Surveyors use special tools to make precise measurements of property boundaries. Surveyors will typically:
measure angles and distances between points
set up stake sites
mark official water and land boundaries
record the results of their survey
prepare maps and plots
present findings to government agencies or clients
testify in court on their survey findings
Surveying usually involves both office work and field work. In the field, they may have to work along roadways or carry their equipment up hills or through forests. In the office, they're usually working with maps, computers, land records, land titles, and survey records. Most surveyors work for private engineering or surveying companies, while others work for local and state governments.
Surveyor Job Education Requirements
Since surveyors use plenty of math skills and advanced equipment, they need a bachelor's degree before they can enter into this field. Some universities and colleges will even offer programs specifically designed for surveyors. However, degrees in related fields such as forestry or civil engineering are also acceptable. Along with a degree, every state requires that surveyors are licensed. To qualify, candidates must prove they have the necessary education, work under a licensed surveyor for at least two years, and pass the required exams.
Surveyor Job Market
As construction engineering needs increase around the country, so will the demand for qualified surveyors. In fact, this field is expected to grow 10 percent over the next 10 years. Not only are surveyors needed for construction, states rich in gas and oil also need more surveyors to plot the correct extraction points.
Those with a background in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are also in high demand. Their skills in creating maps for construction, urban planning, security, and emergency planning are needed in cities around the country. Since surveyors work on many types of projects for different industries, they usually have steady work even if one industry slows down.
Surveyor Job Salary Information
The median salary for surveyors is $56,000 a year. While the bottom 10 percent will only earn around $32,000 a year, the top 10 percent can earn over $90,000 a year. The state government and local government pay the most with annual salaries of $68,000 and $61,000, respectively. The mining industry, construction industry, and agricultural industry also pay salaries that are around the median. Surveyors usually work full time, although they're busier when construction season is high.