Land surveying is the science of analyzing and mapping out land formations. Before working on their own, surveyors must be licensed by the states where they practice. Requirements vary, but generally include passing exams and acquiring supervised experience in the field. Individuals interested in becoming professional land surveyors can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Land Surveying, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mapping Sciences, an Associate of Science degree in Surveying Technology, or a similar degree.
Land Surveying Degree
The majority of an associate degree program in land surveying is spent outdoors. Although students do learn about mapping theory and science in the classroom, they gain their hands-on experience putting mapping techniques to actual use on land. They learn first-hand how to do field surveying, read construction layouts, collect data, measure distances and record the contours of the surfaces of the earth. The courses in an associate degree program in land surveying are designed to provide students with the technical savvy necessary to analyze a land formation and create a subsequent map. Class work is divided between seminars and field time, and generally covers the topics below:
- Basic surveying
- Plan surveying
- Legal aspects of land surveying
- Engineering graphics
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Surveyors held 44,300 jobs in the United States in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of job growth for surveyors is expected to decline at a rate of -2% between 2014 and 2024. In 2015, the median annual wages for surveyors were $58,020.
All 50 states in the U.S. require land surveyors gain licensure before practicing in the field, but each state has its own particular requirements for licensure. Most require individuals pass a written examination given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The next step is typically to work under the supervision of a licensed surveyor or surveyor team for another four years, before taking another exam and eventually facing a state licensing board.
Degrees in land surveying will cover courses in areas like engineering graphics and plan surveying. Licensure will be required for employment, which might include passing an exam and experience in the field.