Geographical Informations Systems (GIS)

What will I learn in this program?

In this program students receive hands-on training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Course materials are constantly updated to reflect current industry practices and new technological advances. In view of developing the student’s real-life problem-solving skills, lab assignments as designed to simulate actual work projects of GIS professionals. Students will acquire the following skills and knowledge in this program: correctly use and produce GIS data in popular formats and coordinate systems, design effective, professional-quality maps, analyze census data, perform spatial analysis, terrain modeling, and network modeling, develop simple GIS Relational Databases, effective techniques for maintaining data accuracy and integrity, collect GIS data in the field using GPS hardware, automate simple tasks and customize user interface of ArcView by writing Visual Basic programs, and create a simple GIS application on the web using Google Map’s programming interface.

Equipment and Technology used in this program: ESRI’s ArcView 9.3 desktop GIS software, Trimble GPS hardware running ESRI’s ArcPad 7 mobile GIS software, Programming language: Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) on ESRI’s ArcObjects platform, and Web programming: using HTML and Javascript on Google Map’s platform.

What kind of jobs can I get once I complete the program? How much will they pay?  What “demand” is expected for these jobs?


Average Annual Salary

Expected Regional Demand



Average Growth

Conservation Scientists


Average Growth

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians


Average Growth

Geological and Petroleum Technicians


Average Growth

The Certificate of Accomplishment in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will assist students in developing an understanding of the fundamental concepts and practice of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  Students who successfully complete the program will be able to apply this knowledge and hands-on skills to entry-level positions in various fields including, but not limited to planning, engineering, geography, criminology, real estate, public utilities, oil & gas, transportation, forestry, ecology, resource management, emergency response, business and marketing.

Note:  The GIS field does not officially recognize any training program as automatically fulfilling an entry-level requirement (unlike some other technical fields).  In all cases GIS job candidates are evaluated on their individual skill level and experience.

Does this program have any special enrollment requirements?

This program assumes no previous GIS experience, but is not a beginning computer class.

The first class in the series requires you have basic PC/Windows computer experience before enrollment, including:

  • Basic PC operation (mouse, keyboard)
  • Windows file management (creating, copying, pasting, renaming files and folders)
  • Navigating a computer's file structure using My Computer or Windows Explorer
  • Concepts like path names, file extensions, mapping a network drive
  • Using Internet Explorer or other browser to navigate the internet
  • Using email to send attachments
  • Using a USB flash drive

Does this program have any special costs?

In addition to the textbook(s) listed, students are required to provide a USB flash drive with a minimum of 500MB capacity.

How long will it take to complete this program?


Time to Complete*

Certificate of Accomplishment in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

3 Semesters

*Based on full-time attendance or 12 units per semester

How do I get more information on this program?

Department website:

Department contact information:
Earth Sciences Department, Science Building, Room 43 and
Engineering Department, Science Building, Room 148
(415) 239-3505