Surveyors: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- Surveyors typically need a bachelors degree because they work with sophisticated technology and math. Some colleges and universities offer bachelors degree programs specifically designed to prepare students to become licensed surveyors. Many states require individuals who want to become licensed surveyors to have a bachelors degree from a school accredited by ABET. A bachelors degree in a closely related field, such as civil engineering or forestry, is sometimes acceptable as well. An associates degree may be sufficient in some cases with additional training.
- Training Required
- In order to become licensed, most states require approximately 4 years of work experience and training under a licensed surveyor after obtaining a bachelors degree. Other states may allow substituting more years of work experience and supervised training under a licensed surveyor in place of education.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 11% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- All 50 states and the District of Columbia require surveyors to be licensed before they can certify legal documents that show property lines or determine proper markings on construction projects. Candidates with a bachelors degree usually must work for several years under the direction of a licensed surveyor in order to qualify for licensure.
- Median pay: How much do Surveyors make?
- $59,390 Annual Salary
- $28.56 per hour
Surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries. They provide data relevant to the shape and contour of the Earths surface for engineering, mapmaking, and construction projects.
Surveyors typically do the following:
- Measure distances and angles between points on, above, and below the Earths surface
- Travel to locations and use known reference points to determine the exact location of important features
- Research land records, survey records, and land titles
- Look for evidence of previous boundaries to determine where boundary lines are located
- Record the results of surveying and verify the accuracy of data
- Prepare plots, maps, and reports
- Present findings to clients and government agencies
- Establish official land and water boundaries for deeds, leases, and other legal documents and testify in court regarding survey work
Surveyors mark and document the location of legal property lines. For example, when a house or commercial building is bought or sold, surveyors may mark property boundaries to prevent or resolve disputes. They use a variety of measuring equipment depending upon the type of survey.
When taking measurements in the field, surveyors make use of the Global Positioning System (GPS), a system of satellites that locates reference points with a high degree of precision. Surveyors use handheld GPS units and automated systems known as robotic total stations to collect relevant information about the terrain they are surveying. Surveyors then interpret and verify the results on a computer.
Surveyors also use Geographic Information Systems (GIS)technology that allows surveyors to present spatial information visually as maps, reports, and charts. For example, a surveyor can overlay aerial or satellite images with GIS data, such as tree density in a given region, and create digital maps. They then use the results to advise governments and businesses on where to plan homes, roads, and landfills.
Although advances in surveying technology now allow many jobs to be performed by just one surveyor, other jobs may be performed by a crew, consisting of a licensed surveyor and trained surveying technicians. The person in charge of the crew, known as the party chief, may be either a surveyor or a senior surveying technician. The party chief leads day-to-day work activities.
The following are examples of types of surveyors:
Careers for Surveyors
- Boundary or land surveyors
- Boundary surveyors
- City surveyors
- Construction surveyors
- County surveyors
- Engineering or construction surveyors
- Engineering surveyors
- Forensic surveyors
- Geodetic surveyors
- Geophysical prospecting surveyors
- Hydrographic surveyors
- Land surveyors
- Marine or hydrographic surveyors
- Marine surveyors
- Mine surveyors
- Mineral surveyors
- Party chiefs
- Registered land surveyors
- Resource extraction surveyors
- Topographical surveyors