How to Become a Surveyor: A Comprehensive Guide

Surveying is a profession that’s as old as civilization itself, evolving over centuries to become a modern, science-based field that is both challenging and rewarding. Today, we’ll explore the path to becoming a surveyor, including salary expectations, job growth data, and the pros and cons of this profession.

How to Become a Surveyor

What is a Surveyors job ?

Surveyors measure and map the environment using mathematics, specialized technology, and equipment. They play a critical role in land development, from the planning and design of land subdivisions through to the final construction of roads, utilities, and landscaping.

Educational Requirements

  1. High School Education: A strong foundation in mathematics and sciences at the high school level is essential for a surveying career.
  2. Bachelor’s Degree: The majority of surveyors have a bachelor’s degree in surveying, or a related field such as geomatics or civil engineering. These programs typically offer courses in geometry, trigonometry, physics, data analysis, computer-aided design (CAD), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  3. Licensure: Every U.S. state requires licensers to pass the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) and the Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exams, both administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
  4. Work Experience: Entry-level surveyors usually work under the supervision of experienced professionals before earning full licensure. This hands-on experience is crucial for developing practical skills.

How much does a Surveyor Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for surveyors was $61,600 in May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,160, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $102,440.

Job growth for surveyors is projected to show little or no change from 2021 to 2031. Despite this, job opportunities should be good over the coming decade, especially for surveyors with a bachelor’s degree and strong technical skills.


  1. Variety of Work: Surveyors have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, from residential and commercial developments to large infrastructure projects, ensuring that the work is rarely monotonous.
  2. Combination of Field and Office Work: If you enjoy both outdoor work and desk-based tasks, surveying offers a great balance. One day you could be outdoors in the field collecting data, and the next you could be in the office analyzing your findings.
  3. Use of Technology: Surveying involves the use of cutting-edge technology, like drones, laser scanners, and advanced software, which can be exciting for tech enthusiasts.
  4. Career Advancement: There are many paths for career progression in surveying, with roles ranging from project management to company leadership positions.


  1. Physical Demands: Surveying can be physically demanding, often involving walking or standing for long periods, sometimes in challenging weather conditions.
  2. Potentially Long Hours: Surveyors might need to work longer hours to meet project deadlines, and this can include evenings and weekends.
  3. Risk of Injuries: Surveyors often work in the field and may have to navigate hazards, such as rough terrain or adverse weather conditions, leading to a higher risk of injuries compared to other professions.
  4. Continual Learning: With the rapid evolution of technology used in surveying, ongoing education and adaptation to new tools and methods are required, which might not suit everyone.

In conclusion, while becoming a surveyor

can be demanding, it can also be a rewarding career for individuals with an aptitude for mathematics and science, a love for the outdoors, and a keen interest in technology. With a solid educational foundation and a willingness to keep learning and adapting, you could make your mark on the world in a very tangible way as a surveyor.

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