Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Frequently asked questions

How do I get started in the GIS certificate program?

The first step is applying to PCC if you are not already a student. Enter the GIS certificate program as your major when you are applying or in MyPCC.

Where are classes offered?

The majority of the GIS certificate classes are offered at Sylvania Campus. It is possible to take our introductory GIS classes at Southeast or Rock Creek Campus (although offerings are limited).

Do you offer classes online?

At this time the majority of our program requirements are only offered as face-to-face courses. The classes that can be taken online are Geo 170, Maps & Geospatial Concepts; a variety of classes that count towards the Geography Elective; and a majority of classes that count towards the Technical Elective.

Is it possible for someone working full-time (8-5pm) to complete the GIS certificate?

Yes, it is although it will take you longer than one year. It is possible to complete the certificate taking evening and (a few) online classes.

Is it possible to be enrolled in the GIS certificate program as a part-time student?

Yes. It will take you longer than one year to complete the certificate.

Is it possible to just take one or two GIS classes (as opposed to the full certificate)?

Yes. All of our classes are open so as long as you meet the prerequisites or can demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to be successful in a course, it is possible to take classes as a way to explore the field or get professional development.

Do I need to start the program in the fall or can I start any quarter?

It is possible to start the program any quarter of the year, although we currently have our class schedule set up in a way that if you want to finish in 3 quarters, you would need to start in the fall term.

How long does the GIS program take to complete?

If you are in the program full-time and take 3-4 classes a term, it takes 3 quarters. If you are in the program part-time it can take longer than that.

I already have a degree from a previous institution. Can classes be counted towards the GIS certificate?

Yes, as long as they are equivalent to classes that count towards your certificate. The process for doing this is a multi-step one. The first (and informal step) is to send the GIS faculty department chair an unofficial copy of your transcript. This will give the department chair a chance to look over your transcript to determine what classes are equivalent to ones in the GIS certificate. If there are classes that can count, you need to go through the more formal process done in Student Records. Information on that process can be found on the transfer credits to PCC page.

If I already have a college degree, do I need to take the standard reading, writing, and math classes or placement tests?

If you have completed equivalent coursework at another institution, you will need to send the faculty department chair or advisor an unofficial copy of your transcript for review and to determine placement into our courses.

Can I have two declared majors?

Yes, it is possible to have two declared majors. To do this, you need to send a request to enroll@pcc.edu with your G number, and current and requested second (or third, etc) major making it clear that you want the additional majors added rather than a change of major.

What are the costs of the entire program?

See current tuition costs at the PCC tuition webpage.

Can I get financial aid?

You should contact the Financial Aid office regarding this question. The GIS certificate program is a financial aid eligible program.

Do classes from the GIS certificate transfer to other institutions?

Our classes may transfer to another university or college. We work most frequently with Portland State University and many of our classes transfer there without issues. It is advised that you talk to the GIS certificate program advisor in more detail about your specific situation. It is also advised that you discuss any transferability of courses with the university or college you plan to transfer to – they are ultimately the ones that determine whether or not they accept the classes from PCC as equivalents.

Do you need to have previous programming experience to take GIS Programming (Geo 242)?

If you do not have any previous programming experience, it is highly recommended that you take CIS 122, Intro to Programming Logic, before taking Geo 242.

What are the requirements for Geo 280A Cooperative Education?

Cooperative Ed is essentially completing an internship for credit. This will count as a GIS Elective in your certificate. It is required that you have an organization to intern with, that there is a GIS professional on staff that can serve as your supervisor, and that you will work on projects that have a GIS focus. If you are interested in taking Cooperative ed, you should contact the instructor directly to discuss the internship placements, timeframe, and learning objectives. This is not a class that meets at any given time, but rather you complete your time interning on-site.

Can I get a job with the GIS certificate?

It is possible to get a job with the GIS certificate if you already have a bachelor’s degree (in any field). Although not every entry-level GIS job requires a bachelor’s degree, you will be competing with people that have a degree. The majority of entry-level GIS jobs will require a bachelor’s degree, as well as a GIS certificate (or experience). Some employers in the Portland region include local, state, and federal government agencies, Quantum Spatial, GeoTerra, FloAnalytics, Maul, Foster & Alongi, as well as Forestry and Agricultural businesses.