Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to become a survey technician. Although postsecondary training is not necessarily required, many employers prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree. Professional certification is optional.
Survey technicians assist surveyors and other mapmakers in obtaining and computing data relevant to measuring the Earth's features. They may work for a construction company, municipality or state government. Some surveyors complete formal postsecondary courses or programs, and voluntary certification is available.
|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent; postsecondary training available|
|Other Requirements||Voluntary certification available|
|Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||8% decline for surveying and mapping technicians|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$44,800 for surveying and mapping technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Survey Technician Job Description
Survey technicians help measure and map the Earth's land and other natural features. They collect field data to report back to surveyors and other mapmaking professionals. Most of their data collection is captured through global positioning or geographical information systems. Whether they're working indoors or outdoors, survey technicians gather vital data used for the creation of topographical maps.
Survey Technician Job Duties
Survey technicians set up, adjust and operate the equipment used at surveying job sites. They measure, record and calculate data based on readings from those instruments. They lie out and recover markings, stakes and other such signifiers at work locations. They help create drawings and computer images of the locations they're assigned to. They may also assist in directing other members of surveying teams.
Requirements of a Survey Technician
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that while the minimum education needed to become a survey technician is a high school diploma, some employers require survey technicians to have earned a bachelor's degree in the field. A number of universities offer surveying programs, which teach the principles of the field, as well as the technology behind it. Students learn how to collect data, create maps and manage survey projects.
According to the BLS, technician jobs are typically entry-level positions for surveyors with formal education. As they learn skills on the job, they may be able to advance to a senior technician. Further advancement awaits those with significant work experience or certification in the profession. Voluntary certification as a Certified Survey Technician is available through the National Society of Professional Surveyors.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS projected jobs for surveying technicians to decline 8% from 2014 to 2024. As of May 2015, surveying and mapping technicians earned an average wage of $44,800 annually, according to the BLS.
Survey technicians typically work for the government or for construction companies. They collect data about the natural features of the earth that's used for mapmaking. Although professional certification and a degree are not necessarily required to enter this field, formal training and qualifications may increase job prospects.