Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

What to expect from a Geographic Information Systems career

Geographic information systems (GIS) are computerized systems that collect, store and analyze spatial (or geographic) data. They produce information in a variety of formats, such as tables, graphs and maps, and are used for analysis in a number of fields, including natural resources, public health, urban planning, agriculture and much more. The need for GIS specialists is growing and is expected to continue to grow significantly over the next few years. Ontario college geographic information systems programs provide students with the technical and statistical skill and experience necessary to thrive in this in-demand field.

If you have strong analytical and computer skills, and want a career working with GIS and digital mapping, here’s what you need to know.

Geographic Information Systems Courses

Geographic information systems programs at Ontario colleges use cutting-edge technology and techniques to give students a thorough understanding of GIS software and equipment. Students will gain strong research, analytical and critical thinking skills that can be applied in processing a variety of types of technical information and data.

Geographic information systems courses will vary depending on the program. Course subjects may include (but aren’t limited to):

Programs that are offered with an area of specialty will have a slightly different focus. For example, GIS urban planning courses will focus more on CAD, site planning and urban design.

Work placements and co-op terms are common in these programs to provide students with the opportunity to gain experience in real situations.

General Geographic Information Systems Program Requirements

Entry-level Ontario college geographic information systems programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit. Most programs also require a grade 11 or 12 math credit.

For programs offered at the post-graduate level, a college diploma or university degree is required (usually in a related field). Individual colleges may suggest students have a background or base knowledge of computers, statistics and / or math for the best chance of success.

Geographic Information Systems Jobs and Salaries

Graduates of GIS programs will find career opportunities across diverse industries, from engineering and government to land development and agriculture. Common job titles include (but aren’t limited to):

  • GIS Analyst
  • GIS Researcher
  • GIS Programmer
  • Spatial Database Specialist
  • Information Technician

The average starting salary for graduates is roughly $30,000 per year. Graduates of specialized GIS programs, such as cartography, typically have higher starting salaries of roughly $40,000.

Ontario Colleges Offering Geographic Information Systems Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of geographic information systems programs at Ontario colleges.

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