Land surveyor degree programs are available at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels and prepare individuals to perform various functions, including conducting research for deeds, measuring construction sites and coordinating GPS measurements. In most states, surveyors must complete a 4-year bachelor's program to become a licensed surveyor. Graduates of 2-year associate's degree programs in land surveying can work as surveyor apprentices or technicians. Prerequisites for a land surveyor degree program is simply a high school diploma or GED, and students can take advantage of online courses.
Associate's Degree in Land Surveying
Land surveyor degree programs at the associate's level usually lead to the Associate of Applied Science in Land Surveying. These programs are designed to provide students with skills and knowledge needed to pursue entry-level jobs as surveying technicians or apprentices. Students train with state-of-the-art surveying tools and computer aided drafting programs.
Students interested in applying to associate's degree programs in land surveying must submit their high school transcripts. Other requirements may include standardized test scores, letters of recommendation or admissions essays.
The curriculum of most associate's degree programs in land surveying features content-focused coursework with minor elective requirements. Sample core courses may include the following:
- Introduction to CADD
- Database design
- Geographic information systems
- Boundary control
Bachelor's Degree in Land Surveying
Bachelor's degree programs in land surveying prepare students for professional surveying careers. Degree applicants study map and satellite technology, optical and electromechanical surveying tools, and computer aided drafting and design programs. Upon graduating, students should be prepared to complete state licensing exams; completion of these exams allows individuals to become licensed as land surveyors.
Individuals applying to bachelor's degree programs in land surveying must submit their high school transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and admissions essays. Other individual requirements vary between institutions.
In addition to the core surveying curriculum, students enroll in a set number of liberal arts or humanities courses. Core curriculum course titles include the following:
- Analytic geometry
- Legal principles in land surveying
- GPS techniques
- Geodetic surveying
- Mathematics for land surveying
- Survey calculations and adjustments
Popular Career Options
While a bachelor's degree in land surveying is often the degree level needed to pursue a professional career as a land surveyor, employment opportunities do exist for associate's degree holders. Some job options include the following:
- GPS technician
- Deed and lease researcher
- Civil engineering assistant
Many associate's degree programs in land surveying are designed to prepare graduates for continued education at the baccalaureate level. Students should check the transfer credit policies of their desired institutions before enrolling in bachelor's degree programs. Also, individuals who want to pursue careers as professional surveyors must be licensed. More information on state licensing requirements is included below.
To practice land surveying professionally, surveyors must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state. Usually, the requirements include passing a licensing exam administered by a state licensing board. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is a non-profit organization that develops and administers the state exams.
Additionally, professional land surveyors need to stay on top of the evolving technology of surveying as well as the shifting government regulations that control and monitor surveying. Continuing education certificate programs are available that allow professional surveyors to stay abreast of industry developments. These continuing education programs are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for surveyors should decreased by 2 percent for the decade 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Individuals in possession of a bachelor's degree face the best job prospects. The median annual salary for surveyors was $58,020 in 2015, as reported by the BLS.
Prospective students now comprehend the prerequisites and common coursework for associate's and bachelor's degree programs, but should exercise caution pursuing a career as a land surveyor as the number of jobs is expected to decline by 2% over the next decade.