Geodetic Surveyor: Job Description & Salary

Geodetic surveyors use technological equipment to measure the earth and obtain data about its surface. This article looks at the equipment they use, the education requirements and what those in this profession can expect to earn.

Career Definition of a Geodetic Surveyor

Surveyors measure the earth. The information that they produce is used for creating maps and may also be used by those in the construction industry when they're planning building projects. Geodetic surveyors specifically focus on using advanced technology, such as satellites, to produce their measurements, which are typically of very large areas of the planet's surface.

Geodetic surveyors use sensors and other forms of technology to identify specific positions on the earth and obtain accurate measurements. They verify and store this data. They also gather information about geological features of the earth, like land contours and elevations. It's also common for surveyors to be involved with making maps or other technical documents as part of their duties.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Mathematical skills, computer skills, attention to detail, technological skills, communication skills
Median Salary (2016)* $59,390 (all surveyors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 11% (all surveyors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Although some employers may hire individuals with an associate's degree or certificate, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 50% of geodetic surveyors have a bachelor's degree, while an additional 25% have a master's degree. A bachelor's degree is considered the standard educational requirement for this field. Those considering this occupation can opt between pursuing a surveying program or a degree in a comparable field, such as civil engineering. Once a surveyor has sufficient practical experience, they can earn their license, which is required to perform some specific duties.

Required Skills

Geodetic surveyors need to pay attention to details so that they can verify the accuracy of data and effectively compare new data to existing data. They are also required to make mathematical calculations, so they need good math skills. Communication skills are important, since they work with other professionals to gather information. They also provide their data to others who may be working on building projects or developing maps or other technical documents related to the areas of the earth that have been measured. These surveyors need to have computer skills to operate a wide range of computer software, including National Geodetic Survey NGS VERTCON, MicroSurvey Software MicroSurvey CAD and ESRI ArcGIS software. Technological skills and knowledge are important because of the sophistication of the equipment they use to gather data in their work.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes geodetic surveyors in their general listing for all surveyors. According to the BLS, surveyors should see an 11% increase in jobs from 2016 to 2026, which means that those considering this career field will experience job growth that's faster than the national average of 7%. In 2016, the median annual salary for surveyors was $59,390, per the BLS.

Related Careers

Explore these links to access information about a number of other careers related to mapping, surveying and otherwise measuring the earth. These careers share some similar objectives, duties or training requirements with geodetic surveyors and may appeal to those considering this career field.

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