Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a rapidly evolving field that is used in business, industry and government. It utilizes Global Positioning Systems (GNSS/GPS), cartography and visualization, remote sensing, and spatial analysis through use of professional grade GIS software.
Through general education, core curriculum and specific GIS courses, students will gain verbal and graphical communications skills, a working knowledge of measurements and mathematics, and specific technical knowledge and skills required to perform the work of a GIS technician.
The geospatial industry acquires, integrates, manages, analyzes maps, distributes, and uses geographic, temporal and spatial information and knowledge. The industry includes basic and applied research, technology development, education, and applications to address the planning, decision-making, asset management, and operational needs of people and organizations of all types.
Throughout the program, students will learn how to utilize geospatial technology to address social and environmental issues. Courses will explore a range of topics essential to the geographic information systems (GIS) field, from cartographic design, remote sensing, data and project management and system implementation to database design and execution. In class and real world, projects will prepare the student to apply the acquired knowledge to the vast applications in many industries today. Job opportunities exist in environmental science, government sector, agriculture, engineering, criminal justice and police, fire science, public safety, construction and many private industries to name a few.
What Will I Learn?
The program purpose is to provide the skills necessary for technicians to apply GIS technology to various career pathways. As a graduate of the AAS degree, the individual will be able to gain employment in many different fields that utilize GIS technology. The job opportunities exist across many career pathways. With the AAS degree, students can also transfer to other programs at four-year institutions that have Geospatial or related programs.
The GIS Certificate program is intended for students either in a field already utilizing some GIS skills and need additional in depth study and an educational credential or for those students beginning the GIS degree to achieve a stackable credential along their pathway.
What is Unique About GIS?
The Geographic Information Systems AAS Degree and certificate programs are a direct result of industry professionals working with the college to develop the program. This helps ensure what is taught in the classroom meets the requirements of employers on the job. The program includes industry capstone projects and the possibility of internships with local companies to meet curriculum requirements and to begin industry experience and training.
What Are My Career Opportunities?
GIS graduates work in business, industry and government. Some of the types of jobs that the GIS program will prepare students for are both in the private sector as well as public service. Private companies in many industries such as agriculture, construction, surveying, engineering, logistics, business, real estate, technology, etc. all utilize GIS applications in various ways. Public entities such as police and fire, municipalities, park district and land management, government, public works also are large users with job opportunities in the GIS field.
Specific job titles that the proposed program would prepare graduates for are GIS Specialist, GIS Technician, GIS Project Manager, Analyst, Developer or Programmer. Related careers include Urban and Regional Planning, Economic development, Surveyor, Civil Engineering, Construction Management.
Geographic Information Systems graduates are in high demand. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) identifies this profession as high growth. For the years 2014 – 2024, the growth is expected to be 24.36%. The average hourly wage for this profession is $34.67 in Illinois as of May 2017.