Online Certification and Certificate Programs for Land Surveyors

Learn about online training with land surveyor courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Online land surveyor certificate programs are extremely rare. Those that do exist offer distance education courses on geomatics and mapping practices, and students will need access to survey equipment, CAD software and a local surveying professional who can serve as a mentor. Some programs require mentorship with local surveying professional. Additionally, online programs in surveying technology are available.

Traditional certificate programs in land surveying are far more common and can be used as a stepping stone to help students meet educational requirements for licensure or get their foot in the door via entry-level surveying positions. Curricula for these 1-year programs typically offers introductory training, though there are also options for working professionals with a year or more of surveying experience, as well as programs that offer courses to students concurrently enrolled in engineering technology associate degree programs. On-campus land surveyor certificate programs are profiled below. Applicants must have a high school diploma.Some programs also require prior relevant coursework or professional experience.

Land Surveyor Certificate

Land surveyor certificate programs teach students the techniques used to measure and record geographic formations, develop topographical maps and define boundaries for deeds and other legal documents. To succeed in one of these programs, students need strong mathematical skills and technical proficiency with mapping and surveying software.

Education Prerequisites

Some land surveyor certificate programs have no prerequisites other than a high school diploma. Others require students to have completed math or introductory surveying classes before enrolling in core courses. Programs for practicing professionals could also mandate a year of previous work experience.

Course Topics

Students in land surveyor certificate programs complete anywhere from around 20 to 40 credit hours of coursework on mapping technologies and the computational methods needed to record topographical information. Instruction is typically delivered through a combination of classroom lectures, lab work and hands-on field experiences.


Students in this course get an introduction to field methods and the tools of the trade. They also learn basic techniques for recording such measurements as elevation, horizontal location, contours and angles.

Legal Aspects of Land Surveying

The methods used to research public records of land ownership, interpret deeds and write legal descriptions are the subject of this course. Students also examine survey laws specific to their state or jurisdiction and look into surveyors' legal liability.

Introduction to GIS

Students examine the capabilities of current receiver technologies and mapping software. They also learn how to use local and global coordinate systems and integrate survey data they've collected into a database.

Career Information for Graduates

Most surveyors work for companies that perform architectural or engineering services, though jobs are also available with government agencies and construction firms. In 2015, surveyors earned a median annual wage of $58,020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job opportunities in this field were expected to decline -2% between 2014 and 2024; the best employment prospects should be for candidates with bachelor's degrees.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Surveyors are not required to be certified, however state licensure is required before they are allowed to perform tasks related to determining property lines and certifying legal documents. Requirements vary and can range from ten years of work experience only to two years of work experience for candidates with a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited program. Applicants typically need passing scores on a series of written exams as well.

Certificate program graduates interested in continuing their education and decreasing the amount of work experience required for a license can transfer their credits to an associate or bachelor's degree program in surveying.

In online land surveyor certificate programs, students acquire the skills to used to analyze geographic formations, design relevant maps and prepare legal documents regarding land and property. Students may go on to be employed by government agencies, construction firms or engineering companies.

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