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Online Land Surveying Schools: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online land surveying school. Read on to get an overview of the program options, delivery methods, and common topics offered for the field of study.

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Although you may be able to find schools with land surveying programs online at the certificate or degree level, most of them usually include an in-person component. After completing the program, students will then need to pursue licensure in order to be eligible for a job.

How to Select an Online Land Surveying School

There are several aspects to consider when selecting an online land surveying school. Some colleges offer online or distance-learning programs in land surveying. Often, these programs require some on-site participation. Potential students should be aware that they must possess licensure to pursue employment. Students should then weigh the program delivery and award level with licensure preparation and technical requirements.

Program Delivery

Students considering online land surveying schools should determine if the programs offered are fully or partially online. Hybrid programs require students to take examinations or complete some laboratory assignments on campus. Some schools help students satisfy these requirements, while others require that students make their own arrangements and submit proof of completion.

Award Level

Online land surveying programs lead to a certificate or bachelor's degree, and potential students should determine which route is best for them. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that land surveyors need a bachelor's degree to gain licensure (www.bls.gov). However, those with sufficient experience or a baccalaureate degree in a related field may only need a certificate to qualify. Certificate programs can last one semester to one year, with around 15 credit hours. Online bachelor's degree programs typically take four years to complete, with students earning 120-130 credit hours.

Licensure Preparation

All 50 states require land surveyors to be licensed. Most states expect candidates to satisfy a written exam issued by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, although some have additional state-governed exams. Accredited online programs prepare students for their state-mandated exams through an intensive and often hands-on curriculum. Some states specifically request that students graduate from an ABET-approved school to gain licensure. Prospective students may wish to see if the schools they're considering offer exam-specific preparation courses as well.

Technical Requirements

Students use online course management programs to download materials, stream lectures and submit assignments. They can communicate with instructors and other classmates instantaneously through the same Web platform or via e-mail. Students may need access drafting and office software to complete homework assignments; specific hardware and software requirements vary by school.

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Common Online Land Surveying Programs

Online Certificate of Completion in Land Surveying

Colleges and universities generally offer certificate courses through their continued education division and may require students to complete prerequisite courses in mathematics. Most coursework and lectures are delivered through video streaming or DVD. Coursework covers:

  • Legal principles of surveying
  • Introduction to surveying
  • Geographic information systems applications

Online Bachelor's Degree in Land Surveying

An online bachelor's degree program in land surveying commonly leads to a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science, though title variants are available. Applicants may need to earn an associate's degree before they can officially enroll in the bachelor's degree curriculum. The curriculum covers areas such as:

  • Geodesy
  • Photogrammetry
  • Geomatics
  • Urban development
  • Remote sensing

Schools with Online Programs in Land Surveying

When looking at an online land surveying program, students need to pay attention to whether the courses are offered fully online or as hybrids. Since this discipline usually requires some hands-on training, it is common for online programs to include an in-person component. Students may be able to find certificate or degree programs online.

For example, Oklahoma State University now offers a surveying technology associate's degree program fully online. Licensure may be available through this program, which includes a course in the legal principles involved with land surveying. The University of Florida, through its School of Forest Resources and Conservation, offers a certificate in geomatics, a program suited for those wanting to become surveyors or mappers. To graduate, students must take at least 15 credits online and receive a C or better in each course.

St. Cloud State University has both a hybrid bachelor's degree and hybrid certificate program in land surveying and mapping. All of the courses specifically in surveying can be completed online. To be eligible for the hybrid certificate program, which is designed for career advancement, applicants must already hold a bachelor's degree in a related field, like civil engineering.

Although students can find degree or certificate programs in land surveying fully online, they are not very common. It is easier to find either on-campus or hybrid programs to get the training and licensure needed to become a land surveyor.

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