Should I Become a Property Surveyor?
A property surveyor measures and maps land, as well as establishes official boundaries and legal descriptions for properties. Travel to work sites is common, and temporary relocation is sometimes required. Some work may be seasonal; for example, surveyors whose work is primarily related to construction may work during milder seasonal weather.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Surveying technology or a related field|
|Experience||At least four years of experience is required for licensure|
|Licensure||Licensure required in all states; requires experience and a degree|
|Key Skills||Communication and problem-solving skills; computer skills, such as familiarity with surveying technology, map creation, analytical and project management software; technical skills, such as use of industry tools, including visible beam lasers, line lasers, measuring rods and hand levels|
|Salary (2014)||$57,050 annually (median salary for all surveyors)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); O*Net Online; National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Surveyors typically need a bachelor's degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Surveying and Mapping. In some states, surveyors will need to complete an ABET-accredited program in a related area like civil engineering. In these programs, students can learn various surveying and map creation techniques, as well as directly prepare to work in the field within entry-level positions.
- Complete an internship or apprenticeship . Both types of programs provide students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop first-hand skills. Candidates get involved in an actual work environment and learn more about the surveying industry through supervised guidance of an experienced worker.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Aspiring candidates that have not yet obtained a license may still work in positions as a survey technician. Entry-level training can help students gain additional work experience before applying for licensure to become a surveyor. As a technician, students can also train under licensed surveyors and other professionals in the field.
- Pursue industry certification. Applicants that have recently completed a 4-year training program may consider applying for the designation of Certified Survey Technician (CST), which is offered by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). Four levels of voluntary certification are available, each with different experiential requirements.
Step 3: Obtain Licensure
All states require licensing for surveyors. Most state licensing boards require candidates to have successfully completed an educational training program. Additional requirements include passing the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam, followed by acquiring a minimum of four years of professional experience. The last step involves completing and passing the Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) examination.
Step 4: Maintain Licensure
Surveyors who keep their licensure current ensure their ability to keep working and to advance to higher paying positions. According to the NCEES, many states mandate that licensed surveyors complete professional development hours in order to satisfy requirements for CPC (continuing professional competency). Students should check with their state to determine the requirements for continuing education.