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, jobs in GIS 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.

$75k+

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.

57%

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.

94%

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 online GIS programs are employed 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.

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

(Salary data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Paysa, Glassdoor and PayScale from 2017-2019)

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GIS Data Acquisition and Integration Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Surveyor $61,140
Cartographer/Photogrammetrist $63,990
Geographer $76,860
Geographic Information Systems Technician (Entry-level) $40,908
Senior Geographic Information Systems Technician $62,000

Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Lead Geographic Information Systems Analyst $69,919
Geographic Information Systems Coordinator $55,301
Geospatial Analyst $57,565
Senior Geographic Information Systems Specialist $60,782

GIS Software Development Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Geographic Information Systems Software Engineer $70,000
Geographic Information Systems Web Developer $60,903
Senior Software Engineer (Geospatial Mapping Services Industry) $81,095*

*Average salary reported instead of median

GIS Management and Leadership Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Geographic Information Systems Project Manager $72,647
Geographic Information Systems Manager $68,447
Geographic Information Systems Director $95,048

Geospatial Intelligence Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Intelligence Analyst (with GEOINT skill) $71,331*
Geospatial Analyst $57,565
Imagery Analyst $68,341
Senior Intelligence Analyst (with GEOINT skill) $96,418

*Average salary reported instead of median

Geospatial Leadership Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Senior Staff Systems Engineer $138,569*
Intelligence Officer (with GEOINT skill) $90,000
Senior Geospatial Analyst $78,624*

*Average salary reported instead of median

Remote Sensing Careers

Job Title Median Salary
Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists $107,230
Remote Sensing Engineer $91,248
Remote Sensing Analyst $55,330
Remote Sensing Technicians $48,090