Today’s Training, Today’s Careers: Geographic Information Systems

Want a job that’s in demand in Central Texas? ACC is your source for affordable training that connects you to today’s careers. The college offers more than 235 degrees and certificates, many in high-demand fields.

ACC is profiling programs that prepare students for industries that call Central Texas home. At ACC, you can Start Here. Get There.

Geographic Information Systems

From location-based services such as Google Maps to global positioning systems, technology is becoming increasingly dependent on the work of geographic information systems (GIS) specialists. ACC prepares students to use and develop data and maps that address complex questions for both the private and the public sector. And with the curriculum created by a panel of local GIS experts, ACC has one of the most respected programs in the region.

Sean Moran, chair of the Geographic Information Systems Program

Find out more about the profession and ACC’s GIS program by checking out the following Q&A. You can also view a recent KVUE segment highlighting the program – or visit for information on other affordable career training paths.

Q&A with Sean Moran, Chair of the GIS Program

What does a person in this job or field do?

GIS specialists combine maps with information to present data and provide analysis. They can work in any industry that utilizes maps to communicate information. For example, you could analyze crime rates for law enforcement, identify potential sites for energy development, or track species in the wild.

What types of jobs in this field are in demand in Central Texas?

There are a number of Central Texas employers that hire GIS technicians and analysts. Private sector employers include engineering services, environmental consulting, surveying, market analysis, energy exploration, banking, and health care. Public sector employers include local, regional, state, and federal governmental organizations, as well as a number of non-profits.

What skills, interests, or abilities are associated with these jobs?

The most successful GIS professionals enjoy utilizing spatial reasoning to solve problems. Which coastal lands are most threatened by rising sea levels? Why are nations in the Horn of Africa constantly threatened by famine? How will wind turbine production impact migratory birds? If you find these questions intriguing, GIS might be right for you.

What subjects do students study for jobs in this field?

Any subject with a geographic component, including geology, archeology, biology, engineering, marketing, health care, demography, meteorology, parks and recreation, etc.

What training opportunities for this field are available at ACC?

We’re a workforce program, so we’re all about giving students the skills they need to be successful on the job.

Students have multiple opportunities for their course of study:

  • Two-year Associate of Arts in GIS
  • Two-year Associate of Applied Science in GIS
  • One-Year Level I GIS Certificate
  • Two-Year Level II GIS Certificate

We’re a very hands-on program. We work with local companies and organizations and use local Central Texas data to provide students real-world experience. For example, this semester we’ve teamed up with LCRA to work on projects that benefit the community.

Is a four-year degree required?

A four-year degree is not required. We see a range of students – some with high school diplomas, some recent college graduates, and folks looking for retraining.

How successful are ACC graduates at finding jobs in this field?

Our graduates are very successful in finding jobs in the both the private and public sector. And since our students work with industry professionals as part of their coursework, it opens up a variety of opportunities after they graduate.

What kind of salaries could people expect in this field?

Entry level jobs can range from about $26,000 to almost $40,000 per year. With experience, you increase your earning potential.

What about paying for classes? Are there financial aid options?

Financial aid is available and can help cover the cost of tuition. ACC also has an excellent payment plan option at no additional cost that we encourage students to use. For more information, visit ACC Financial Aid.

How do people get started?

Those interested in the GIS program should review our info page ( or our program website (

Read previous Q&A’s on ACC’s Game Development Institute and Culinary Arts Program.

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