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Yes. Color blindness might pose a problem in mapping, and you should be able to walk in different terrains for data collection. In addition, employers usually require a clean driving record and a drug screen.
Yes, internships are required. They can be done at different locations, including NRCS, county GIS departments, county conservation areas, ag industries, national parks, city and county offices and for independent consultants. About one-quarter of them have been paid internships, with the likelihood more will be paid in the future.
County GIS coordinators may make from $35,000 to $60,000. Large city and county GIS coordinators may make $95,000 to over $125,000 (usually with 5 or more years of experience). Private industry is highly competitive with salaries starting at $48,000 and ranging over $70,000.
Students can find employment working at places like county and city GIS offices, the NRCS, the Red Cross, Emergency Management agencies, ag/implement dealerships, and utility companies.
Graduates have found these jobs in places such as Wapello County, Ottumwa, Monroe County, El Paso, Texas, Davis County, and Bloomfield.
Some of the jobs may involve a certain amount of travel.
Job candidates should possess good communication and presentation skills, a strong work ethic, an ability to work with diverse customer and supervisory populations, and excellent knowledge and analytical skills. A year or two of experience usually provides the stepping stone to promotions.
Success stories include:
- One graduate who worked as GIS Coordinator in Wapello County, and was hired after about two years by a large city in Florida as GIS Coordinator.
- A graduate who interned with a surveyor in Missouri and has now entered the bachelor/master’s program in GIS at Northwest Missouri State.
- A graduate who went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management, and now is the Emergency Manager in El Paso, Texas.
- Another graduate who went back for a bachelor’s in Geography/Social Studies and is in education in Wapello County.
- A graduate interested in agriculture was hired by John Deere to work in sales, precision ag, and repairs; they sent him to the John Deere training facility to teach him about their specific GIS software and precision ag.
- Another graduate is doing independent consulting, sometimes for city, county or conservation entities, and other times as a contracted consultant with a private engineering firm.
Students in this program can work through a variety of tutorials to complete certificates in many GIS-related skills.
Technical certifications may be received through Esri’s exam process, as well, with the most appropriate certificate for students the ArcGIS Desktop Certification. This exam costs approximately $225 to take and can be done at IHCC.
With some experience, users may also certify as an Associate, and finally as a Professional in GIS.
Industry-recognized certifications include the GISP (Geographic Information Systems Professional), certified through the GIS Certification Institute. This certification includes components of educational achievement, professional experience, contributions to the profession, and ethical behavior. The GISP certification is designed to recognize expertise.
An Associate’s Degree in Geospatial Technology can be applied in virtually any career path – agriculture, conservation, environment, health care, transportation, education, government, utilities, business, recreation, military, community planning, tourism, marketing, journalism, and more. Geospatial technologies complement other knowledge and skill sets useful for careers – and are helpful in managing and analyzing data, and making informed decisions.
Couldn't find the answer you were looking for? No worries! Just ask Jeff!
Jeff Henderson, Associate Dean, Advanced Technologies
Indian Hills Community College
525 Grandview Avenue Ottumwa, Iowa 52501
(641) 683-5111, ext. 1757 or (800) 726-2585, ext. 1757