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How to Get Into Land Surveying


How to Get Into Land Surveying

Land surveying is a dynamic and rewarding career that involves measuring and mapping the Earth’s surface to determine property boundaries and create accurate maps. If you have an interest in geography, mathematics, and outdoor work, land surveying could be the right career for you. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get into land surveying.

1. Research the profession: Start by familiarizing yourself with the field of land surveying. Understand the job requirements, duties, and the different types of surveys conducted. This will help you determine if this career aligns with your interests and goals.

2. Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: A strong foundation in mathematics, physics, and geography is beneficial for a career in land surveying. Focus on these subjects during your high school years.

3. Pursue a degree: While a degree is not always mandatory, it can significantly boost your career prospects. Consider earning a bachelor’s degree in surveying, geomatics, or a related field. These programs provide in-depth knowledge of surveying techniques, land laws, and mapping technology.

4. Gain practical experience: Look for internships or entry-level positions at surveying firms or government agencies. This hands-on experience will help you understand the day-to-day responsibilities of a land surveyor and provide valuable networking opportunities.

5. Obtain a surveying license: Licensing requirements vary by state and country. Typically, you need to complete a certain number of years of supervised work experience and pass a licensing exam. Research the specific regulations in your area and work towards fulfilling the requirements.

6. Continue learning: Land surveying is a constantly evolving field with advancements in technology and practices. Stay updated with the latest industry trends by attending workshops, seminars, and professional development courses.

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7. Join professional organizations: Joining organizations such as the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) or your local surveying association can provide access to resources, networking opportunities, and professional support.

8. Invest in equipment: As a land surveyor, you will need to invest in surveying equipment such as total stations, GPS receivers, and data collectors. Familiarize yourself with these tools and their usage to enhance your skills and efficiency.

9. Develop soft skills: Effective communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills are essential in land surveying. Work on developing these skills to enhance your professional growth and client relations.

10. Specialize: Consider specializing in a particular area of land surveying such as boundary surveying, construction surveying, or hydrographic surveying. Specialization can open up new opportunities and increase your expertise in a specific domain.

11. Pursue further education: If you aspire to advance your career or take on leadership roles, consider pursuing a master’s degree in surveying or a related field. This advanced education can provide a deeper understanding of surveying principles and open doors to higher-level positions.


1. Is land surveying a physically demanding job?
Yes, land surveying often involves working outdoors in various weather conditions and may require physical exertion while carrying equipment and walking long distances.

2. How long does it take to become a licensed land surveyor?
The time required to become a licensed land surveyor varies by jurisdiction and educational background. It typically takes several years of work experience and passing a licensing exam.

3. Are there any certifications available in land surveying?
Yes, there are certifications available through organizations like NSPS, such as Certified Survey Technician (CST) or Certified Federal Surveyor (CFedS).

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4. Can I become a land surveyor with an associate’s degree?
While an associate’s degree can help you enter the field, most states require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience to become a licensed land surveyor.

5. Are there job opportunities for land surveyors?
Yes, land surveyors are in high demand, especially in urban development, construction, transportation, and environmental sectors.

6. What is the average salary of a land surveyor?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for surveyors was $63,420 in May 2020.

7. Can I work as a land surveyor part-time?
Part-time opportunities may be available, but most land surveyors work full-time, especially on construction projects with strict deadlines.

8. Will I need to travel frequently as a land surveyor?
Depending on your specialization and projects, travel may be required. Some land surveyors may work on-site for extended periods.

9. What are the technological advancements in land surveying?
Technologies like LiDAR, drones, and GPS have revolutionized land surveying, making data collection and mapping more accurate and efficient.

10. Can I start my own land surveying business?
Yes, with the necessary experience and licensing, you can start your own land surveying business. However, it is important to understand the legal and financial aspects of running a business.

11. Is land surveying a stable career choice?
Yes, land surveying is considered a stable career choice with a positive job outlook. The demand for accurate land measurements and mapping will continue to grow in various industries.