Schools for Aspiring Surveying Engineers: How to Choose

Surveying engineering programs train students to appraise the terrain on land and underwater in order to guarantee the precision of recorded boundaries and maps. Community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities offer certificate and degree programs in survey engineering technology or surveying technology.

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Programs for aspiring surveying engineers are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. It is also possible to earn an undergraduate certificate in the field.

Schools That Offer Surveying Engineering Programs

These schools offer programs in surveying engineering:

College/University Location Program Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2016-2017)*
Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's $14,634 in-state, $30,968 out-of-state
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, NM 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,094 in-state, $19,652 out-of-state
Idaho State University Pocatello, ID 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,956 in-state, $21,023 out-of-state
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Certificate $11,290 in-state, $18,048 out-of-state
Texas A&M University College Station, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $11,036 in-state, $31,214 out-of-state
University of Maine Orono, ME 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,628 in-state, $29,498 out-of-state
Pennsylvania State University - Wilkes Barre Lehman, PA 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $13,540 in-state, $20,420 out-of-state
Valencia College Orlando, FL 4-year, Public Associate's $2,474 in-state, $9,383 out-of-state
Milwaukee Area Technical Community College Milwaukee, WI 2-year, Public Certificate $4,426 in-state, $6,381 out-of-state
Central New Mexico Community College Houghton, MI 2-year, Public Associate's, Certificate $1,472 in-state, $6,848 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in survey engineering programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:

  • Students should look for programs that have been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Committee of ABET.
  • Prospective students who are interested in a particular aspect of surveying engineering, such as geodesy, cartography or photogrammetry, may want to find out if the school offers a concentration in that subject.
  • It is important to make sure that students in the program gain hands-on experience with industry-standard surveying technology, including electronic total stations, GPS receivers, data collectors and softcopy photogrammetric systems.
  • It can be helpful to find out what the pass rate is for graduates on the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) or Professional Licensed Surveyor (PS) exam offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

Certificate in Survey Engineering Technology

Certificate programs provide students with the basic skills and knowledge needed to attain an entry-level position in survey engineering or apply professional course credit to a degree program. Programs vary in length, offering a few classes that can be completed in 1-2 semesters or involving more advanced studies that take a year or more to accomplish. Students may be required to complete an internship.

Associate Degree in Surveying Technology

Associate degree programs in surveying provide students with a solid understanding of the industry and include hands-on experience. Students take introductory courses in surveying measurements, geographic information systems and surveying computations, as well as general education courses. They may also have the opportunity to participate in an internship or cooperative work experience.

Bachelor's Degree in Survey Engineering Technology

A bachelor's degree program introduces students to more advanced engineering topics and applications in a surveying occupation. They take theoretical courses in the mathematical concepts underpinning surveying engineering, and they complete land mapping projects. A final senior project may be required. Other topics of study include positional accuracy, land planning and development, earth science and the laws surrounding surveying.

Master's Degree Programs

In master's degree programs, aspiring surveying engineers take advanced courses in the field related to the research, development and applications of geospatial engineering technologies. They may be able to choose between a research-based thesis and an independent study option. Graduate are prepared for leadership positions in the industry.

Surveying engineering programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prospective students should consider the program's curriculum and technology available in the school when choosing between programs.

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