Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists
Education & Training
To work as a geospatial information technologist, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or GED;
- have at least a two-year degree in geospatial information or a related field; and
- have related work experience.
To work as a geospatial information scientist, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or GED; and
- have at least a bachelor's degree in geography or a related field.
Education after high school
Almost all geospatial information scientists and technologists have a bachelor's degree in geography, civil engineering, planning, surveying and mapping, or a physical science. In addition, more colleges and universities are offering certificates in geospatial engineering, photogrammetry, or a related field. These programs have a heavy emphasis on using GIS and GPS software. As a student you should also take courses in economics, history, and urban studies.
Technologists can study for this field by gaining an associate degree in geospatial information or a related field and working their way into this occupation through experience. However, the standard education level is a bachelor's degree.
You need a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree to teach geography and geospatial information at a college. Many colleges and universities offer advanced degrees in geography.
Working as a research assistant for a geographer is good experience for this field. Look for this kind of work when you are a college student. Or consider participating in an internship. An internship offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.
Depending on your employer, you may receive training on your first job. The length of training varies by employer, but may last up to one year.
Related Programs (Current training programs available)
- Computer and Information Sciences, General
- Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician
- Information Science/Studies
- Computer Science
- Mathematics and Computer Science.
- Accounting and Computer Science
- Computational Science.
- Human Computer Interaction.
- Medical Informatics
Fields of Study (What to study to prepare for this career)
Click on any of the Fields of Study listed below to find out more about preparing for this career.
Helpful High School Courses
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements. Geospatial information scientists and technologists need a strong background in math and science. Try to take math classes through Trigonometry and science classes through Physics.
You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
- Computer Applications
- Computer Programming
- Computer Science
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career.
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.