Geographic Information Systems

A Gateway to Exciting Career Opportunities with Hands-On GIS Training

Geographic Information Systems students looking at map on computer.

Program Overview

Interested in the innovative field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)? College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) GIS Academic Certificate program is dynamic and interactive with classes designed to provide you with fundamental skills, knowledge, and experience necessary for entry into the GIS field. GIS, a rapidly growing industry, uses computer software to manage, manipulate, analyze, and display geospatial data, revealing geographic patterns and trends not apparent with traditional maps or databases.

This GIS program is ideal for both students and working professionals, emphasizing critical thinking, data analysis, and problem-solving. You will engage in both independent and collaborative projects, gaining hands-on experience with industry-standard GIS software. Whether you are complementing your existing major or expanding your career opportunities, this certificate prepares you for diverse roles in business, healthcare, public health, natural resources, emergency management, logistics, and more.

Degree or Certificate Type

Academic Certificate

Time to Complete

1 year

CWI Geographic Information Systems

Learning Opportunities

  • Hands-On GIS Training: Master industry-standard software and apply theory in real-world scenarios.
  • Diverse Career Pathways: Learn skills applicable in business, marketing, healthcare, natural resources, and emergency management. Start your pathway to becoming a Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP).
  • Internship Opportunities: Partner with local government and private companies for internships, building a professional network and portfolio.
  • Project-Based Learning: Develop spatial thinking, critical thinking, and project management skills through interactive GIS projects.
  • Cost-Effective & In-Demand: Benefit from the affordable and high demand for GIS professionals, with a growing market in various sectors.

Area of Study

Degrees & Certificates

Geographic Information Systems – Academic Certificate

Person outside with equipment and clipboard

Career Opportunities

  • Postsecondary Teachers


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Managers, All Other

    All managers not listed separately.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians

    Perform surveying and mapping duties, usually under the direction of an engineer, surveyor, cartographer, or photogrammetrist, to obtain data used for construction, mapmaking, boundary location, mining, or other purposes. May calculate mapmaking information and create maps from source data, such as surveying notes, aerial photography, satellite data, or other maps to show topographical features, political boundaries, and other features. May verify accuracy and completeness of maps.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

    Research, study, and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for one or more purposes, such as legal, social, political, educational, and design purposes. May work with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). May design and evaluate algorithms, data structures, and user interfaces for GIS and mapping systems. May collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Geographers

    Study the nature and use of areas of the Earth’s surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants, and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 - 2031)*

Load more

*Data sourced from Lightcast™ (2023), a global leader in labor market analytics, and limited to the state of Idaho. Contact CWI Institutional Research for questions regarding this data.


Step 1

  • Apply to CWI.
  • Choose Geographic Information Systems as your major.

Step 2

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
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