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What Is a Surveyor and How to Become One


What Do Surveyors Do?

Surveyors take measurements of land to determine boundaries for property and other purposes. The data they provide is used for construction and engineering projects. They research land records, survey records, and land titles to pinpoint the exact boundary lines of real estate and other properties. Surveyors determine the precise location of roads and the needed depths of building foundations using tools such as GPS or tripod infrared reflectors and knowledge of geometry, physics, and engineering to measure the land. They establish land and water boundaries for deeds, leases, and other legal documents, and testify in court regarding survey work when necessary.

How Can I Become a Surveyor?

To become a surveyor, earn a bachelor’s degree in surveying, surveying technology, civil engineering, or a related field. The school must be accredited by ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Pass the Fundamentals of Surveying exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). All states require surveyors to be licensed, so research the licensing requirements in your state before seeking employment. Acquire an internship or apprenticeship at a surveying organization to gain hands-on experience from other surveyors. Apply for entry-level surveyor positions; once you have worked several years with supervision, pass the Principles and Practice of Surveying exam to be able to practice on your own.

Where Do Surveyors Work?

Surveyors spend the majority of their time outdoors taking measurements. Fieldwork involves working outside in all types of weather, walking long distances, and standing for extended periods of time while calculating and recording data. A surveyor has to be physically able to carry a large among of instruments and equipment as well. When they are not in the field, surveyors work in an office documenting their findings and organizing their results.

What Is Land Surveying?

Land surveying is the technique of taking measurements of the shape and contour of the earth’s surface. These measurements allow governments and businesses to plan homes, roads, landfills, and other construction projects. By creating position points and measuring the distance and angles between them, surveyors build 3-D maps, plots, and reports. Surveyors use handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) units and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to gather accurate satellite information of the terrain. This information is used to create spatial details that surveyors need to record and verify their data.

Surveyor Job Description Sample

With this Surveyor job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Surveyor role.

Job Summary

We are seeking a capable, experienced surveyor to join our growing team. In this position, you will conduct precise measurements of land boundaries, geographical and man-made features, latitude and longitude, elevation, and any other relevant data, as needed by our clients. You will process all necessary calculations and generate reports, maps, etc. to help our clients in their engineering, construction, and/or development process.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Travel to job sites in a timely and responsible fashion
  • Honor all scheduling commitments and communicate any delays with team and clients
  • Conduct all measurements needed to meet survey requirements with accuracy
  • Utilize and maintain all necessary equipment properly
  • Record all necessary data, ensuring accuracy and precision
  • Generate all required reports and documents, including plots and maps
  • Determine evidence of any previous boundaries via observation and research
  • Examine all previous survey records for essential and helpful information for each job
  • Remain in compliance with all legal requirements and company guidelines
  • Communicate effectively and professionally with all parties involved
  • Strive for excellence, representing the company well at all times

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in surveying or related field
  • Valid and current surveyor's license required
  • Valid driver's license required
  • Minimum of 4 years experience working as a licensed surveyor
  • Strong computer skills, including experience with AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • Precise and detail-oriented with a commitment to accuracy
  • Ability to work outdoors in physically demanding conditions
  • Ability to lift and transport 25 lbs
  • Capable of reading and comprehending schematics and blueprints