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Career and Education Opportunities for Geographic Information Systems Analysts in Birmingham, Alabama

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for geographic information systems analysts in the Birmingham, Alabama area. The national trend for geographic information systems analysts sees this job pool growing by about 26.2% over the next eight years. Geographic information systems analysts generally study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena.

The average wage in the general category of Social Sciences jobs is $30 per hour or $62,555 per year in Alabama, and an average of $33 per hour or $68,239 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: geography professor, gis geographer , and environmental affairs corporate director.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a geographic information systems analyst. Given that the most common education level for geographic information systems analysts is a Master's degree, you can expect to spend about six years training to become a geographic information systems analyst if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Geographic Information Systems Analyst

In general, geographic information systems analysts study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. They also conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.

Geographic information systems analysts conduct fieldwork at outdoor sites. They also develop and modify maps, graphs, or diagrams, using geographical data software and related equipment, and principles of cartography such as direct systems and map scales. Equally important, geographic information systems analysts have to gather and compile geographic data from sources including censuses and existing maps. They are often called upon to locate and obtain existing geographic data databases. They are expected to design and maintain geographical data (GIS) computer systems and video cameras. Finally, geographic information systems analysts furnish consulting services in fields including resource development and management, business location and market area analysis, environmental hazards, regional cultural history, and urban social planning.

Every day, geographic information systems analysts are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for geographic information systems analysts to teach geography. Somewhat less frequently, geographic information systems analysts are also expected to collect data on physical characteristics of specified areas, such as geological formations and vegetation, using surveying or meteorological equipment.

and write and present reports of research findings. And finally, they sometimes have to study the economic and cultural characteristics of a specific region's population.

Like many other jobs, geographic information systems analysts must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be able to work independently and make decisions on their own.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Community Planner. Compile data from various sources, such as maps, reports, and field and file investigations, for use by city planner in making planning studies.
  • Economist. Conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to aid in solution of economic problems arising from production and distribution of goods and services. May collect and process economic and statistical data using econometric and sampling techniques.
  • Historian. Research, analyze, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.
  • Industrial Psychologist. Apply principles of psychology to personnel, administration, and marketing problems. Activities may include policy planning; employee screening, training and development; and organizational development and analysis. May work with management to reorganize the work setting to improve worker productivity.
  • Market Research Analyst. Research market conditions in local, regional, or national areas to determine potential sales of a product or service. May gather information on competitors, prices, and methods of marketing and distribution. May use survey results to create a marketing campaign based on regional preferences and buying habits.
  • Market Survey Representative. Design or conduct surveys. May supervise interviewers who conduct the survey in person or over the telephone. May present survey results to client.
  • School Psychologist. Investigate processes of learning and teaching and develop psychological principles and techniques applicable to educational problems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Geographic Information Systems Analyst Training

Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has a bachelor's degree program in Geography which graduated four students in 2008.


Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.