Announcing a Brand-New ArcGIS Desktop Certification

Updated October 20, 2015

The Esri Technical Certification team is excited to announce a new certification in the Desktop domain: ArcGIS Desktop Entry. ArcGIS Desktop Entry certification candidate

Who is the ArcGIS Desktop Entry exam for?

The ArcGIS Desktop Entry exam is designed for people with less than two years experience using ArcGIS for Desktop software. This certification will benefit college graduates and those pursuing post-graduate degrees, military personnel entering the civilian workforce, individuals completing a GIS certificate program, non-GIS knowledge workers currently using ArcGIS for Desktop, and others.

ArcGIS Desktop Entry-level candidates have acquired ArcGIS for Desktop skills in the course of their studies or work responsibilities. GIS is not their focus, they use ArcGIS as a tool for specific tasks and projects.

Why is Esri offering an ArcGIS Desktop Entry exam?

Simple. We want to meet our customers’ needs.

As the geospatial technology sector continues to expand and evolve, government agencies increasingly see the value of certifying their workforce. Many agencies require job-related technical certifications right now, and many more agencies are actively planning to implement certification requirements.

ArcGIS is one of many technologies used by the military. When military personnel separate from the service, a technical certification in a high-growth industry is another achievement that helps them stand out to civilian recruiters.

Universities and colleges want their students’ technical skills validated. A degree validates an individual’s academic accomplishment. In the digital age, a degree combined with a technical certification appeals to many employers. The higher education community has a vested interest in preparing graduates for the jobs and economy of the future.

Esri technical certification examsAround the world, many undergraduate and graduate students in diverse disciplines are exposed to GIS technology and use ArcGIS for Desktop in university labs or on their personal devices to extend classroom concepts and conduct research projects. A lot of these students do not aspire to a traditional GIS professional career track (if that exists or ever did exist), but they have acquired demonstrable ArcGIS skills that are valued by many employers.

  • Validating their ArcGIS knowledge and skills is a competitive advantage to students when they enter the workforce, particularly with organizations where ArcGIS is used.

Speaking of those organizations, many of them are interested in providing professional development paths for their employees. They understand that investing in their workforce is an investment in the future success of the organization.

“There are many points in an individual’s career when they will want to showcase their skills, including when they’re entering a new profession,” says Jessi Mielke, Esri Technical Certification program manager. ”Certification can boost an individual’s professional potential, and what better time to do that than at the start?”

Broad vs. Deep

Employees who don’t have a GIS educational background or at least two years of fairly extensive experience with ArcGIS are not candidates for the ArcGIS Desktop Associate-level exam.

  • The Entry-level exam will provide a starting point for professional development of knowledge workers who use ArcGIS at a more basic level than an Associate-level individual.

ArcGIS Desktop Entry-level candidates should have broad experience with ArcGIS for Desktop but not at the deep levels required of ArcGIS Desktop Associate-level and Professional-level candidates. Typically, Entry-level candidates are not (yet) GIS-centric, while GIS workflows are the primary focus of Associate- and Professional-level candidates.

ArcGIS Desktop Entry-level candidates can complete basic GIS tasks related to mapping, geodata, and analysis using ArcGIS for Desktop without assistance.

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About SuzanneB

Suzanne is a Maryland native with a degree in English Literature who enjoys writing about Esri technology and other topics. She works with Esri Training Services in Redlands, California.
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  1. caesarmorris says:


    I am a Liberian IT professorial with over 10-years of IT experience(Computer specialist, Network engineer and basic web apps developer) and currently living in Liberia. I have huge interest in GIS and your Geo solutions; How can I get started with your training? What specific subjects or courses from your training portal would you recommend for me?


  2. Pingback: It’s Official: Version 10.3 Certification Exams Released | Esri Training Matters

  3. pdk001 says:

    Hello Suzanne
    Thank you for writing this article, I will re-read it many times.
    Because the Arcgis 10.3 entry level exam is at ‘beta’ level, I have decided to use it as a ‘dry run’ for another Esri Certification Exam I am taking since I have not sat an exam in many years.

  4. mbaird100 says:

    Any news of when the entry level exam will be available? Will it be this month?



    • SuzanneB SuzanneB says:

      We’re in the final stages of exam development and expect the ArcGIS Desktop Entry exam will be released publicly next month. Stay tuned.

  5. Pingback: ArcGIS Desktop Entry-Level Certification: Now Playing in Test Centers Worldwide | Esri Training Matters

  6. tmorris67 says:

    I’m planing on taking the desktop entry test. Is there a practice test anywhere that I can prepare on?

    • SuzanneB SuzanneB says:

      Hi, we’re working on a set of sample questions that can help ArcGIS Desktop Entry candidates prepare for the exam. Those should be released sometime next month.

  7. fadiaalazawi says:

    hi iam fadia w. alazawi
    from iraq
    i have some experence in GIS, ERDAS, ENVI