Becoming A Land Surveyor: What You Need To Know

Posted on: 12 September 2017


Land surveyors use science and technology to determine the distance between three-dimensional points on Earth. The surveyors use this information to construct detailed maps or mark boundaries. Land surveying has been around for centuries, ever since humans started building the first structures. It's extremely important to keep up with land surveying, especially with GPS systems being so popular.

What do surveyors do?

As a surveyor, you will have plenty of duties and responsibilities to keep you busy. Some of those duties include:

  • Measure angles and distances of points on Earth or below its surface

  • Prepare reports, maps, and plots

  • Visit locations and determine the exact location of its features using reference points

  • Write up official water and land boundaries to be used for deeds and leases

  • Research records for land surveys and land titles

  • Prepare and present official findings to government agencies and other clients

  • Seek out previous boundaries to establish where the boundaries were and record the evidence

What type of education is required?

Now that you know what a surveyor does, you may be interested in becoming one. For that you will need to know what type of education or certifications you need. A Bachelor's degree in surveying, mapping, and geo-matics is required. Apply at local technical schools and universities to find one that has surveying programs. Once you have completed all the schooling and graduated with your degree, you are ready to move on to becoming licensed.

What is the process to get licensed?

You will need to pass a series of both written and practical exams in order to become licensed by your state. The exact tests and requirements will be different by state, so contact your State Licensing Board to determine which ones your state has in place. For an example, the state of Washington requires you to complete the following:

  • Pass the Land Surveyor-In-Training test

  • Pass the Principles and Practices of Land Surveying test

  • Pass a two hour land surveyors test

  • Pass the Law and Ethics exam

  • Complete eight years of training under a licensed land surveyor.

Once this has been completed, you can submit your application for a license.

How much does a surveyor make?

When you decide on a career, you obviously want to know what type of money you will be making. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in their latest report from May 2016, the median pay for a surveyor is $59,390 per year at an average rate of $28.56 per hour.


Still think being a surveyor sounds exciting? Head on over to your local school and apply! It's never to late to start your dream job.