USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Geographic Information Science (GIS) Careers

Geographic information science and technology stand at the forefront of numerous initiatives and applications. As a result, GIS careers are uniquely diverse, and they tend to offer a challenging blend of creative and analytical thinking; the most successful GIS professionals have the technical and analytical acumen to understand complex information and how different sets of information relate to each other, but they can also think forward to how this information can be used to solve a problem.

USC students have pursued GIST careers ranging from analyst roles at “Big 4” accounting firms, environmental preservation organizations, enterprise software companies and government organizations.


55% of graduate respondents employed full-time report an annual base salary of $75,000 or higher.

Based on USC GIST’s 2020 Student Outcome Survey from September 2020 with responses from 69 master’s program graduates and 25 certificate program graduates.


Percent of graduate respondents reporting a pay increase since graduating from USC.

Based on USC GIST’s 2020 Student Outcome Survey from September 2020 with responses from 69 master’s program graduates and 25 certificate program graduates.


Percent of graduate respondents currently employed or continuing their education.

Based on USC GIST’s 2020 Student Outcome Survey from September 2020 with responses from 69 master’s program graduates and 25 certificate program graduates.

Graduates of USC’s GIS programs have followed career paths across various industries, including government; defense/military/intelligence community; water, energy and utilities; environmental; and technology. Alumni work at places such as:

  • CACI
  • Caltrans
  • City of Los Angeles
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Interior
  • Jacobs Engineering
  • Los Angeles World Airports
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • Southern California Edison Company
  • The Walt Disney Company

Job titles of graduates include:

  • Epidemiologist
  • Expeditionary GeoBase Analyst
  • GIS Analyst/Senior GIS Analyst
  • GIS Program Manager/Cartographer
  • GIS Specialist/Senior GIS Specialist
  • GIS Unit Supervisor
  • Geospatial Logistics Analyst
  • Hydrologist
  • Senior Cartographer (GEOINT)
  • Transportation Surveyor Party Chief

“The need for GIS specialists at private sector employers is really growing. I have been amazed at how many people don’t fully understand the capabilities of a GIS analyst. As the first GIS analyst at Safelight in the U.S., I’ve been able to help with all types of mapping requests that were previously led by people who didn’t have the necessary tools or expertise. So, something that would take them an entire day to do, I can accomplish in about 15-20 minutes and provide a more effective result.”

– Brandon Brooks M.S. GIST, Class of 2018

Want more information regarding potential career opportunities? Connect with an alumni ambassador to find out about their career trajectory and experience in the program.

The list below includes salary information for many common GIS job titles. However, the potential career opportunities for professionals with a GIS degree are infinitely expansive and will become even more varied as organizations increasingly leverage spatial data and analytics. For further information, consult our articles about GIS salaries and in-demand positions and the current GIS job outlook.

Contact an enrollment advisor if you have questions related to your specific career goals.

Request Brochure

Fill out the information below to learn more about the University of Southern California’s GIS Graduate Programs and download a free brochure. If you have any additional questions, please call 877-650-9054 to speak to an enrollment advisor.

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GIS Job Title and Salary Information

GIS Data Acquisition and Integration Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Surveyor $65,590
Cartographer/Photogrammetrist $68,380
Geographer $59,488
Geographic Information Systems Technician $46,200

Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Geographic Information Systems Analyst $59,488
Geographic Information Systems Coordinator $58,033*
Geospatial Analyst $59,967*
Geographic Information Systems Specialist $68,380

*Average salary reported instead of median

GIS Software Development Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Software Engineer (with GIS skills) $77,656
Web Developer (with GIS skills) $76,236
Senior Software Engineer (with GIS skills) $109,974

GIS Management and Leadership Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Project Manager (with GIS skills) $64,415
Geographic Information Systems Manager $72,623
Geographic Information Systems Director $95,048
Senior Systems Engineer $108,363
Intelligence Officer $91,988*

*Average salary reported instead of median

Geospatial Intelligence Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Intelligence Analyst (with GEOINT skill) $72,344*
Geospatial Analyst $59,967
Imagery Analyst $59,966*
Senior Intelligence Analyst (with GEOINT skill) $102,758

*Average salary reported instead of median

Remote Sensing Careers

Job Title Average Salary
Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists $90,443
Remote Sensing Engineer $90,458
Remote Sensing Analyst $69,087
Remote Sensing Technicians $44,990

(Salary data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Burning Glass, Glassdoor and PayScale from 2020-2021)

About USC’s GIS Graduate Programs

The University of Southern California offers a comprehensive selection of online and residential GIS programs. This includes both GIS master’s degrees and GIS graduate certificates. Click on the programs below to learn about our leading geographic information science education.

GIS Master’s Degrees

GIS Graduate Certificates

*The application for the residential graduate certificates and online M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis (SEDA) program will open in early August.