Career Advice on How to Become a Surveyor

General Career Information

Fast paced, exciting, and mind-blowing. None of these words have anything to do with being a surveyor. Don’t let the slick add campaigns showing surveyors sipping drinks with little umbrellas on beaches and being fed grapes by “the ladies” fool you. In a word, you map stuff and you do it in detail. 
Surveyors map the Earth, and establish land, water and air boundaries. They use specialized equipment to take precise measurements, which are later used as part of a wide-variety of legal documents and maps. And despite all the rumors to the contrary, they do not “get all the chicks.”

Career Facts:

Those who are in the middle of a job search or are looking to switch careers may want to give surveying a look. While surveyors may have to work outdoors, often in unpleasant and even remote conditions, this could be a good option for those in the process of career planning. Surveyors can learn the profession on the job. Moreover, surveyors are benefiting greatly from new advancements in technology, such as GPS. Top-level pay is very respectable. It is also forecasted that the profession will be growing at a healthy pace in the coming years.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Excellent:

In 2006, there were 148,000 surveyors in the United States. By 2016, this number is expected to grow to 179,000, which translates to a twenty-one percent increase during the time period. A twenty-one percent growth is definitely healthy, meaning that the job outlook for this career is very good.
      Job Outlook is Excellent

A Day in The Life:

Surveyors show up at a given location and use all sorts of tools to take a variety of measurements. GPS, or Global Positioning System, is most certainly the friend of the average surveyor. By using the GPS system, they are able to find their rough location much more precisely than every before. 
Technology such as LIDAR, or light imaging detection and ranging, allows surveyors to use lasers to acquire digital maps of the Earth’s topography. Oh, it sounds much cooler than it actually is. Yet, the bottom line is that these new technologies have not only improved the accuracy of the work done by surveyors, but in many ways have made the jobs a little easier. 
Most of your time as a surveyor is spent wandering from place to place, often working outdoors in unpleasant conditions. Oh and don’t forget that often the locations that surveyors must go to are remote and even up mountains and hills. You know the kind of stuff they don’t show on the slickly produced recruitment brochures.

Average Salary:

On average, a career surveyor can expect to earn about $48,000 annually. It may surprise many to learn that the top ten-percent of surveyors can earn a very respectable $80,000.

$48k - $80k


Career Training and Qualifications:

Some surveyors only have a high-school diploma and learn the job through an apprentice program. Many universities offer bachelor’s degrees in surveying. Vocational schools also have one and two year programs.
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