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Geographic Information Systems

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Much more than maps, GIS is a window to the world

GIS specialists use data to create intelligent maps that address complex questions, such as how many houses will be impacted by a flood zone, whether proximity to a highway relates to residential crime, or how commercial development may affect endangered species. Private-sector companies and public organizations use GIS to harness their resources more efficiently when planning and making decisions. ACC has one of the most well respected GIS programs in the region, no doubt because a 14-member panel of local GIS experts helps create our curriculum.

What skills can I gain?

GIS students build expertise in computer-based data collection, input, storage, analysis, and cartographic technology.

Associate of Arts Degree: This is the first two years of transferable courses toward a four-year bachelor's degree in geography with a GIS concentration. This program includes two dedicated GIS classes and is exclusively for students interested in transferring to a four-year college or university.

Associate of Applied Science Degree: The broad, hands-on GIS instruction in this program is augmented with computer database training and core college academics. Students who wish to enter the workforce sooner rather than later but want to earn a college degree prefer this program.

Level I Certificate: This certificate is designed to be the first building block in the program. It includes entry-level know-how to begin working in GIS. All Level I courses transfer toward the Level II certificate.

Level II Certificate: Focused GIS education including the latest geospatial programming and web-based applications are detailed in this certificate. Individuals who use GIS in their current jobs often select this program to update their skills with the latest industry software. All Level II certificate courses transfer toward the AAS degree.

How long will it take to earn a degree or certificate?

It typically takes full-time students at least two years to complete an associate degree. The Level I certificate requires at least two semesters of study and the Level II certificate requires at least three.

Where can I work with this education?

GIS specialists work in a variety of settings including natural resource management, marketing, tax appraisal districts, law enforcement, land use and planning, geology, education, epidemiology, health care, government, archeology, and petroleum exploration. GIS graduates from ACC work in many areas of local and state government, for the U.S. Geological Survey, and for private environmental and engineering firms.

How do I get started at ACC and where can I find out about financial aid?

*All prospective GIS students are encouraged to schedule a formal advising session with the department before registering for class. Sean Moran at or call (512) 223.4944.

Visit ACC's future student's page for admissions information. The financial aid page has links for eligibility and applications.

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