Specialist Education

GIS Specialist Majors

47.9 %
7.5 %

GIS Specialist Degrees

Bachelors

71.7 %

Masters

15.3 %

Associate

8.6 %

Top Colleges for GIS Specialists

1. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

2. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

3. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

4. North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,101
Enrollment
23,708

5. University of California - Davis

Davis, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,402
Enrollment
30,698

6. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

7. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

8. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

9. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

10. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,453
Enrollment
4,312

Top Skills For a GIS Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 9.9% of gis specialists listed gps on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and creativity are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable GIS Specialist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use GIS Specialist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your GIS Specialist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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GIS Specialist Demographics

GIS Specialist Gender Distribution

Male
Male
69%
Female
Female
31%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among gis specialists, 30.6% of them are women, while 69.4% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among gis specialists is White, which makes up 71.1% of all gis specialists.

  • The most common foreign language among gis specialists is Spanish at 47.5%.

Online Courses For GIS Specialist That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Spatial Analysis & Geospatial Data Science in Python
udemy
4.2
(322)

Learn how to process and visualize geospatial data and perform spatial analysis using Python...

Core Spatial Data Analysis: Introductory GIS with R and QGIS
udemy
4.2
(1,651)

Become Proficient In Spatial Data Analysis Using R & QGIS By Working On A Real Project - Get A Job In Spatial Data!...

Introduction to Geospatial Data Analysis with QGIS
udemy
4
(795)

Learn GIS, spatial analysis, web mapping and complete hands on GIS projects with QGIS...

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Best States For a GIS Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a gis specialist. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Gis specialists make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $80,421. Whereas in California and Oregon, they would average $80,293 and $78,810, respectively. While gis specialists would only make an average of $77,199 in Pennsylvania, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total GIS Specialist Jobs:
514
Highest 10% Earn:
$110,000
Location Quotient:
1.04 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Nevada

Total GIS Specialist Jobs:
98
Highest 10% Earn:
$89,000
Location Quotient:
1.21 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Florida

Total GIS Specialist Jobs:
802
Highest 10% Earn:
$97,000
Location Quotient:
1.33 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For GIS Specialists

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Top GIS Specialist Employers

Most Common Employers For GIS Specialist

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Google$123,605$59.438
2Atmos Energy$99,573$47.8710
3Exact Sciences$97,764$47.0012
4Apple$95,375$45.856
5Parsons$87,528$42.0828
6Leidos$84,098$40.4316
7SAIC$81,094$38.9918
8Burns & McDonnell$75,622$36.367
9Zayo Group$74,251$35.708
10Arcadis$72,138$34.688

GIS Specialist Videos