GIS Master's Degree: Salary & Jobs

Discover a handful of careers where a master's degree in GIS will prove useful. You can also find out about the median salaries, expected job growth and job duties of these careers.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is used in many different careers to map or examine various locations. Below are some of the available careers that utilize the information one would obtain with a master's degree in GIS.

Careers for People with a Master's Degree in GIS

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Surveyors $59,390 -2% (Decline)
Conservation Scientists $61,810 7%
Foresters $58,700 8%
Geographers $74,260 -2% (Decline)
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists $62,750 29%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Descriptions for People with a Master's Degree in GIS


Surveyors use GIS to create maps and reports that display various kinds of property boundaries and other spatial information. They evaluate these boundaries by measuring angles and distances, examining land records and searching for boundary markings. Their work is used to create legal documents, such as land deeds.

Conservation Scientists

Conservation scientists manage and preserve various natural resources. This typically involves working with farmers, landowners or governments to determine the best conservation activities for a particular piece of land. They also create land-use contracts, which may require using GIS to map large areas. These scientists may specialize in a particular area, and hold a job title like conservation land manager, range manager or soil and water conservationist.


Similar to conservation scientists, foresters use GIS to map forests, parks and rangelands, but they use these maps to help determine forest trends and monitor land use. Foresters may oversee teams of workers to perform forestry activities, such as controlled burns or the spraying of herbicides. They also consult with landowners and determine the best way to harvest trees or perform other activities with the least amount of environmental damage. Foresters may choose to specialize and become a procurement forester, urban forester or conservation education forester.


Geographers study various aspects of the Earth at the local and global levels. They examine land features with maps, satellite imagery, field observations, or human geographic characteristics through surveys and interviews. Geographers utilize GIS to gather significant geographic data, and may even be responsible for teaching other professionals how to use GIS. They also use GIS to report their findings in easy-to-understand maps and charts explaining geographic trends.

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

A cartographer, or geographic information specialist, uses GIS to study and present maps of spatial information that can be applied to many different fields. They also update older maps or create maps for educational purposes using a combination of GIS, aerial photos, ground surveys and satellite images. Photogrammetrists also analyze spatial data that they collect through different kinds of surveys. They then use their data to create the base maps that are added to GIS maps.

There are several careers that use GIS to create informational maps and charts of land with spatial data. With a GIS master's degree, graduates will likely be able to advance in these careers as they apply their extensive knowledge and skills in this area.

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