Education Requirements For Land Surveyors


Land surveyors provide several services to clients. Land surveyors make precise measurements of land, based on the shape and contours of the Earth, to determine property boundaries. These surveys are used in mapmaking, construction projects and even in property contract drafting and execution. A land survey is also important in property disputes and litigation over property issues. Land surveyors are employed by private firms, government agencies and also work as independent contractors on a freelance basis. The complicated nature of land surveying comes with several requirements before an aspiring surveyor can obtain permanent employment in the career field.

Degree Requirements

In the past, many states required only a high school education for land surveyors. However, due to advances in technology and other factors that make surveying a highly technical field, education requirements have been increased. Land surveying jobs require at least a four-year degree in land surveying or a related field. During the course of study to obtain the degree, classes in mathematics, calculus and cartography are required. Aspiring land surveyors should ensure they choose a degree program at an accredited university. A degree program that is approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology is the best bet, as some states require surveyors obtain a degree with this accreditation before they will hire the surveyor.

License Requirements

All states require land surveyors to complete and pass an initial licensing exam - the Fundamentals of Surveying Exam. This exam is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. The exam is a timed, written exam. The aspiring surveyor must then complete an internship that is approximately four years long. During this internship, the individual will shadow a veteran surveyor and obtain hands-on experience in the art of surveying land, water and airspace. At the end of this internship, a passing score on the Principles and Practice of Surveying exam is required. 

Certification Requirements

Once the degree requirements have been met and the surveyor is licensed to work in the state of choice, there are several certification options available. Certification is not required for an individual to find a surveying job. However, having a certification can lead to more employment opportunities and get the applicant noticed by potential employers. The National Society of Professional Surveyors offers four levels of certification; each level requires a different level of experience, as well as a passing score on a written exam.


25 November 2015

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