GISP or Not?

Well, it looks like the GIS Certification Institute has finally settled on their plan to change the GISP certification program.  Effective July 1, 2015, all professionals applying for their initial GISP certification will be required to take and pass the GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam, now being developed,  in addition to meeting the current standards for certification via a portfolio based review based on ethics agreement,  education, experience, and professional contributions.

Already have a GISP badge?  All current professionals holding GISP certification with a recertification date after July 1, 2015 will recertify for a 3 year period, and will pay an annual renewal fee of $95 for each of the three years of the new recertification period.  The portfolio points for continuing education and service to the profession required for the 3-year recertification will be reduced proportionately from the current 5 year requirements.  All professionals certified or recertified before July 1, 2015 will remain certified under the current 5 year recertification policy and fees until the next certification expiration date and then will begin the new 3-year renewal and recertification process.

The cost for certification will change too, from $250 every 5 years to $450 every 3 years.  Let’s say you want to be in this GIS profession for 25 years.  Under the current system without considering the new system, you would have paid $1,250 over your lifetime.  Under the new system, you will have paid $3,750.  That is a 300% increase!  For a comparison, our Engineers only pay $125 every 2 years for certification!

More details here.

Is getting a GISP worth it?  That is up to you and what you want to do.  I would expect that if you worked for a GIS consulting company, they would want their employees to be GISP certified to make the company more marketable.  In Education, maybe.  In government at the management level, most jobs I’ve seen that even mention it have “GISP preferred” or “GISP a plus”, but I suspect that more will start requiring them and it might make sense to get one if you want the job.  And if you can, try and get your current employer to pay for it!

I will not interject my personal opinion about the GISP, other than when I look at hiring someone, I don’t care if you have a GISP or not.  Anyone can take a test or attend conference.  It is what you know and what you have done that counts before I decide to hire you.  Save your money!  -mike

7 thoughts on “GISP or Not?

  1. They sure are money hungry, aren’t they? From what I’ve seen, people who have their GISP don’t know as much as you’d think. If I were an ESRI shop, I’d hire someone with the ArcGIS Desktop certifications over the GISP any day.

  2. Pingback: New GISP Certification Process and Fees Announced - GIS Lounge

  3. My biggest question is “What do you get for all that money?” I have been certified since 2008 and I don’t even get a newsletter emailed to me on a regular basis. I may see 1 or 2 a year if I am lucky. They get all these fees and what do we get for our investment. Now with the fee restructuring they want more! WHY?

  4. As some of you know, I was part of the certification committee from early on and an opponent of the program. My goal was to have it do as little harm as possible. We quickly determined there was no core skill set running across the profession and vowed that “GISP required” should not be on job postings since we were not certifying competence. It’s taken a few years, but it’s ended up where I feared it would. Make sure your HR staff does not fall into the trap of adding this foolish requirement.

    • Hi Barry, So you’re saying that the certification is not worth the cost? I’ve been in the GIS Industry for 20 years and I’ve never had a problem getting a job or new work because I didn’t have the certification. I’m curious as to what you mean when you say…”we were not certifying competence”. I see now they are adding more costs and saying you’ll need to take an exam. I was about to get the cert because I work in the consulting industry and they love the acronyms after your name. For marketing purposes. Thanks.

      • Juan, you are in the group we saw as most likely to be trapped by this program. Indeed, consultants need to get that alphabet soup to make some people happy — although nothing succeeds like a trail of good work of course. When we put the program together, we quickly saw there was no one set of skills or body of knowledge that was applicable to all users of GIS. I think that’s even more true now than it was a decade ago. I’m curious what’s in the test, but I’m not surprised they are doing it. Much luck!

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