Learn About Being a Surveyor

By | May 15, 2024

What does a Surveyor do? – Surveying is the process of taking measurements to determine the size, shape, and condition of objects. Surveying can be used in a number of ways, such as to identify problems and hazards, to plan new land or buildings, and to assess the value of assets. Surveying is a critical part of many businesses, including real estate, engineering, construction, and surveyor services.

There may be a shortage of land surveyors

Do you ever feel like you don’t have a clue what surveyors do? Well, that’s because you don’t. Surveys are important for a lot of different reasons, and they play an important role in many businesses. From marketing to business planning, surveys can help your business get a better understanding of its customers and potential customers. It’s also worth noting that surveys are often used in business deals and transactions. So if you want to know what surveyors do, read on!


Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough information for your decisions? Do you feel like you can’t seem to make the right decisions without knowing more? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then surveyors may be the perfect profession for you. Surveyors are people who ask questions and gather data in order to make better decisions. They work in many different industries, including business, finance, marketing, and public policy. In fact, surveyors are so important that they have their own school of thought called “surveyology.”.

What does a surveyor do?

A surveyor measures and maps boundary lines for land, water and air spaces. They assess these spaces in person and compare their measurements to existing records to ensure accuracy. The work of surveyors is necessary for the construction and real estate industries. Surveyors determine where buildings, roads, bridges and other new construction projects should be located and what foundations are required. Land must be surveyed for legal purposes when vacant blocks or property are purchased or sold. During a typical day, surveyors may complete the following tasks:

  • Measuring distances between reference points to determine locations of boundaries and other important features of land, water and air spaces

  • Recording the results of surveying, comparing them with previous records and verifying the accuracy of data

  • Presenting survey results to government agencies and other clients

  • Advising cartographers, architects and construction managers in the building of maps and new construction projects

  • Writing descriptions of surveyed lands for property deeds, leases and other legal documents

Average salary

The salaries of surveyors vary according to their employer, location and experience. Surveyors working for government agencies typically have the highest earnings. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $18.16 per hour

  • Typical salaries range from $7.25 to $47.35 per hour.

Surveyor requirements

Surveyors must attend college, then complete on-the-job training to gain their surveying licenses. A driver’s license may also be required for fieldwork. The requirements for being a successful surveyor include:


Many aspiring surveyors make career preparations in high school. Some universities and colleges require their applicants to study certain mathematics disciplines, including trigonometry, algebra and geometry at the high school level. Courses in mechanical drawings, computers and geography can also build knowledge useful for a surveying degree.

High school graduates can become surveying technicians, then be promoted to surveyor roles after working under a licensed surveyor for at least 10 years in some states. However, most aspiring surveyors continue their studies with a bachelor’s degree in surveying and mapping, land surveying and geomatics or surveying engineering technology. These programs teach students technical mathematics, computer-aided design, boundary law, statistical analysis, photogrammetry and how to use surveying tools, including Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Information System (GIS). Students usually take part in traditional classroom-based lectures and fieldwork.

Aspiring surveyors who do not have access to schools with surveying degrees often get related qualifications in fields like civil engineering or forestry. As some states require it for licensure, aspiring surveyors should apply to schools accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).


After graduation, most states require surveyors to work under the supervision of a licensed surveyor for at least four years before getting their own full license. To gain a traineeship, aspiring surveyors must first pass the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying’s Fundamentals of Surveying exam. A traineeship allows aspiring surveyors to see how surveyors work before they survey independently. Most licensed surveyors will give their trainees more responsibility over time.


Surveyors working in the United States must be licensed to work in their state or district. The process varies slightly from state to state, so check the requirements in your area.

State license for surveying

Surveyors must meet educational and experience requirements to obtain their licenses. They must also pass their Principles and Practice of Surveying examination. Surveyors in some states may also have to pass an additional state surveying examination. In most states, surveyors must complete ongoing education to maintain their license.

Certified Survey Technician certifications

The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) administers Certified Survey Technician credentials. There are four levels of certification available to surveyors. The first level is open to anyone who passes the NSPS examination. Level two certification requires 1.5 years’ surveying experience and passing the level two examination. Level three certification requires 3.5 years of experience and passing the level three examination. Level four certification requires 5.5 years’ experience and passing the level four examination. These certifications are voluntary but can help surveyors gain employment and higher salaries.


Government departments, construction firms and other organizations employing surveyors typically look for candidates with the following skills:

  • Attention to detail: Surveyors must work precisely and accurately to ensure correct measurements. They also rely on their attention to detail when discovering discrepancies between the measurements they have taken and existing records.

  • Verbal communication: Surveyors rely on communication skills to tell survey technicians and other team members, government officials and clients how to proceed and report on progress to key stakeholders, including land developers and lawyers. They must also listen carefully to instructions from construction managers and architects.

  • Problem-solving: Surveyors use their problem-solving skills to discover the reasons behind any discrepancies in the measurements they take and existing records and determine where the correct boundaries should be.

  • Physical fitness: Working as a surveyor can be physically demanding when in the field. They rely on their physical fitness to walk for long distances and navigate rugged, undeveloped terrain.

  • Time management: Surveyors must manage their time effectively to meet their deadlines, especially when working in the field with a limited number of daylight hours.

Surveyor work environment

Surveyors divide their time between fieldwork and desk work in an office environment. Fieldwork occurs throughout the year in a variety of environments, including developed and undeveloped land in cities, rural areas, wide-open spaces and enclosed spaces, such as mines. Surveyors often need to walk long distances with their equipment to gain the measurements they require. During time in the office, surveyors are less physically active. They may spend days at their desks analyzing measurements and preparing reports and descriptions about surveyed spaces.

Surveyors usually work full-time during regular business hours. Additional hours may be required to meet deadlines and satisfy client demands. Some travel may be required during fieldwork.

6 Ways on How to become a surveyor

Surveyors must gain relevant qualifications, experience and licenses to work in their field. Follow these career steps to become a surveyor:

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree.

While some people become surveyors with a high school diploma after working as a survey technician, this process takes longer. Most people who plan on a career in surveying earn a bachelor’s degree in surveying and mapping, land surveying and geomatics, surveying engineering technology or a related field.

2. Get a preliminary surveying license.

You must pass the Fundamentals of Surveying examination, administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, to get your preliminary surveying license. While this will not allow you to perform all surveying duties, you will do enough to gain a traineeship.

3. Complete a traineeship.

A traineeship working under a licensed surveyor will give you the experience you need to obtain your full surveying license. Your traineeship should last for at least four years, depending on your state’s requirements.

4. Get a full state license.

After satisfying education and experience requirements, you can sit for the Principles and Practice of Surveying examination. You will receive your full state license after passing this examination. This license allows you to certify legal documents showing property boundaries and determine markings for construction projects.

5. Prepare your resume.

Create a resume showing details of your highest level of education and traineeship responsibilities. Your resume should look professional and be concise yet detailed enough to reflect your skills.

6. Apply for surveying positions.

After earning your degree, completing your traineeship and becoming fully licensed, you are ready to work as a surveyor. Submit your resume and customized cover letters to positions you are interested in. Your cover letter should highlight why you feel you would be a good candidate for your chosen positions.

Surveyor job description example

Lindley Projects, a midsize consulting company, seeks a surveyor to oversee surveying work on a variety of projects, from small residential projects to large commercial projects, for our business clients based around the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. The successful candidate will be responsible for assessing building plans and evaluating land and boundaries. You should be knowledgeable about all facets of building surveying, including construction laws and standards. You also need to thrive in a team environment and be a meticulous worker and keen problem-solver. You must have a valid Pennsylvania surveying license and driver’s license.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *