Land survey technicians aid surveyors in collecting information about terrain, property lines and boundaries that is later used in a variety of industries such as engineering. The future of the land survey technician occupation looks to be challenging, as the BLS is predicting job outlook to decline significantly over the next few years. Professional certification and advanced education may be key to success in this field.
Land survey technicians are entry-level professionals who work outdoors collecting land information that is used in cartography, construction or engineering. These technicians use surveying instruments, mark boundaries on property and stake constructions. They may also assist land surveyors with computer-aided drafting and math computations. A 1-year certificate program or 2-year degree program provides the necessary training to enter this career field; however, to advance, technicians may choose to earn certification or pursue an upper-level degree.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree|
|Other Requirements||Voluntary certification available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||8% decrease for all surveying and mapping technicians|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$44,800 for all surveying and mapping technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupational Outlook for Land Survey Technicians
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of land surveying and mapping technicians is expected to decline by 8% from 2014-2024. The BLS attributed this drop to increased technology taking over many tasks formerly done by workers.
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Career Summary for Land Survey Technicians
Land survey technicians assist surveyors with a variety of tasks, such as setting up sites and taking inventories of office and vehicle supplies. Technicians may also be responsible for entering data, taking notes and operating topographic equipment. Other duties can range from directing traffic to performing mathematical calculations.
Most land survey technicians receive their initial training in certificate or associate's degree programs at community or technical colleges. Students typically begin with fundamental courses that introduce them to land surveying skills, such as taking linear measurements. These programs also require students to take mapping courses where they learn advanced techniques and how to use coordinate systems.
As of May 2015, the BLS reported that land surveying and mapping technicians earned an average wage of $44,800 per year; the middle half of all workers earned median wages between $32,580 and $54,500 per year. Those in the natural gas distribution industry earned the highest wages, with an average salary of $69,630 annually.
In order to advance within the field, land survey technicians may choose to be certified by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). The NSPS offers four levels of certifications for technicians, each with a different eligibility requirement and certification exam.
Land survey technicians may also choose to become higher-level surveyors. While some states may require surveyors to complete a bachelor's degree program in surveying, engineering or computer science, all states mandate that they also be licensed.
Land survey technicians work with surveyors in basic tasks, such as setting up machinery. They Need a certificate or associate's degree, and professional certification is available at four levels. With an 8 percent decrease projected in the industry through 2024, land survey technician is a challenging field to break into.