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February 23, 2015
GISCI Announces Changes to the GISP Certification Process

DES PLAINES, Ill., Feb. 16, 2015—The GISCI Board is pleased to announce the long-anticipated changes to the GISP certification process that were decided during the first meeting of 2015. These changes affect both current and future GISP certification holders and were made in order to increase the value, recognition and long term viability of the GISP certification and the GISCI organization.

Changes for Future GISP Applicants

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.

After July 1, 2015, anyone can start the application process at any time, either via the exam or portfolio review.

In response to requests from GISPs and the geospatial community, GISCI will offer the GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam to individuals independent of the application for the portfolio review process. This means that GISP applicants after July 1, 2015 can start the certification process by completing an application and taking the examination any time prior to attaining the professional experience required for the professional portfolio. All applicants will be required to fulfill all certification process requirements within 6 years from the date of their initial application to be awarded a GISP certification. A key benefit of this change in policy is that students and others new to geospatial professions will have the opportunity to begin the certification process and take the exam whenever they believe they are prepared, rather than having to wait until they have completed all of the requirements of the peer reviewed portfolio.

After July 1, 2015 the certification process will include a $ 100 application fee, a $ 250 exam fee, and a $ 100 portfolio review fee. Upon completion of the certification process, an individual will be certified for a 3 year period. Annual renewal fees of $ 95 are due on the anniversary of initial certification and will be required to be paid in full prior to recertification. Recertification of the GISP will be required at the end of the 3 year period with a procedure similar to the current review process where submission of information on completed continuing education and service to the profession is required.

Until July 1, 2015, GISCI will continue to accept GISP applications under its current process and fee structure.

Changes for Current GISP Professionals

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.

This will provide GISPs with certification expiration dates prior to July 1, 2015 the opportunity to recertify under the current policies for an additional 5 years. A table summarizing changes is shown below:

GISP Status Fee(s) Renewal Period
Current GISP with expiration prior to July 1, 2015 and completes recertification before July 1, 2015 $115 5 Years
Current GISP with expiration date prior to July 1, 2015 recertifies after grace period* $450 3 Years 
Current GISP with expiration date after July 1, 2015 $95/yr 3 Years 
New GISP application prior to July 1, 2015 $250   5 Years
New GISP application after July 1, 2015 (application fee + portfolio review + exam fee)  $450 3 Years

*GISCI currently offers a 1 year grace period for recertification after expiration. Any GISP that fails to reinstate their credential within the grace period will be required to reapply for certification under the standards in place at the time of recertification.


The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization, established in 2004, to manage and operate the premier professional certification program for the GIS Profession and to promote ethical conduct among GISPs. GISCI offers participants from the first years on the job until retirement, a positive method of developing value for professionals and employers in the GIS profession. GISCI has certified almost 7,000 GISPs, worldwide.

Its member organizations include the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), and the Geographic Land and Information Society (GLIS).

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