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Top 10 GIS Manager Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best GIS manager certifications available, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for a GIS manager in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise. For example, certifications such as the Esri Certified Professional or GISP credential can show employers that the applicant has a deep understanding of GIS principles, theories, and techniques. Additionally, certifications may also be required by certain organizations for certain positions. This provides an assurance to employers that the candidate is capable of managing GIS projects and data effectively. In short, certifications give GIS managers an edge in the job market and can help them stand out from other applicants.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for GIS Managers and explain how they can help advance a gis manager's career.

What are GIS Manager Certifications?

GIS Manager Certification is a professional certification program that recognizes the advanced skills and knowledge of GIS professionals who manage GIS projects and systems. It is designed to help individuals demonstrate their expertise in the field of GIS management and to provide them with additional career opportunities. The certification covers topics such as data management, system design and development, project management, mapping technologies, database administration, and system integration.

The certification can be beneficial for those who are looking to advance their careers by demonstrating their proficiency in the field of GIS management. It can also help employers recognize an individual’s advanced skills in managing GIS projects and systems and ensure that they have the right person on board to lead their organization into the future. With this certification, employers will know that they are hiring an experienced candidate who understands how to use GIS technologies effectively. Additionally, having this credential may make it easier for job applicants to stand out from other candidates when applying for positions in the GIS industry.

Pro Tip: To become a GIS Manager, it is important to have an advanced degree in GIS or a related field. Additionally, professional certification can help demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of GIS technology, software, and best practices. Look for certifications that are specific to the type of GIS work you do, such as the Certified GIS Professional (GISP) or Esri's ArcGIS Desktop Professional Certification.

Related: What does a GIS Manager do?

Top 10 GIS Manager Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to GIS Managers today.

1. Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP)

Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP) is a certification program offered by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI). It is designed to recognize professionals who have achieved a level of expertise in the field of GIS and demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices and professional development.

To obtain the GISP certification, an individual must meet certain educational and experience requirements, pass an exam, and agree to abide by a code of ethics. The educational requirements include either a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university with at least 24 semester hours of coursework related to geographic information systems or related fields such as cartography, remote sensing, geodesy, computer science, or surveying. Experience requirements include at least two years of professional experience in the field of GIS.

The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as GIS data sources and formats; spatial analysis techniques; cartography; legal issues; project management; software applications; and ethics. The exam fee is $100 USD.

Once all requirements are met, the applicant will receive their GISP certificate within 4-6 weeks. There is no annual renewal fee for maintaining your GISP certification status. However, continuing education credits must be earned every three years in order to maintain your certification status.

2. Esri Certified Enterprise Geodatabase Manager

Esri Certified Enterprise Geodatabase Manager is a certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage an enterprise geodatabase. This certification is designed to demonstrate an individual’s ability to configure, administer, and maintain an enterprise geodatabase in order to meet the needs of an organization.

The Esri Certified Enterprise Geodatabase Manager certification requires passing a two-hour exam that covers topics such as database design, data management, security and access control, backup and recovery, performance tuning, replication and archiving. The exam is administered online through Pearson VUE.

It typically takes around two weeks for results to be available after taking the exam.

In order to become certified as an Esri Certified Enterprise Geodatabase Manager, you must first purchase a voucher from Esri's website. The cost of the voucher is $150 USD. After purchasing the voucher, you will receive instructions on how to register for the exam with Pearson VUE.

3. Certified GIS Manager (CGISM)

Certified GIS Manager (CGISM) is a professional certification program offered by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI). The CGISM certification is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the management and application of geographic information systems (GIS). The certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in GIS management.

To become a Certified GIS Manager, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an exam. Eligibility requirements include having at least three years of experience working with GIS technology and software, as well as having completed at least 40 hours of continuing education related to GIS within the last five years.

The CGISM exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that are based on topics such as project management, data analysis, cartography, database design, system architecture, and user interface design. Applicants must answer all questions correctly to pass the exam. The exam takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete and can be taken online or at an approved testing center.

The cost for taking the CGISM exam is $495 USD for members of GISCI and $595 USD for non-members. Additionally, there is an annual fee of $50 USD for maintaining the certification once it has been earned.

4. Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server Professional Certification

Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server Professional Certification is a certification program offered by Autodesk that allows individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the use of Autodesk's Infrastructure Map Server software. This certification is designed for professionals who need to create, manage, and publish GIS data using Autodesk's Infrastructure Map Server.

The Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server Professional Certification consists of two exams: the Autodesk Certified User (ACU) exam and the Autodesk Certified Professional (ACP) exam. The ACU exam focuses on basic concepts related to GIS data management and publishing, while the ACP exam focuses on more advanced topics such as data integration, analysis, and visualization.

It typically takes about four months to complete the entire certification process. During this time, individuals must complete both exams successfully in order to receive their certification.

In order to get certified, individuals must first register with Autodesk and purchase a subscription plan that includes access to the necessary training materials and practice tests. After completing their registration, they can then begin studying for the exams and take them when they are ready.

The cost of getting certified varies depending on which subscription plan an individual purchases from Autodesk. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $200-$1000 USD depending on which services are included in the package purchased.

5. Autodesk Certified Professional – GIS and Mapping

Autodesk Certified Professional – GIS and Mapping is a certification program from Autodesk that recognizes professionals who have demonstrated the skills and knowledge needed to effectively use Autodesk mapping software. The certification covers topics such as creating maps, analyzing data, working with geospatial data, and visualizing results.

To become an Autodesk Certified Professional – GIS and Mapping, individuals must pass a series of exams that cover topics such as geospatial data management, analysis, visualization, and cartography. The exams are available online through the Autodesk website.

The cost of becoming an Autodesk Certified Professional – GIS and Mapping varies depending on the number of exams taken. Generally speaking, it costs around $100 per exam. It typically takes between two to four weeks to complete all the required exams.

Once certified, individuals will receive an official certificate from Autodesk that verifies their expertise in using Autodesk mapping software for professional purposes. This certification can be used to demonstrate proficiency in this area to employers or clients.

6. Oracle Spatial 11g Certified Implementation Specialist

Oracle Spatial 11g Certified Implementation Specialist is a certification program designed to help professionals demonstrate their expertise in designing, implementing, and managing Oracle Spatial applications. This certification is offered by Oracle University and is available to individuals who have proven experience working with the Oracle Spatial product.

To become an Oracle Spatial 11g Certified Implementation Specialist, you must first pass the Oracle Spatial 11g Certification Exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge of the topics covered in the course material. The exam typically takes about two hours to complete and can be taken at any authorized testing center.

In order to take the exam, you must purchase an exam voucher from Oracle University. The cost of the voucher varies depending on your country or region but generally ranges from $150-$200 USD. You may also need to pay an additional fee for taking the exam at a testing center.

Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your official Oracle Spatial 11g Certified Implementation Specialist certificate from Oracle University. This certificate will provide proof of your expertise in designing, implementing, and managing Oracle Spatial applications and will serve as a valuable asset when applying for jobs or advancing your career.

7. Bentley Institute GIS Administrator Certification

Bentley Institute GIS Administrator Certification is a professional certification program offered by Bentley Systems, Inc. It is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of individuals who are responsible for the administration, implementation, and management of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This certification is intended for professionals who have experience in GIS administration and want to demonstrate their expertise in this field.

The Bentley Institute GIS Administrator Certification consists of two exams: one on the fundamentals of GIS administration and another on advanced topics in GIS administration. The exams are administered online and can be taken at any time. Each exam takes approximately two hours to complete.

To get certified, applicants must pass both exams with a score of 70% or higher. Upon successful completion of the exams, applicants will receive their official certification from Bentley Systems, Inc.

The cost for the Bentley Institute GIS Administrator Certification is $400 USD per exam, totaling $800 USD for both exams.

8. ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification

ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification is an entry-level certification program designed to validate a user’s knowledge and understanding of the ESRI ArcGIS Desktop software. The certification is intended for users who need to demonstrate their ability to use the software to produce maps, analyze data, and create geographic information systems (GIS).

The certification process consists of two parts: a written exam and a hands-on practical exam. The written exam tests knowledge in topics such as basic GIS concepts, data sources, map design, geoprocessing tools, cartography and visualization. The practical exam requires the candidate to complete a series of tasks using the ESRI ArcGIS Desktop software.

The certification process typically takes about 2-3 months from start to finish. Candidates must register with ESRI in order to take the exams. Once registered, they will receive access to study materials and practice exams. After studying for the exams, candidates may schedule their exams with Pearson VUE or Prometric Testing Centers.

The cost for taking both parts of the certification process is approximately $400 USD. This includes registration fees for both exams as well as any applicable taxes or other fees associated with taking the exams at a testing center.

9. ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Professional Certification

ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Professional Certification is a certification program offered by ESRI, the leader in Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. This certification program is designed to recognize and validate the skills of GIS professionals who have demonstrated proficiency in using ESRI’s ArcGIS Desktop software. The certification requires passing two exams: one on the fundamentals of GIS and another on the advanced features of ArcGIS Desktop.

The certification process typically takes around three months to complete, depending on how quickly you can prepare for and pass both exams. To get certified, you must first register with ESRI and pay an exam fee of $150 USD per exam. Once registered, you will be given access to study materials and practice tests that can help you prepare for the exams. After successfully completing both exams, you will receive your official certificate from ESRI.

The cost for the entire certification process is approximately $300 USD, including registration fees, study materials, and exam fees.

10. FME Certified Professional

FME Certified Professional is a certification program offered by Safe Software, the makers of FME, a powerful data integration and transformation platform. The certification is designed to demonstrate your proficiency in using FME for data integration and transformation tasks. It is an industry-recognized credential that validates your skills and knowledge of the software.

To become an FME Certified Professional, you must pass two exams: the FME Fundamentals exam and the FME Advanced exam. Both exams are administered online through Safe Software’s website. The Fundamentals exam covers basic concepts related to FME such as data sources, workspaces, transformers, and more. The Advanced exam covers more advanced topics such as scripting, custom transformers, debugging techniques, and more.

The total cost for both exams is $400 USD (plus applicable taxes). You can register for either exam on Safe Software’s website. Once you have registered for the exams, you will be given access to study materials to help you prepare for them. Once you have passed both exams successfully, you will be awarded the FME Certified Professional credential.

The time it takes to get certified depends on how much time you spend studying for each exam. Generally speaking, it should take around 8-10 hours of study time per exam in order to pass with flying colors.

Do You Really Need a GIS Manager Certificate?

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) managers are responsible for managing and overseeing the development and implementation of GIS applications. They must have a deep understanding of the technology, its capabilities, and how to use it to solve problems. As such, having a GIS Manager Certificate can be beneficial in order to demonstrate knowledge in this field.

Having a GIS Manager Certificate is not necessary for some positions, as many employers prefer experience over formal qualifications or education. However, if you are looking to move up in your career or increase your chances of getting hired into a GIS-related job, it may be beneficial to have one. The certificate provides employers with an indication that you have taken the time to learn about the technology and are prepared to use it effectively in your job.

The GIS Manager Certificate can also help you stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs that require skills related to GIS. It shows employers that you have taken the initiative to learn about the technology and how it can be used for their specific needs. It also indicates that you are committed to keeping up with industry trends and best practices when working with GIS applications.

In addition, having a GIS Manager Certificate may open up opportunities for continuing education or professional development courses related to this field. This could help expand your skillset and give you access to more advanced roles within the field of GIS management.

Overall, if you are looking for a career in GIS management or want to increase your chances of landing a job in this area, obtaining a GIS Manager Certificate could certainly help demonstrate your commitment and knowledge in this field.

Related: GIS Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About GIS Manager Certifications

1. What are the requirements for becoming a GIS Manager?

A: Generally, a bachelor’s degree in geographic information systems (GIS), geospatial technology, or a related field is required to become a GIS manager. Additionally, experience in managing GIS projects and personnel is necessary.

2. What types of certifications are available for GIS Managers?

A: There are several certifications available for GIS managers, including Certified Geographic Information Systems Professional (CGIP) and Certified Geospatial Professional (CGP). These certifications demonstrate expertise in the field of GIS management and provide employers with assurance that the candidate has the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in their role.

3. How much does a GIS Manager certification cost?

A: The cost of certification varies depending on the type of certification being sought. Generally speaking, CGIP certification costs around $500 while CGP certification can cost upwards of $1000.

4. How long does it take to get certified as a GIS Manager?

A: The time it takes to receive certification depends on the type of certification being sought and how much preparation is done before taking the exam. Generally speaking, it takes between 3-6 months to complete all requirements for each respective certification program.

5. What is the job outlook for GIS Managers?

A: According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for GIS managers are expected to grow by 8% over the next 10 years, faster than average compared to other occupations. This growth is attributed largely due to increased demand for geospatial data analysis and mapping services across various industries such as energy exploration, urban planning, and health care services.