Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take classes in mathematics, including algebra and geometry, biology, geography, and earth science. There is a great deal of reading and report writing in the remote sensing field so be sure to include English and writing classes in your studies. Other useful classes include computer science and a foreign language.

Postsecondary Education

Most remote sensing scientists and technologists have a bachelor's degree. The most common degrees in this profession are in such areas as cartography, geography, geology, biology, forestry, or civil engineering. Coursework covers statistics, geometry, matrix algebra, geography, economics, computer science, remote sensing, and mapping, including geographic information systems. Scientists and technologists with a master's degree improve their job prospects. A graduate degree is required to teach in colleges and universities. 

Other Education or Training

Remote sensing scientists and technologists take continuing education courses and attend workshops and conferences to keep up to date with the technological advances and business practices in their field. Professional associations such as the American Association of Geographers, American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Ecological Society of America, Geospatial Information and Technology Association, IEEE Computer Society, and SPIE offer educational programs and networking opportunities.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing offers certification programs for various remote sensing specializations. Some examples include Certified Photogrammetrist, Certified Mapping Scientist in Remote Sensing, Certified Mapping Scientist in GIS/LIS, Certified Remote Sensing Technologist, and Certified GIS/LIS Technologist, among several other certifications. Certification candidates must meet education, work experience, and training requirements and pass a written examination in the specialty area. Find information at

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Remote sensing scientists and technologists usually have five or more years of prior work experience. Some employers may offer on-the-job training but it is generally expected that people in this profession already have the required skills and knowledge to do this job. Remote sensing scientists and technologists have strong technology skills and are adept at using computers and various computer software programs. They are able to gather information and data from various sources and analyze and organize it into understandable reports and documents. They have mathematical reasoning and are able to identify complex problems and come up with appropriate solutions. They are analytical thinkers who are detail oriented and thorough. The job requires integrity, dependability, and initiative. Much of the work is completed independently, however, the ability to work with colleagues and collaborate on projects with other team members is important.