Surveyor Jobs

To become a Surveyor you should have good problem-solving skills. To discover if this career is for you, take one of our free career aptitude quizzes.

Surveying is expected to grow by 10% in the next 10 years, and is considered an in demand career. Look for surveyor companies that work in an industry you are interested in getting involved with and that have a strong sense of mentorship and learning

Surveyor Salary

  • Average Annual Salary: $56,320
  • Projected Lifetime Earnings: $2,306,200

 Surveyor – Education

In General, surveyors are required to hold a bachelor’s degree as their work includes a lot of math and working with sophisticated technology. There are universities and colleges that are offering bachelor’s degree especially for students who want to become specialized and licensed surveyors, and there are positions for which a bachelor’s degree in a related academic field (e.g. forestry or civil engineering) may also be acceptable. If you want to see if becoming a surveyor is right for you, take a free career and personality test.

Most states require candidates for surveyor positions to hold a bachelor’s degree from a properly accredited school and possess at least four years of relevant professional experience under the supervision of a licensed surveyor. There are also sates that require applicants to hold an associate’s degree in surveying and a few years of work experience under the supervision of a licensed surveyor, and practically all states require surveyors to attend continuing education courses.

 Surveyor – The Job

Surveyors are making precision measurements to be able to determine the boundaries of properties, and they provide all sorts of data that are relevant to determine the location, contour, shape, gravitation, and/or dimension(s) of land or specific land features. The land may be on or close to the surface of the Earth and can be used for mapping or map-making, engineering, mining, construction, land evaluation, or any other purpose.

Surveyors generally are active in measuring angles, distances, or other relations between specific points above, on, or below the surface of the Earth. They typically need to travel to certain locations, select specific reference points, and determine exact locations of key features. They may need to establish stake sites, determine official water or land boundaries, perform research regarding land records, examine land titles, and they must record their surveying records.

Surveyors often are preparing plots, making maps, and need to present data, maps, and their findings to government bodies, or clients. Furthermore they need to take notes of land to be used for leases, deeds, or several other legal documentations, and they sometimes are required to provide expert testimony regarding their or others’ survey work in a court of law.

Where do they work?

The work of surveyors involves field work and also office work, it all depends on their specific duties. Their field work often comes with working outdoors. Sometimes they need to stand for a longer period, and then again they are required to walk for a very long distance. There are also situations that require them to climb steep hills with their surveying instruments or other gear, and when they are performing their tasks at risky locations, for example near highways, surveyors in general will wear vests or brightly colored reflective material to make them more visible. When surveyors work outside, they frequently are exposed to all kind of severe weather.

Traveling often come with the job, and there are situations that surveyors are commuting long distances, or even stay at the location of a project for a longer time frame. Surveyors who are working at resource extraction sites, usually will need to spend longer periods of time away from their homes because these projects are often located in very remote areas.

Surveyors are providing property lines documentation are often required to exactly determine the outlines and locations of construction projects and real estate developments. They are required, for example, when a commercial building or a house, is sold or bought, to carry out their tasks to prevent future boundary disputes. At construction sites, surveyors are measuring and determining the exact location of buildings or roads, and they will measure and indicate proper depths for foundations purposes.

In order to be able to properly perform their tasks, surveyors are using GPS (Global Positioning System), a technique that applies a satellite system that enables them to exactly locate reference points.  with a high degree of precision. Surveyors are interpreting and verifying these GPS results to come up with measurements that have a very high precision degree.

Besides GPS are surveyors also using GIS (Geographic Information System), which is a technology allowing surveyors to present various data visually in the shape of reports, maps, and/or charts. Surveyors can, for example, overlay satellite or aerial images with their GIS data (e.g. a region’s tree density), and this way create accurate computerized charts or maps. They may use their results to better businesses or  governments about on in which locations they best plan roads, homes, or landfills. Surveyors often work closely together with landscape architects, civil engineers, regional planners, and  city developers to create comprehensive documentation.

Types of Surveyors

Surveyors sometimes work in specific professional sectors to discover and document specific characteristics of the Earth. Here are a few examples of professional surveyor types:
Hydrographic (Marine) Surveyors. These surveyors measure and document canals, rivers, ports, harbors, and nay other body of water to be able to determine the topography of the bottom, water depth, shorelines, or other relevant features.
Geodetic surveyors. These professionals are using technology of the highest accuracy (such as satellite and aerial observations), to measure and document large portions of the surface of the Earth.
Geophysical prospecting surveyors. These surveyors are exploring, measuring, and marking sites for possible sub-surface exploration. In general are their documentations used in the search of natural gas or petroleum fields.

Job outlook and wage potential

Surveyors may expect their job possibilities to increase by more than ten percent over the next decade, and this is about the same as for other occupations. There will be increased construction activities all across America because of improvement of the nation’s infrastructure, and because the economy is showing positive signs. In 2014, the average hourly wage for surveyors was around $27, while their median annual salary in that year was around $56,320.