Land surveying is a profession with employment in public and private sectors. Engineering, construction and survey firms all hire land surveyors. To get a land survey job one needs to take some land survey courses. Universities, colleges, community colleges and technical colleges offer courses focused on producing professional land surveyors.

Instrument surveyor.Credit: Sp3 Jessica A. Mclver Courtsy U. S. Navy

On The Job Survey Training

It’s possible to get land survey jobs by taking on the job training. This usually starts as a helper who progresses to other survey jobs by learning different survey operations. At some point the helper should take land survey courses to increase his skills and knowledge. States have different regulations, and some require a surveyor to get a land survey degree then state accreditation.

Surveying For Engineers

Land surveying is part of a civil engineering curriculum. Someone studying to become a civil engineer will take the necessary survey courses for engineering certification. Architects will also take land survey courses for the same reason. Most schools with a technical program will have land survey courses.

Preparation for Land Surveying Career

Mathematics is an area one can take in preparation for a land survey career. Courses such as algebra, geometry, analytic geometry and trigonometry are helpful to get as early as possible.

Computers are ubiquitous and widely used for land surveying. Basic computer knowledge is almost a perquisite for any modern career. Surveying uses computers in both field and office work.

Drafting is a skill needed to plot the raw field data and put it on maps. Drafting courses are generally taught as mechanical drafting. This teaches the basic drafting concepts which also apply to topographic drafting. Most drafting is done with computer software, but is useful to know the paper and pencil method of drafting.

 School of Surveying

A four year survey degree is best, but some universities, colleges, community colleges and technical schools offer a two year degree. Which program to take depends on the individuals goals.

A complete land surveying program covers field procedures. They teach Global Positioning System, GPS, boundary surveys, instruments, elevations and leveling, taping and other distance measurements, optical instrument operation and other standard field survey procedures typical to civil and architectural work. These courses also cover office procedures such as real estate law, technical writing, and reducing and applying field data.

Land survey courses provide a student with the training to successfully get land survey jobs. The difference between the schools is the breadth and depth of the courses they offer. The student should evaluate the land survey programs to decide which closest meet their goals.