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GIS As Your Career

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The Outlook is Promising

GIS jobs are varied and are found within nearly all industries and sectors from government and defense to business and education. 

Not only are the career opportunities numerous, but the field is predicted to grow considerably. US Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employment of surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and surveying and mapping technicians is expected to grow 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Increasing demand for fast, accurate, and complete geographic information will be the main source of job growth.

US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration:   DOLETA's High Growth Job Training Initiative identified 14 sectors (one of which was Geospatial Technology) that fit within the following criteria:   

  • They are projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs to the economy or affect the growth of other industries; or
  • They are existing or emerging businesses being transformed by technology and innovation requiring new skills sets for workers.

2017 URISA GIS Salary Survey Executive Summary:  This document is a preview of the 2017 URISA GIS Salary Survey, and includes valuable summary data from the survey results. The full publication with an abundance of detailed tabular data and extensive cross-tabulations is included in the full publication.

Quick Hits from 2017:

  • The survey is based on 3,060 respondents who are employed full-time.
  • The average salary of survey respondents was $70,857 - an increase of 15% over the 2010 average of $61,540.
  • GISPs, on average, earned $10,000 more than non-GISPs.
  • A majority (57.7%) of respondents are employed within some level of government,  from local to federal agencies.
  • Most receive additional forms of compensation including health insurance, paid conference attendance, life insurance, paid training, pension/retirement plans and 401(s) plans.
  • They spend an average of 70.8% of their time performing geospatial tasks and work an average of 41.6 hours per week.
  • The minimum level of education required for their position is a Bachelor's degree.
  • They have an average of 13.5 years of professional experience and have been in their current position for an average of 6.8 years.
  • Less than half (42.5%) were GISPs.
  • Two-thirds were male and the average age of respondents was 40.5 years.
  • Most (90.4%) respondents were from the U.S. with the greatest concentration from the South Atlantic, Pacific, Mountain and West South Central regions.

Job Titles: URISA has published a 2014 version of its Model GIS Job Descriptions publication, a useful resource for career paths and skills required along the way.

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