Continuing education and competency programmes in GIS
Demands for GIS education and training are now being met by a loose combination of workshops, shortcourses, college and university instruction, and GIS degree programmes. Specialized GIS degree programmes offer concentrated studies, but may not be appropriate for students approaching GIS from an applications area or for those without the time for, or interest in completing an additional degree. Certificate programmes offered through colleges and universities provide students with a framework of courses that address GIS theory, applications, and related subjects. Increases in the number of GIS professionals and concerns about unethical or incompetent behaviour have also brought calls for programmes aimed at improving professional competency among GIS practitioners. This paper reviews educational, training, and professional competency programmes associated with GIS and offers a model for continuing education that employs academic GIS certificate and professional certification programmes. Included in the discussion is an overview of prerequisites and requirements associated with certificate programmes in the US and Canada and recommendations concerning the role and design of certificate and certification programmes.