Measuring Up To The Challenge - Surveying Degree

Would you love to work with advanced technology, such as satellite positioning, digital mapping and laser scanning? Do you want a career that also involves field work or travel and not just being confined to an office all day? If so, and you have an aptitude for maths, then a surveying degree can help you to gain the knowledge needed to become a surveyor. It is an enjoyable and rewarding profession where you will get to explore plenty of diversity as well as rapid changes in technology. It is also a career where you often get to work in interesting places and as a surveyor you’ll become part of a profession that dates back to ancient Egypt, more than 3000 years ago. Even George Washington, first president of the US, was well known as a surveyor.

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Surveying Degree Information

Associate of Applied Science in Surveying Technology Degree

An Associate of Applied Science Degree can serve as a good introduction to the field of surveying and can help prepare for entry-level jobs in the field. While high school subjects, such as science, math and computer technology are highly recommended to prepare for this degree, but usually not required. Courses such as boundary surveying, mapping and topographic surveys, physics, geographic information technology and more are usually included with this type of two year program.

Bachelor of Science in Land Surveying and Mapping Sciences

Bachelor’s degrees in surveying usually have a higher emphasis on mathematics and science as they are designed to cover all aspects of surveying. With a bachelor’s degree in this field you should gain all the knowledge required to take your licensure test. A bachelor’s degree is also preferred by most employers when considering candidates, especially when applicants have no experience. Common course topics included in these programs are cartography, photogrammetry, boundary law, surveying technology and construction surveying. Completing this degree usually takes about four years.


After completing your studies you will also have to earn a surveyor license, which is required to become a professional surveyor in the US. This typically involves completing exams, such as the Fundamentals of Surveying as well as the Principles and Practice of Surveying. Without being licensed you cannot provide surveying services to the public or certify legal documents.

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Surveying Degree FAQ

Can I Earn My Surveying Degree Online?

There are bachelor’s degree programs in the field of surveying available that can be completed online. However, some are hybrid programs that require you to participate in field work, which cannot be taught online only. Fully online courses in land surveying are usually aimed at working surveyors who do not want to interrupt their employment, but would like to improve their education.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study Surveying?

Due to the nature of the work, a love for the outdoors is important if you want to study surveying. It is also a career field where you are going to have to like math and computing as you will be dealing with both very frequently. This means a good understanding of algebra, trigonometry, geometry and basic calculus. You should also be able to learn a multitude of skills and be willing to travel as your work could take you anywhere. Since client liaising is also sometimes required, it will be beneficial to have good communication skills. The ability to work on your own initiative is useful when you are a surveyor and good people skills can also be to your advantages if you start working with teams. A valuable supplementary skill for this profession is being able to read and write legal descriptions. Finally, you should be prepared to maintain your physical stamina as you might be required to traverse rugged terrain and spend a lot of time outdoors.

What Type of Careers Are There For Students With A Surveying Degree?

Most jobs in surveying require at least an associate’s degree, but a bachelor’s degree is recommended if you are serious about a career in this field. Popular career choices in surveying include becoming a surveying technician, surveyor or mapping technician. Because surveyors can be a great help in determining the placement of dams, railways, roads, bridges and buildings they are often needed by the civil engineering sector. Surveyors typically work for private surveying or engineering firms, but surveying jobs also exist in construction as well as state and local governments.

What Type of Duties Might I Have When Working In Surveying?

Your duties when working in surveying will depend on the type of career you have chosen. For example, as a surveyor you will play an important role in regards to the measurement and mapping of the Earth’s surface. You might have to go into the field to collect data and then verify everything against existing sources. Using this data you might then be responsible for the preparation of reports or maps that are used for a variety of purposes. Surveying technicians tend to focus more on data collection from the field, such as elevations, distances and angles. As a surveying technician you’ll more than likely work with a variety of specialized equipment for collecting and recording the data. This data is then documented in reports or even drawings. Then there are mapping technicians who often assist surveyors with the creation or updating of maps. Mapping technicians might also have to interpret data, which is then used to create maps or update existing maps. If this doesn’t sound exciting enough bear in mind that modern surveyors can also handle tasks such as helping police with crime scenes, predicting earthquakes and mapping the ocean floor.

What Are My Salary Prospects When Working In The Field Of Surveying?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, surveyors earned a median annual wage of $58,020 during 2015. However, while the lowest wages were in the region of $32,850, there were some surveyors we earned in excess of $95,800. The top industries for surveyors in terms of median annual wages during 2015 were government and construction. They also state that surveying and mapping technicians earned a median annual wage of $42,010 during 2015.

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