Students in this curriculum learn theoretical principles and practical applications of map compilation, photogrammetry, advanced topography, geographic information systems (GIS), and advanced mapping techniques. Most students in land surveying degree programs spend a great deal of time outside, using their new skills and knowledge to physically collect land data before applying it to the correct documentation.
A bachelor's degree is the most common degree available for individuals who want to survey land for a living. Typical prerequisites for program entry include a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.
Bachelor's Degree in Land Surveillance
Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program focused on land survey skills and technology must learn to collect data by planning and conducting surveys. They also must learn to use this data to draw maps and contract legal surveys, plans, cross-sectional drawings, and other documents relating to strips of land. Some courses commonly found within an undergraduate program in land surveying are:
- Plan surveying
- Legal issues in land surveying
- Computer-aided drafting
- Business aspects of land surveying
- Electronics surveying
- Boundary law
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
There were approximately 44,300 surveyors employed in the United States in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Seventy percent of these were employed within the engineering, architectural and related services industries. Another 11% worked for the government, while 8% worked in construction. The BLS projected that employment for surveyors would decline 2% between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, the median annual wage of surveyors was $58,020, according to BLS figures.
In all 50 states, land surveyors must gain licensure to work. Each state has its own licensing board, but all require aspiring land surveyors to complete two written examinations given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The Fundamentals of Surveying exam can be taken after an aspiring land surveyor had graduated from an accredited bachelor's degree program. The Principles and Practice of Surveying exam, typically the last step in the licensure process, is available to those who have worked at least four years under a licensed surveyor.
Undergraduate degree programs in the land surveying field are offered at the bachelor's level. Prospective students should expect to learn about topics like computer-aided drafting and boundary law during their studies.