What is the GISP® Certification?

An individual must have at least 4 years of professional experience, meet the requirements of the Portfolio Review process, and pass the GISCI Core Technical Exam in order to be awarded the GISP Certification. However, you can start the process at any time in your career!

A young professional just graduating from a geospatial program at a university or community college might consider starting the process for a GISP Certification by taking the Exam at or just after graduation.  Passing the Exam while your coursework is still fresh and when your testing ability is as good as it will be, would be an excellent way to differentiate yourself to a potential employer as you start a job search.   Not only will you have demonstrated a measurable skill level, but your will also provide a strong indication that you are approaching your career as an aspiring geospatial professional!

You can take the Exam at any time in your career, and you can also register on our site for free to begin your Portfolio Review profile at any time, as well, updating as your career progresses, and submitting whenever you have completed the requirements.  Once you pass the Exam, you have up to six (6) years to meet the Portfolio Requirements without having to start the process over.

Before we conclude the Program explanation, it is important to discuss the difference among certificates, certification, licensure, and accreditation. GISCI offers a complete certification program.

  • Certificate: An award given to an individual recognizing completion of an academic or training program consisting of a series of courses. 
  • Certification: A process, often voluntary, by which individuals who have demonstrated a level of expertise in the profession are identified to the public and other stakeholders by a third party. Designed to recognize expertise.
  • Licensure: The granting of a license to practice a profession. Often regulated by states and indoctrinated in legislation. Designed to guard against incompetence.
  • Accreditation: The process of evaluating the academic qualifications or standards of an institution or program of study in accordance with pre-established criteria.


Who is a GISP®?

A GISP® is a designation awarded to a certified geographic information systems (GIS) professional that provides him/her a professional distinction in the GIS profession.


  • Meets the minimum standards for ethics, educational achievement, professional experience, and manner in which he or she contributes back to the profession.
  • Abides by higher guidelines for ethical behavior.
  • Continues to educate and reeducate her or himself while preparing for recertification.
  • Can reside anywhere in the world; active GISPs are currently found in all 50 States and 59 foreign countries.
  • Is more than a practitioner of GIS technology.
  • Is a professional, engaged in the profession and networking with other professionals.