BOX 4.1
NGA Education Requirements

Most geospatial analysis positions at NGA require a bachelor’s degree, 6 years of experience, or a comparable combination of education and experience (Table B.1, Appendix B). A master’s or doctorate degree is preferred for principal scientists. In NGA’s current workforce, more than 80 percent of scientists and analysts have a bachelor’s degree and 30 percent have a master’s degree. Relatively few have a doctorate degree or less than a bachelor’s degree (e.g., an associate’s degree).

The fields of study specified in the education requirements for NGA scientist and analyst positions are diverse (Table B.1, Appendix B). A few occupations have relatively specific requirements. For example, analysts specializing in geospatial analysis must have a related degree or a certificate in Geographic Information Systems from an accredited university. However, many positions allow a wide range of degree topics. For example, applicants for imagery intelligence positions may hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering, foreign area studies, geography, history, imagery science, international affairs, military science, physical science, political science, remote sensing, or a related discipline. The 25 most common degree topics specified in science and analysis position at NGA are shown graphically in the figure below. The most highly sought degree science, engineering, mathematics, and geography—are broad areas that encompass several fields of study, suggesting that NGA is flexible on the field of study for its science and analysis positions.


FIGURE The 25 moat common degree topics in NGA job descriptions for scientists and analysts(Table B.1, Appendix B), which focus on five core areas: geodesy and geophysics, photogrammetry, remote sensing, cartography, and GIS and geospatial analysis. In word clouds such as this, the most common topics are portrayed by the largest lettering. An arbitrary color scheme is used to make it easier to distinguish the various phrases.

SOURCE: Generated using <>.

A total of 164 instructional programs were judged to be highly relevant or possibly relevant to the core and emerging areas. The definitions of these programs are given in Table C.1 of Appendix C, and the assignment of relevance to each core and emerging area is given in Table C.2.

Figure 4.1 shows the number of instructional programs that potentially provide knowledge and skills that are relevant to each of the core and emerging areas. Areas that are highly interdisciplinary (e.g., human geography, forecasting) or that are taught in several different university departments (e.g., remote sensing) have the largest number of highly relevant instructional programs (21–57). The area with the lowest number of relevant instructional programs is photogrammetry, which has only 1 highly relevant instructional program (surveying engineering) and 12 possibly relevant programs. The highly relevant instructional programs that were identified most often across the core and emerging areas were surveying engineering, mathematical statistics and probability, and cartography.

The large number of highly relevant or possibly relevant instructional programs (164) yields a correspondingly large number of graduates. For human geography, for example, the committee deemed 54 instructional programs as highly relevant and 28 instructional programs as possibly relevant. In 2009, more than 150,000 degrees were conferred at all levels for the highly relevant instructional programs and nearly 100,000 degrees were conferred for the possibly relevant instructional programs (Table C.3 in Appendix C). These numbers are clearly overestimates of the recruitment pool, given

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