What is Geographic Information Systems or GIS?
GIS is a framework to organize, communicate, and understand the science of our world. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates and analyzes data and organizes it into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations – helping users make smarter decisions.
Did you know...careers in GIS are now one of the fastest growing fields in the nation?
In the GIS program at CWI you will have the opportunity to learn in the classroom, in the field, and online.
What will you learn to do with GIS?
- Create web maps
- Create GIS online applications
- Gather and analyze data
- Design maps
- Write scripts
GIS Industry Examples:
- Business: targeted marketing, logistics, insurance risk analysis, banking, real estate
- Government: economic development, emergency management, crime mapping, disease profiling, traffic planning
- Environmental: understand animal habitats, vegetation, changes in land, including development of parks and protected areas
- Natural Resource Exploration and Management: telling miners where to mine, drillers the best options for running pipe, and farmers where to plant crops for the most yield
- Utilities: understand and restore outages, plan distribution and construction, respond to emergencies
Get started on your future in GIS with education and training from College of Western Idaho.
The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Academic Certificate provides you with the fundamental skills, knowledge, and experience necessary for entry into the field of GIS. Through this program, you will gain a robust understanding of the theoretical basis of GIS, including hands-on experience with GIS software and geospatial technologies.
Why This Program
This 18-credit online GIS Certificate program will provide you with the fundamental skills, knowledge, and experience necessary for entry-level positions in the field of GIS. The innovative curriculum design will teach you to identify, analyze and understand spatial patterns, with an emphasis on critical thinking, data analysis, problem solving, and the development and completion of both independent and collaborative hands-on GIS projects. The Certificate is a complement to any existing major or expanding your career opportunities.
What You Will Learn to Do
- Apply analytical GIS skills to real-world applications
- Use the state-of-the-art GIS software
- Program In Python to automate GIS processes
- Create maps to effectively communicate a message
- Apply critical and spatial thinking skills to understand and solve geospatial questions
Requirements and Costs
Degrees and Certificates
Geographic Information Systems - Academic Certificate
*See the Course Delivery Styles page for details about class options
Important Dates for Credit Programs
|Fall 2022||Spring 2023||Summer 2023|
|Priority Registration Begins1||April 11||November 14||n/a|
|Open Registration Begins||April 18||November 21||February 27|
|Financial Aid Priority Deadline||July 30||December 17||May 13|
|Admission Deadline2||August 13||January 7||May 27|
|Last Day to Register for Classes||August 19||January 13||June 2|
|Tuition and Fees Due||August 19||January 13||June 2|
|Classes Begin3||August 22||January 17||June 5|
|1 Priority registration is limited to continuing students. Students are assigned a registration time based upon their cumulative credits earned. Students should check myCWI and their CWI email to learn their assigned registration time. Students may register online anytime on or after their assigned registration time.|
|2 The admission deadline for international students is earlier than the deadline for non-international students and is only available during the fall and spring semesters. Please consult the Academic Calendar for the international student admission deadlines for the fall and spring semesters.|
|3 Some classes begin before or after this date. Please refer to the Registration and Refund Deadlines by Class Section Dates (located beneath each semester) of the Academic Calendar for more information.|
Navigating your way through college can be confusing, especially if you try to go it alone. CWI offers advising assistance to help in deciding which courses you need to take to reach your education and career goals. Visit Advising or contact One Stop Student Services for more information.
Students who complete the GIS certificate at CWI can request direction of GIS courses to fulfill the Skill Requirement in the Anthropology BS degree with an academic adjustment approved by the Chair of Anthropology at Boise State University.
Excellent employment opportunities exist in the GIS field. GIS well suited for those who are interested in data collection and management, mapping, and spatial analysis. People with GIS skills are in demand across a broad range of professions in government, business and nonprofit organizations nationwide. Here is an overview of some of the industries that utilize GIS www.esri.com/industries.
The U.S. Department of Labor has identified GIS and geospatial sciences as a high growth/high demand field through 2020. In 2017, URISA's GIS Salary Survey found that the average salary was $70,857 – an increase of 15% over the 2010 average of $61,540. For more information about GIS jobs and salary levels, visit www.gisjobs.com.
For 10 GIS career tips to help find a GIS job, visit https://gisgeography.com/10-gis-career-tips-find-gis-job/
Geographic Information Systems Career Ladder
- Mapping Technician (Academic Certificate from CWI and experience)
- GIS Technician I, II, and III (Academic Certificate from CWI and experience)
- GIS Analyst (Lead Person, experience, and 4-year degree)
- GIS Manager (Supervisor, with experience, and 4-year degree or advanced degree)
- GIS Principal (Private Industry Owner, experience, 4-year degree or advanced degree and generally specializing in a particular discipline)
Local GIS Organizations
Northwest GIS User Group: https://www.nwgis.org/
East Idaho Geospatial: https://sites.google.com/site/idahorrc/home
Women in GIS of Southwestern Idaho: https://sites.google.com/site/wigidaho/
- Mapping Technician
- GIS Technician I, II, and III
- GIS Analyst
- GIS Manager
- GIS Principal (Private Industry Owner)
Program Department Chair
- Agriculture Business, Leadership, and Education
- Animal Veterinary Science
- Biotechnology Laboratory Assistant
- Computer Science
- Criminal Justice
- Education, Elementary
- Education, Secondary
- Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
- Exercise Science
- General Education
- Geographic Information Systems
- Health Science and Public Health
- Liberal Arts
- Media Arts
- Military Science (Army ROTC)
- Nursing, Professional
- Political Science
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
- Sign Language Studies
- Social Work
- Studio Art
- Transportation Management